Publishers are paying attention to African-American teens
by Felicia Pride and Calvin Reid — Publishers Weekly, 12/8/2008
Talk to a Young Adults editor or take a stroll through that section at your local bookstore and it’s evident that there’s a growing number of books aimed at the young adult market—and those numbers include more titles geared specifically to African-American teens. As publishers are addressing the lack of material aimed at this market—many African-American teens have turned to popular adult authors because of this dearth—there has clearly been some improvement.
These days publishers are offering black teens books that deal with serious issues, such as drug addiction and pregnancy, as well as pure entertainment; they’re looking to introduce new authors and experiment with graphic novels and even historical fiction for teens, all while looking for creative ways to make sure parents, teachers and librarians—as well as the kids themselves—know what’s on their lists specifically for black teens.
Publishers Weekly talked with a number of editors and category buyers as well as an agent specializing in titles for African-American teens in order to get a better view of the past, present and future of titles aimed at black teenagers.