Friday, November 5, 2010

To Be Young, Athletic and a Poc

A short while ago, I completed a fantabulous five meme, in which I talked about five books I recently read, planned to read, etc. I also added my own category, 'five things I want to see more of in YA poc lit'. After I made my list (need more paranormal, boarding school, athletes, inter cultural romance and cowgirls/cowboys/Westerns), I decided to make a list of the few books out there that fit my criteria. You can find my list of YA paranormals about poc here and my list of boarding schools books in which race is not the main issue here. My goal is to list at least 10 suggestions. This week, I'm spotlighting YA/MG books by/about poc in which the main characters play sports.

1. Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley (YA-snowboarding)

2. Surf Mules by G. Neri (YA-surfing) ETA: I didn't fully do my research, Doret has informed that the two main characters in this novel are white.

2. The Ring by Bobbie Pyron (YA-boxing). The main character and author is white, but there are strong supporting poc characters.

3. Haters by Alisa Valdes Rodriguez (YA-motocross)

4. How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbaelstier (YA-basketball)

5. Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes (MG-baseball)

6. Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz (YA-baseball)

7. The Contender by Robert Lipsyte (YA-boxing)

8. The Warriors by Joseph Bruchac (MG-lacrosse)

9. The Necessary Hunger by Nina Revoyr (YA-basketball)

10. Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury (MG-baseball)

11. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher (YA-swimming)

12. Double Dutch by Sharon Draper (MG-Double Dutch)

13. Ball Don't Lie by Matt de La Pena (YA-basketball)

14. Necessary Roughness by Marie G. Lee (YA-football)

15. Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill (YA-basketball)

16. Slam by Walter Dean Myers (YA-basketball)

17. Black and White by Paul Volponi (YA-basketball)

18. Mexican White Boy by Matt De La Pena (YA-baseball)

19. I Wanna Be Your Shoebox by Cristina Garcia (MG-surfing)

20. Perfect Shot by Debbie Riguad (YA-volleyball)

21. The Hoopster by Alan Lawrence Sitomer (YA-basketball)

Upcoming Sports Release

1. Skate Fate by Juan Felipe Herrera (YA-skateboarding) Release Date: February 22, 2011

2. How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen (MG-bowling) Release Date: February 22, 2011

3. Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (YA-basketball) Release Date: February 22, 2011

*Please note that I tried to avoid featuring too many books in which the African American main character plays basketball. If you recommend them, I would be happy to add them, but I wanted to try and feature more diverse sports and characters.


  1. Wonderful list! I also enjoyed Surf Mules, Ball Don't Lie, Girl Overboard, and Whale Talk

  2. Great list! You could also add Soul Enchilada- the sport the main characer excells at is indeed basketball, but Bug is half Mexican as well as half African American...

  3. Ooh! I have Tortilla Sun sitting on my bedside table (what don't I have sitting on my bedside table, lol?), I will definitely have to make it a priority now! And I haven't read any Justine Larbaliester yet, so How to Ditch your Fairy would be pretty awesome, too. Thanks for the post!

  4. You have to include Walter Dean Myers, who has several titles with poc centered around basketball: Slam, Game and I think Shooter.

    Then there's Paul Volponi, who is a white author but features poc in his YA books. There's Rucker Park Setup and Black and White. Also basketball books.

  5. Thanks! This is really helpful since I’m currently working on a YA sporty romance with a biracial main character. I’ll have to check these books out.

  6. Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Pena (baseball)

    I Wanna Be Your Shoebox by Cristina Garcia (surfing)

    Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (basketball)

    Perfect Shot by Debbie Rigaud (volleyball)

  7. Oh my gosh, I'm working with Juan Felipe Herrera this winter quarter! *faints* I had no idea he had a book coming out. He is a very talented poet, so I'm curious to see read his book.

    I'm not really a sports fan, but some of these books have been getting a lot of buzz.

  8. Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins (tennis)

    Though not a sports book I really liked the part tennis played in this story. Especially since it wasn't something girls were suppose to do

    And, yes the main chararacters in Surf Mules are White, and the book is very very good.

  9. Such a great list that I hope to explore more off soon. I'm loving focusing on women in sports this month (doh I knew there was a boxing novel I meant to get in but forgot about The Ring) and just finished Girl Overboard, which I agree is so cool because it works so hard to be uncommon and different. Looking forward to sorting through the positives and negatives of that one, but it was a really enjoyable, robust reading expereince - thanks for pointing in out when you reviewed it.

  10. I have a suggestion on one book you could add to the list. It's called "The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Kidnapped" by Yxta Maya Murray. It's features a Mexican American girl who excels at running track. Though the title is pretty self explanatory, her skills in track often pop up throughout the story.

  11. Fantastic list and discussion! I don't have too much to add except that I love Girl Overboard and Whale Talk. :)


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