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Anger, Joy, Resistance and Hope: Poetry for Teens

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Life is complicated. And strange. And messy. Find company in the mess with poetry. This April, in honor of National Poetry Month, learn about the art of poetry through these terrific books for teens.

Ink Knows No Borders: Poems Of The Immigrant And Refugee Experience
With authenticity, integrity, and insight, this collection of poems addresses the many issues confronting first- and second- generation young adult immigrants and refugees, such as cultural and language differences, homesickness, social exclusion, human rights, racism, stereotyping, and questions of identity. Poems by Elizabeth Acevedo, Erika L. Sánchez, Samira Ahmed, Chen Chen, Ocean Vuong, Fatimah Asghar, Carlos Andrés Gómez, Bao Phi, Kaveh Akbar, Hala Alyan, and Ada Limón, among others, encourage readers to honor their roots as well as explore new paths, offering empathy and hope for those who are struggling to overcome discrimination.
Apple: Skin to the Core: a Memoir in Words and Pictures
Gansworth, Eric
The term "Apple" is a slur in Native communities across the country. It's for someone supposedly "red on the outside, white on the inside." Eric Gansworth is telling his story in Apple (Skin to the Core). The story of his family, of Onondaga among Tuscaroras, of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds. Eric shatters that slur and reclaims it in verse and prose and imagery that truly lives up to the word heartbreaking.
Say Her Name
Elliott, Zetta
Inspired by the #SayHerName campaign launched by the African American Policy Forum, these poems pay tribute to victims of police brutality as well as the activists insisting that Black Lives Matter. Elliott engages poets from the past two centuries to create a chorus of voices celebrating the creativity, resilience, and courage of Black women and girls. This collection features forty-nine powerful poems, four of which are tribute poems inspired by the works of Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, and Phillis Wheatley.
Soaring Earth: A Companion Memoir To Enchanted Air
Engle, Margarita
Memoir in verse of Margarita Engle's teenage years in Los Angeles against the turbulent backdrop of the Vietnam War. Addresses the notions of peace, civil rights, freedom of expression, and environmental protection. A companion and follow-up to Engle's work, Enchanted air.
Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir
Grimes, Nikki
Growing up with a mother suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and a mostly absent father, Nikki Grimes found herself terrorized by babysitters, shunted from foster family to foster family, and preyed upon by those she trusted. At the age of six, she poured her pain onto a piece of paper late one night - and discovered the magic and impact of writing. For many years, Nikki's notebooks were her most enduing companions. In this accessible and inspiring memoir that will resonate with young readers and adults alike, Nikki shows how the power of those words helped her conquer the hazards - ordinary and extraordinary - of her life.
Concrete Kids
León, Amyra
The author takes readers on a poetic journey through her childhood in Harlem. León explores love and loss, melody and bloodshed as she navigates the intricacies of foster care, mourning, self-love, and resilience. She invites readers to dream with abandon--because it is a privilege to dream at all.
For Everyone
Reynolds, Jason
Jason Reynolds does not claim to know how to make dreams come true; he has, in fact, been fighting on the front line of his own battle to make his own dreams a reality. All the kids who are scared to dream, or don't know how to dream, or don't dare to dream because they've never seen a dream come true. Jason wants kids to know that dreams take time. They involve countless struggles. But no matter how many times a dreamer gets beat down, the drive and the passion and the hope never fully extinguish. Just having the dream is the start that is needed.