Books by Kekla Magoon

LIGHT IT UP by Kekla Magoon
Released: Oct. 22, 2019

"This companion to a modern classic offers an even deeper, more layered depiction of the impact of a police shooting. (Fiction. 14-18)"
The shooting of an unarmed African American teen by police serves as catalyst for racial tension in a community still recovering from a previous tragedy. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 16, 2018

"Heartening and hopeful, a love letter to black male youth grasping the desires within them, absorbing the worlds around them, striving to be more otherwise than ordinary. Please share. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Cooler-than-cool newcomer Styx Malone takes the more-sheltered brothers Caleb and Bobby Gene on a mischievous, path-altering, summer adventure of a lifetime as they embrace the extraordinary possibilities beyond the everyday in rural Indiana. Read full book review >
REIGN OF OUTLAWS by Kekla Magoon
Released: Oct. 24, 2017

"A neatly packaged conclusion to this modern and youthful take on the famous Robin Hood legend. (Adventure. 8-12)"
Robyn Loxley—a 12-year-old mixed-race black girl—is back for the final installment of this series, and she has even more at stake than before. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 18, 2016

"A fast-paced, futuristic adventure tale that will have readers feeling as though they've been on a physical and emotional roller coaster. (Adventure. 8-12)"
Following Shadows of Sherwood (2015), this second book in the series finds black, braided Robyn Loxley continuing her life as a 12-year-old outlaw who has to fend for herself while protecting her home, Nott City, against the strict rule of the wicked dictator, Gov. Ignomus Crown. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Although the action sometimes slows as series components are introduced, the adventure and cliffhanging ending will entice readers. (Adventure. 8-12)"
Robyn is a fearless 12-year old who always seems to find trouble in this futuristic take on Robin Hood. Read full book review >
X by Ilyasah Shabazz
Released: Jan. 6, 2015

"Readers for whom pre-civil rights America is ancient history will find this poetic interpretation eye-opening and riveting. (notes about characters, timeline, family tree, historical context, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 14 & up)"
Teaming with veteran Magoon, the third daughter of Malcolm X draws upon history and family stories to create a novel about her father's life before the "X." Read full book review >
HOW IT WENT DOWN by Kekla Magoon
Released: Oct. 21, 2014

"This sobering yet satisfying novel leaves readers to ponder the complex questions it raises. (Fiction. 14 & up)"
A racially charged shooting reveals the complicated relationships that surround a popular teen and the neighborhood that nurtured and challenged him. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 28, 2012

"A well-written, compelling trip to a past not often portrayed in children's literature. (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
The Black Panthers seem to have the answers for Maxie and her friends, so when a traitor to the group is suspected, she is determined to find who is leaking information to the Chicago police. Read full book review >
Released: May 22, 2012

"Another powerful outing from a rising star. (Fiction. 14 & up)"
Ellis experiences emotional turbulence as she copes with her father's extended coma and the pain of changing friendships. Read full book review >
CAMO GIRL by Kekla Magoon
Released: Jan. 4, 2011

Ella and Zachary, sixth-grade misfits, cling to each other to get through the taunts, rejection and, sometimes, abuse from their classmates.
Ella is the only black student, and her discolored skin tone has some calling her "Camo-Face," short for camouflage. Zachary, or "Z," is small for his age and takes refuge in fantasy to cope with abandonment by his father. When a new black student arrives and seems open to Ella, she has hope for a new friendship, especially because, even though he can fit in with the popular group, Bailey reaches out to her. The insecure Z sees this as a threat, and Ella is torn between her loyalty to him and her wish for some normalcy. This elegantly crafted story features strong writing and solid characterizations of both main and secondary characters. Ella and Bailey's racial identity is one element in a full and richly textured narrative.
An out-of-the-ordinary setting—just outside of Las Vegas—and the nuanced picture of young teens and families under stress make this an outstanding follow-up to Magoon's Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award-winning debut, The Rock and the River (2009). (Fiction. 8-14)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 6, 2009

This compelling debut novel set in 1968 Chicago vividly depicts how one African-American family is torn between two opposiing approaches to the Civil Rights Movement. Fourteen-year-old Sam is the son of minister and civil-rights leader Roland Childs, a revered community figure and movement heavyweight whose counsel is sought by Martin Luther King Jr. Sam finds his faith in and respect for his father's stalwart commitment to nonviolence shaken when he discovers that Stick, his older brother and best friend, is involved with the Black Panthers. Sam is torn between the two people he looks up to most. As he poignantly wrestles over which direction to take, Sam both observes and experiences firsthand the injustice of racism. It takes a terrible tragedy for Sam to choose between "the rock and the river." Magoon is unflinching in her depictions of police brutality and racism. She offers readers a perspective that is rarely explored, showing that racial prejudices were not confined to the South and that the Civil Rights Movement was a truly national struggle. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >