Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood - book cover
Growing Up & Facts of Life
  • Publisher : Delacorte Press
  • Published : 03 Aug 2021
  • Pages : 320
  • ISBN-10 : 0593379934
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593379936
  • Language : English

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood


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

Editorial Reviews

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

Readers Top Reviews

D. W. ThomasBigMama1
Can't say enough about this book. I ordered for my grand nephew. It will be passed around the family but I started reading a story and decided to let him finish it first so I am anticipating sharing with him and hearing him share. He is home schooled and tends to read a lot so I think he will find it fun. When I was reading it, I felt that I was embarking on a wonderful adventure. I'm not sure about how boys read. For a nine year old girl reader it would be an easy read (based on my own daughter).
Paige B.
This is one of the best anthologies I've ever read. I'm so excited to have been introduced to a number of writers that I was previously unaware of (especially P. Djèlí Clark; I think his story was my favorite), and to have finally read a bit of writing by several writers I've been been hearing a lot about but hadn't gotten around to reading yet (like George M. Johnson and Justin A. Reynolds; absolutely loved their stories!). There's a delightfully wide range of genres, formats and kinds of characters featured in this book, and I loved all of it--there's fantasy, slice-of-life, a comic, poetry, and prose. And much of the African diaspora is represented here: there are characters from and settings include America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Truly something for everyone. Anthologies are often an uneven reading experience, as the stories can feel hit or miss, and there might be 2 or 3 stories that I really enjoy while feeling unmoved by the rest. But THIS collection is very strong throughout, which only maybe 2 stories that felt like they were written by writers on the very early side of developing their craft. I loved that these stories featured and uplifted Black boys and were written by Black men and nonbinary writers. I loved that the level of conflict included in the actual stories was kept light so that none of it was a traumatic read, even while knowing via context that some of the characters had probably had a hard time at some point or another. I loved that some stories starred queer Black boy characters--we don't get to see that enough in middle grade. A treat and a delight and incredibly well done. Highly recommend.
Lindsay MorganTaylor
This book checks off so many boxes. It should be a staple in every elementary and middle school library. The stories are so real and authentic, and are so necessary for kids to read and relate to - to see themselves in and to feel seen. I think it's amazing and only hope that we will see more like this in the future. 5 stars. Highly recommend.

Short Excerpt Teaser

There's Going to Be a Fight in the Cafeteria on Friday and You Better Not Bring Batman

By Lamar Giles

**Batman (perma-banned)**


Captain America


War Machine

Wonder Woman


Iron Man

The Hulk

The Winter Soldier

The Flash


Doctor Strange


Black Panther

The school bus squealed to a stop at the corner by Cornell's house. Other kids from the neighborhood got off, but he was too busy rereading that stupid list to notice. Black Panther gone. Superman gone. The Hulk--

"Cornell!" Mr. Jeffries shouted from the driver's seat. "You ain't about to have me doubling back because you missed your stop again. Pay attention!"

"Sorry. Sorry." Cornell scooted from his seat and brushed past his laughing schoolmates, including Amaya Arnold. Amaya was more giggling than laughing, and Cornell could tell she wasn't being mean. Actually, her giggle was kind of pretty. Almost as pretty as her.

But he wasn't brave enough to look her way too long, so his eyes wandered . . . to Tobin Pitts. Who was staring at him. Hard.

Tobin swiped his red bangs away from his eyes and freckled forehead. "Hope you're ready."

Cornell shook his head and exited the bus with that stupid list taking up the space in his head he'd rather reserve for Amaya.

But, unless she got superpowers before lunch tomorrow, she wasn't going to be much help.

The cars in the driveway told Cornell everyone was home except Mom, who was still on the West Coast for her business trip. He weaved between Carter's beat-up burgundy Chevy "starter car," Dad's might-be-time-for-an-upgrade-if-he-can-convince-Mom black Audi, and Pop-Pop's classics-are-the-way-to-go baby blue Cadillac until he reached the side door. He removed the lanyard from his neck where his single silver key dangled and jiggled it in the knob.

Before she left, Mom had told them all, "Don't think because I'm away it's supposed to be Bruhs Gone Wild. I want this house looking like humans live here when I get back."

Inside, the funky-ripe smell of the overfull kitchen trash can suggested they had work to do.

First things first, though. "Carter! Hey, Carter! I need your help."

Cornell's brother wasn't in the kitchen, and the house wasn't shaking from rap bass, so he probably wasn't in his bedroom. Cornell rushed through the dining room, scooted by Mom's home office, cut through the foyer, kicked his shoes off before stepping into the living room no one ever sat in, and came to a skidding stop at the den, where he found his brother on the wraparound couch with a guest.

"Hi," Cornell said, surprised.

The girl gushed. "Oh, you must be Carter's brother!"

She had dark brown skin, supercool red-framed glasses, and an Afro puff on each side of her head. She reminded Cornell of Amaya. Her jean jacket had a bunch of buttons pinned to the collar and pockets. Cornell leaned forward, trying to read some--black lives matter; love is love--when Carter reminded them he was in the room. "Whatchu need, Lil' Man?"

Cornell's chin jerked up. Carter never called him "Lil' Man" before. Also, "Why's your voice sound like that?"

Carter coughed and cleared his throat. The weird deepness became his normal little-bit-whiny voice. "We're studying."

The girl told Carter, "Hey, I want you to introduce me to this little cutie."

Cornell smiled. "Thank you!"

Mom taught him how to take a compliment.

Carter . . . was not smiling. "Raven, that's Cornell. Cornell, Raven. What. Do. You. Want?"

"Oh, right!" Cornell fished the list from his back pocket and hopped over the back of the couch. It was a nimble leap. He landed right between the study buddies.

Raven clapped like Cornell had done some YouTube-level parkour. Carter stared, his face twitching in a super weird way. He was probably just focusing real hard so he could be as helpful as possible, Cornell figured.

"There's this thing that happens in the cafeteria on Fridays," Cornell said, "where everyone gathers around and argues about which superheroes can do what. Sometimes it's just about who's better, and sometimes it's about who would beat who in a fight. It's a big thing. Anyway, my name got pulled out the hat again, so I have to go tomorrow, except I can't use any of the characters on this list because--"

Carter stood up.


Maybe he thought better on his feet.

"Come with ...