Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America

Genre: Young Adult (mostly contemporary)

Summary: This is a collection of short stories about young black teenagers navigating their existences.

Sensitivities: death/grief, discussion of sex, discussion of abortion

Classroom Library: Necessary.

Most Appropriate for: There are some stories that would be more appropriate for older readers, but I would put this in my middle school classroom library without questioning it.

Enjoyability: ★★★★ (4/5)

This is a powerful anthology, with a wide variety of characters and stories and situations, that explores the complexities of being black. It firmly shows that there is no one way to be. Every black child can find themselves reflected somewhere in these pages (for that matter, every child). There are stories about first love, and time travel, and trying to figure out who you are outside of your parents, and grief. These stories comment on the aspect of being black in all of these situations, whether it be overtly or indirectly. In the Introduction, Ibi Zoboi writes “my hope is that Black Enough will encourage all black teens to be their free, uninhibited selves without the constraints of being black, too black, or not black enough.” I have no question that is what the book will do.

Teachability: ★★★ (3/5)

I have no doubt that there are stories in this anthology that could easily find their way into classrooms. “Half a Moon” questions what it truly means to be family, “Samson and the Delilahs” discussion the idea of meeting expectations, “Whoa!” could be incredibly interested thrown into on historical fiction, or literature from the 1800s. But I don’t think that is truly the point of this collection. I think the point of this collection is for black children to see themselves, and all of their complexities, reflected back at them from stories in the same way that white children have been able to do for so long.


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