Black Boy Joy Edited by Kwame Mbalia
You ever find yourself grinning while reading a book? You know, that inner joy that springs up and radiates across your face? That is one of the many emotions I have felt reading Black Boy Joy Edited by Kwame Mbalia. Admittedly I experienced a few tears too, but that is because of how genuinely authentic all of these stories felt.
Black Boy Joy is a collection of short stories that celebrate all of what it means to be a Black boy. Many of the main characters are middle school aged while all of them are Black. You get to experience the diversity in experiences, thoughts and fears but also the overlaps too. All of the stories are distinct, so they can be read in order or not (which I love), but they are equally memorable.
I truly appreciated the exploration of different genres within one book. There was some science fiction along with coming of age tales as well as magical realism. The book wasn't based in tragedy, but did not avoid that as a subtext for what boys may be experiencing as they shape and define their identities.
Overall, it was just great to read something upbeat that was written for boys. But not something so watered down that it didn't feel real or relatable. The medley of writers provided voices for all types of boys at various points in their boyhood journey. It truly embodied Black Boy Joy and I absolutely LOVED it!