Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood (Hardcover)

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood By Kwame Mbalia (Editor) Cover Image

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood (Hardcover)

By Kwame Mbalia (Editor)


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We all need more joy in our lives….especially now! We need reminders of the small joys and what we can and should appreciate in life. Sometimes it’s as small as a “surge of joy like a perfect seventy-seven-degree day” or as big as the joy in saving the world in an intergalactic alien race to the finish line.

“From seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.” Joy comes in all different forms in Black Boy Joy – from fantastical stories filled with unique creatures like P. Djeli Clark’s “Percival and the Jab” to fantasy writer Tochi Onyebuchi capturing a moment in history and “Coping” during the new world of the pandemic.

It’s the delight of seeing your Momma and your Aunty dancing to a song that gives them joy down to their aching bones and inspires a new song for church to uplift the congregation in “But Also, Jazz” by Julian Randall.

One of my favorites was “The Gender Reveal” by George M. Johnson – this was a story of the joy of inclusion and authenticity. It was the wonder of being seen and recognized as your true, most gorgeous self and the joy of knowing that your friends and family 100% have your back. I was in awe of and found such pride in the bravery of Malcolm. What an inspirational narrative of self love and a vision what happens when loved ones encourage you to share your truth.

What I loved was that these stories were all beautifully edited by Kwame Mbalia while adding his own interwoven narrative “The Griot of Grover Street” about the act of collecting joy throughout the book.

Read to find how joy manifests for the authors through the joy of music, of comics, of superheroes, of family, of fantasy, of flying, of facing fears, of courage, of trials, of success. These were my interpretations, but I encourage you to explore each individual adventure to uncover what joy you take away.

I read these short, joyful stories from some of my favorite authors like Jason Reynolds, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi and Jerry Craft and discovered some new authors to me that had me adding their other works to my to read list.

Step through Kwama’s inflatable door to “The Between.…the realm between worlds” to remember that joy comes in all forms and can be found if you have your eyes, mind and heart open to discover it.

— Erin Dewsbury-Ribeiro, Black Stone Bookstore & Cultural Center, Ypsilanti, MI


Celebrate the joys of Black boyhood with stories from seventeen bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors—including Jason Reynolds, Jerry Craft, and Kwame Mbalia.

★ "Pick up Black Boy Joy for a heavy dose of happiness." —Booklist, starred review

Black boy joy is…
Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit.
Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic race.
Finding your voice—and your rhymes—during tough times.
Flying on your skateboard like nobody’s watching.
And more! From seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

Contributors include: B. B. Alston, Dean Atta, P. Djèlí Clark, Jay Coles, Jerry Craft, Lamar Giles, Don P. Hooper, George M. Johnson, Varian Johnson, Kwame Mbalia, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi, Julian Randall, Jason Reynolds, Justin Reynolds, DaVaun Sanders, and Julian Winters
Kwame Mbalia is a husband, father, writer, #1 New York Times bestselling author, and former pharmaceutical metrologist, in that order. He is the author of the Tristan Strong trilogy, The Last Gate of the Emperor duology, and Black Boy Joy—an anthology of 17 stories celebrating Black boyhood. His work has received numerous starred reviews and a Coretta Scott King honor. A Howard University graduate and a Midwesterner now in North Carolina, Kwame survives on dad jokes and Cheez-Its.
Product Details ISBN: 9780593379936
ISBN-10: 0593379934
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2021
Pages: 320
Language: English
An Amazon Best Book of 2021
A Washington Post Best Book of 2021
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2021
A New York Public Library Best Book of 2021

A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2021
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2021

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2021
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2021
A BookPage Best Book of 2021

"From stories to poetry and comics, Black Boy Joy has something for every type of reader."—The New York Times Book Review

★ "Luminous . . . Filtering perennial subjects such as friendships, gender identity, and family through the lenses of magic, science, space travel, superheroes, and more, this is an exuberant celebration of carefree Black experiences; while it will especially resonate with Black readers, any reader will appreciate how this genre-bending collection expands the horizons of what joy for Black boys can be."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ "This book is a must-have in every collection for its variety of topics and its celebration of Black boyhood in all its forms."—School Library Journal, starred review

★ "In a world where Black boys' stories are often tragedies, statistics, and stereotypes, this work surely reclaims ownership over the boldness, creativity, and wholeness they possess." —Booklist, starred review

★ “Some are humorous, some are poignant, but all are compelling reading... A unique, timely, and necessary read.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This anthology for middle-graders is beautifully and unapologetically written, allowing anyone, regardless of age, sex or race, to feel a sense of pride and joy in being true to themselves."—Shelf Awareness, starred review

“A book that in addition to celebrating joy reminds readers that getting excited and caring—about people, about stuff—is cool and rewarding.” —The Bulletin

"Honest and fresh . . . Black Boy Joy is a treasure to share and return to again and again."—BookPage