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Best & Brightest Teen Poetry 2020


This Best & Brightest list was created by Denver Public Library staff to celebrate our favorite recently published teen books. Enjoy!

More of the Best & Brightest Books of 2020

Kent State
Wiles, Deborah, author.
7th grade & up | Poetry. "As protestors roil the campus, National Guardsmen are called in. In the chaos of what happens next, shots are fired and four students are killed. To this day, there is still argument of what happened and why. Told in multiple voices from a number of vantage points — protestor, Guardsman, townie, student — Deborah Wiles's Kent State gives a moving, terrifying, galvanizing picture of what happened that weekend in Ohio …an event that, even fifty years later, still resonates deeply." --From the publisher. This timeless novel in verse about the 1970 Kent State shooting parallels many social issues occurring today. The different perspectives and voices fight for center stage, setting up the chaotic scene of the protests and the eventual shooting. An important plea to young people to involve themselves in our democracy and make their voices heard.
Say Her Name
Elliott, Zetta, illustrated by Loveis Wise
7th grade & up | Poetry. "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." --From the publisher. This is a beautiful collection of timely poems inspired by prominent Black poets of the past and the Black Lives Matter movement. Motivating text paired with vibrant art by Loveis Wise makes this an approachable and accessible text for readers of all skill levels. The author highlights several resources to pair with this book in the back matter.