Rad Reads

Ready to find your voice? These 4 new reads (starring Black girls) will inspire you

Our vibe this holiday szn? ❄️📚 Books, books and more books. Whether you're searching for the perfect prezzie for your literary bestie or hoping to curl up with a mug of hot cocoa and escape the IRL dramatics of 2020 (bc aren't we all?), these four girl-powered reads are the ultimate adds to your winter break TBR list. Keep scrolling for enticing tales of *amazing* Black girls following their hearts, going after their dreams and dealing with friends, family, school and romance along the way...

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks


At only 12 years old, Zoe Washington does it all. She's a baker extraordinaire by day...and fighting injustice by night. No, really. Zoe's father is in prison, and Zoe is sure he's innocent—and she's going to be the one to prove it. Between an internship at a bakery, her quest to audition for Food Network and her everyday life as a middle schooler, Zoe's busy...but not too busy to stand up for what is right and fight for her family.

The twist: Zoe has never actually met her father. In fact, a letter she received from him on her twelfth birthday is the only communication they've ever had. Despite the odds stacked against Zoe and her family, Zoe's quest to uncover the truth is an inspiring story taking on institutionalized racism and the criminal justice system—all with a lighthearted flair and humor that makes this book a total page-turner. Check out From the Desk of Zoe Washington HERE.

Serena Says by Tanita S. Davis

Serena is used to standing in the shadows of her "it girl" BFF JC—and that's OK with her. Though she dreams of becoming a classroom reporter, Serena's shy and content to stand in the background. But her world is shaken when JC goes to the hospital to receive a new kidney...and comes back with a new best friend, too.

Feeling excluded and a little lonely, Serena turns to a new hobby: Vlogging. As she talks to the camera, Serena discovers that she has a lot to say—she just needs to discover the best ways to make herself heard, use her voice to support others and finally step into the spotlight. Check out Serena Says HERE.

Something to Say by Lisa Moore Ramée


Who needs friends? Jenae doesn't. She's perfectly happy to be on her own at school, because she has all her favorite people at home: Big bro Malcolm, Grandpa Gee and her down-to-earth Mama. But Jenae finds an unexpected kindred spirit in new boy Aubrey, who is determined to be Jenae's friend. Aubrey helps ease Jenae out of her shell and, to her surprise, she actually *likes* being around him.

When the two are paired up for a debate, Jenae now knows things are officially doomed. Aubrey is determined to win, but how can Jenae (aka the shyest person in the universe) possibly speak out in front of an audience? In this story of vulnerability, friendship and open-mindedness, Aubrey and Jenae show readers that it's *never* too late to own your voice and fight for change. Check out Something to Say HERE.

Turning Point by Paula Chase


Rasheeda and Monique are BFFs—and they're struggling to keep the things they value most from slipping away. For Sheeda, that's her relationships with her closest confidants (and herself), including her deeply religious and very strict aunt. For Mo, it's her hard-earned spot at a prestigious, but mostly white, ballet intensive. In the face of every obstacle, Sheeda and Mo have sought comfort in their inseparable bond.

But when Mo's older brother is crushing on Sheeda and Mo is facing racial barriers in her dance classes, will their friendship be enough? Told from dual perspectives, Turning Point is a captivating read about loyalty, conformity and how to stand your ground. Check out Turning Point HERE.

Head to @theshelfstuff on Instagram and @harperchildrens on Twitter for even more *wonderful* winter reads!

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

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by Franca Akenami, Samantha Dorisca, Elina Graham and Maya Valmon | 11/16/2020