50+ Captivating & Diverse Texts for Secondary ELA

Hey y’all! Are you looking for diverse texts for secondary ELA? Do you want to grow your classroom library or find suggestions for a lit circle? Look no further! I’ve written a lot of YA book reviews and created a lot of book “round-up” lists over the years, so I thought it would be helpful to compile my many recommendations here.  Each list, unless otherwise specified, features a range of authors and protagonists, including BIPOC, queer, neuro-divergent voices. And a final word about diversity and inclusion: no “one text” is going to develop your students’ empathy and thirst for justice.  Instead, be sure to include a variety of voices throughout your shelves and curriculum, all year long. Be sure to bookmark this list of diverse texts for secondary ELA as it will continually grow* 🙂

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The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus feat. L. Sam Smith

Writer & teacher L. Samantha Smith joins us to chat about The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus, a lush, split perspective YA debut. (Transcript)     In today’s episode… The Stars and the Blackness Between Them follows two girls, Audre and Mabel. Audre has just been sent to Minnesota from her home in Trinidad after her mother found her with another girl. Mabel is ready to welcome her, but barely has the energy to enjoy much these days. After a startling diagnosis, Mabel counts on Audre for calm and peace. She also begins a correspondence with an imprisoned writer. It feels like these two people are alone in understanding her and anchoring her to this life. Can the two girls shape happiness in the space and time they have left together?

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The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert feat. Nikea JaLynn

BookTuber, Nikea JaLynn (cohost of the series #BlackGirlLit), joins us to chat about The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert. (Transcript)   In today’s episode… The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert Dove “Birdie” Randolph has tried hard to live up to her parents’ expectations: she’s at the top of her class, she works hard, and she even quit playing soccer to make more time for schoolwork. She seems to be the perfect daughter. But Birdie has a secret: she’s seeing a boy named Booker, a boy who’s been in Juvie, and Birdie’s sure her parents won’t approve. When her estranged aunt Carlene comes to town, Birdie’s life gets even more complicated. Carlene’s in recovery, but Birdie’s mother still braces herself for the moment when it will all come crashing down. Can Birdie

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Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

We are joined by Zshavette, a Pinay bookstagrammer to chat about Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay. It’s one of our favorite reads of 2019! (Transcript)     In today’s episode… In Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, we meet Jay Reguero, a Filipino-American teenager. He has mostly maintained his connection to his family in the Philippines through letters to his cousin, Jun. Or did, before they lost touch a few years ago. Now, Jay is just trying to make it through his senior year before heading to college in the fall. When he gets news that Jun has died, no one will give him any details. Jay wants answers, and he travels to the Philippines to get them. As he learns more about President Duterte’s drug war and the truth about his

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57 Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen

This week we chat with author Justina Chen about Gilmore Girls, Firefly, and of course our featured title, Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi. (Transcript)   In today’s episode… Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi Rachel Recht is the next great filmmaker. At least, she will be as soon as she can get her movie finished. She works hard not to rely on anyone—especially not Sana, the beautiful cheerleader who asked her out freshman year as what had to be some kind of cruel joke. Sana is the picture of the perfect daughter. She may not know what she wants to do next year—does she want to go to Princeton like her family believes, or fly halfway across the world for an internship in India?—but she knows

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56 These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling feat. Jessica Spotswood

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling feat. Jessica Spotswood

Author/editor Jessica Spotswood joins us to chat about the blood witches and bad breakups in These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling, a fun YA mystery. (Transcript) In today’s episode… In These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling, Hannah Walsh wants to get through her summer breakup, but sharing a coven with her ex-girlfriend Veronica doesn’t make life easy. Hannah is an elemental witch—she’s able to control the four elements through magic. But she’s still underage and not fully trained, meaning no one believes her when a dangerous Blood Witch comes to town. She thinks it’s a Blood Witch. She’s pretty sure. Working with Veronica is the only way to convince her family of the threat, but it’s hard to focus on the dangers facing them when Veronica keeps trying to hook back up. In

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LGBTQ+ YA Novels for Pride Month

PRIDE month is almost here! Woo-hoo! In celebration, here are 21 diverse LGBTQ+ YA novels for your high school classroom library, broken down by genre. Building your classroom library to represent more voices is a great way to build empathy, teach peace, and draw in all of your students. Creating an inclusive classroom library filled with LGBTQ+ YA novels is one small way you can make your LBGTQ+ students feel safe. I have some other tips for creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ students in this post on the Secondary ELA Coffee Shop. I also have recommendations for short texts by LGBTQ+ authors, LGBTQ+ books for middle-grade students, and YA/MG books featuring trans and non-binary protagonists. Contemporary LGBTQ+ YA Novels The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding In The Summer of Jordi Perez, Abby scores

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With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

  This week we are joined once again by our friend Anna aka @never_withouta_book to discuss Elizabeth Acevedo’s newest book, With the Fire on High. (Transcript)     In today’s episode… With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo  Since getting pregnant at fourteen, Emoni has done everything she could for her daughter and her abuela. Between being a full-time mom and a full-time student, Emoni doesn’t have time to think about her future. She loves cooking and people say her food is magic, but can she really squeeze in more school? Shouldn’t she get a job instead? When her school offers a culinary elective with an immersion trip to Spain in the spring, it feels like a dream to Emoni. Can she find a way to let her talent shine and still keep her

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