Black History Month: 7 great books for teens

From gritty memoir to evocative fiction, these stories offer powerful lessons about race in America.

1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou (Ballantine, 304 pp.) is Maya Angelou’s compelling coming-of-age account of life as a black female during the Depression. Remembering a perpetual longing to feel beautiful and loved, Angelou writes of being disappointed by society and her own family – but ultimately infuses her memoir with a sense of triumph.

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