Posted by Michelle Denise Jackson
I still remember what it was like to be a teenager. I was a fury of emotions, dreams, ideas. I was awkward, self-assured, and painfully uncomfortable in my skin all at the same time. I worried about boys and relationships. I worried about by body. I worried about fitting in. I worried about my future. And on top of this all, I was often reminded that because I was Black, I was “different.” It was hard to find characters and images of people who looked like me in movies, books, magazines, TV shows. And when I did find those images that resembled my hair, my body type, my skin color… They often didn’t reflect my interests, personality, or background.
In 2014, I am sure most teenaged Black Girls are going through the same thing. Even though I have not been a teenager for quite some time, the youth I work with remind me how exhilarating, frightening, confusing, and meaningful adolescence is. I feel for the young Black women especially, as I see myself in them often.
But what helped me find my way through my overwhelming adolescence was my love of books. I found wisdom. I found characters whose resilience, independence, and strength inspired me. I found characters who overcame hardship and suffering to define and claim themselves. Thus, I discovered that Black Girls and Women’s stories were necessary.
Read the full article at 16 Empowering Books for Teenage Black Girls.