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Monday, August 17, 2009

August 2009, Thoughts on Kendra: Lorie Ann


Why did I first reach for Kendra? Well, there was Coe's amazing reputation through Tyrell, and now she had chosen a female protagonist. Perfect! We need more female African American characters. The scale seems to tip to the male's experience.

I immediately was engaged by the baby mama story fourteen years down the road, from the child's point of view. What a fresh perspective, right?

The story problems are stacked one on another. What does a child do when a mother continues to place herself first. What does one do with an overbearing grandparent? Sexual attraction? Vast disappointment?

The rgz divas were psyched to try to feature this work. Thankfully, Coe was back from Switzerland.

Kendra is bringing great discussion to rgz. Thanks, Coe! Here's to more days ahead and rgz LIVE!

My website


Color Online said...

"The scale seems to tip to the male's experience."

They are? Booksellers, librarians and the folks at Guy Lit Wire say the guys are short-changed in YA lit.

If there are more AA titles with male leads, I'm missing out. I read a lot AA fiction and it been my experience that the girls lead. I'd be very interested in seeing a list that featured AA males here in the future. Outside of Myers, Curtis and Woodson, I'm at a loss.

Melissa Walker said...

I just adore Coe, and I've loved both TYRELL and KENDRA (can't wait for TYRELL 2!). Peeking into the world Coe creates is enriching and uplifting.

Shelf Elf said...

I read Kendra in one gulp. Coe completely pulled me into Kendra's world and her life.

A book that I read and reviewed for Guys Lit Wire that looks at the relationship between a young mom and her son when he is a teenager is Nick Hornby's "Slam." It makes for some interesting comparison when you look at it next to Kendra.

Paula said...

Kendra has been my summer book crush. I <3 it! One really appealing feature of the book is that Coe portrayed Kendra as someone who is from a low income area but not OF it. Kendra's a product of her situation (strict grandmom/absentee mom, immature father) not of the "streets," though obviously she could have been if Coe had wanted her to be. I'm glad she wasn't because it made for a much deeper perspective.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Very different perspective, Color Online. I'd love to see your list of the best AA fiction with female protags.

I do think of Myers, Curtis, Woodson, and Anderson's contributions. We've hosted Nikki Grimes, Rita Williams-Garcia, and have Sharon Draper booked.

Who are your top recommends?

Color Online said...

Hi Lori,

Susan here. I can think of more than I listed but my perspective wasn't only my own but a complaint I have read repeatedly especially if we're talking about African American male leads in fiction.

Now girls, you're talking something I can list as easy as breathing. Have you seen my Unofficial list of Great YA written by or About Women of Color?

Best? Let's say solid and strong female leads. I don't read damsel-in-distress stories and I don't do clueless girls either. Short list of titles with AA female leads:

Shagerlee from The House You Pass On The Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Shayla from When Kambia Elaine Flew In From Neptune by Lori A. Williams

Genna from A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott

The sisters from Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis

Makela from The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake

Marley from Heaven by Angela Johnson

Lauren from Parable of The Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Lahni from When The Black Girl Sings by Bill Wright

Emako and Monterey in Emako Blue by Brenda Woods

Maizon from Maizon at Blue Hill

Rhonda in My Life as A Rhombus by Varian Johnson

Kayla in Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston

Patrice from Standing Against the Wind

Sam's girlfriend in The Rock and The River by Kekla Magoon

Kyra from Kyra & Jason by Dana Davidson

By authors:

Sharon Draper
Jacqueline Woodson (22+ titles to date)
Lori A. Williams
Rita Williams-Garcia
Nikki Grimes
Angela Johnson
Veronica Chambers
Kendra Booth
Zetta Elliott
Kekla Magoon
Paula Chase
E.R. Frank
Dana Davidson
Sherri L. Smith

And then there's the Kimani Tru series which I don't know but has all AA female leads that are positive.

Color Online said...

I forgot the link to the list and most of the authors I listed all have written multiple books with AA leads.

Susan's Unofficial List of Great YA by or about Women of Color

Do check the additions added by readers.

Lori, I have had to remind myself to seek out more books with boy leads. My list is growing. I read almost all women for both YA and adult. And I read predominantly POC. If I had added other POC, the list would have been even longer.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

This is fantastic information, Color Online. I'll share your list with the team and check out your Unofficial List as well.

This is so helpful! Thank you so much! In fact, I may zip you an email...

Color Online said...

You're welcome. Glad to hear you find it useful.

Susan from Color Online. :-)

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