young adult literature versatile writing

The Profound Impact of Kekla Magoon: A Guide to Her Works

Kekla Magoon, a celebrated author, has made a profound impact on children’s and young adult literature with her versatile writing. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the John Steptoe New Talent Award and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award. Magoon often explores themes of injustice and growing up in her narratives, with a focus on friendship dynamics. Her nonfiction works delve into Civil Rights and American history2. Some of her notable books include “How It Went Down,” “The Season of Styx Malone,” and “Revolution in Our Time.”

Who is Kekla Magoon and what is her impact as an author?

Kekla Magoon is an esteemed author, known for her work in children’s and young adult literature1 across various genres. She has published over 20 books, earning numerous accolades, including the John Steptoe New Talent Award, Boston Globe Horn Book Award, NAACP Image Award, and the 2021 Margaret Edwards Award. Her narratives often focus on young individuals experiencing injustice3, with themes including friendship dynamics and the complexities of growing up. Magoon’s nonfiction largely explores Civil Rights and American history in the second half of the 20th century.

Kekla Magoon, a celebrated author of over 20 books, is a prominent figure in children’s and young adult literature. Known for her versatile writing across various genres — historical fiction, sci-fi, contemporary realistic, and picture book biographies — Magoon has amassed numerous accolades for her work.

Kekla Magoon’s Accolades

Her honors include the John Steptoe New Talent Award, the Boston Globe Horn Book Award, and the NAACP Image Award. Magoon’s work has been recognized with several Coretta Scott King Honors, and she has been listed as a National Book Award longlist and finalist author. In 2021, the American Library Association acknowledged her lasting contribution to young adult literature by conferring upon her the esteemed Margaret Edwards Award.

Magoon’s Signature Themes

Magoon’s work spans a broad array of genres and topics. Yet, a common thread weaves through all, with her narratives often centered on young people encountering injustice in their everyday lives. Alongside these serious themes are familiar, relatable elements such as friendship dynamics, characters striving to prove themselves, and the age-old trials and triumphs of growing up in an intricate world.

Her work ranges from serious to humorous, but her dynamic characters anchor her fiction, making it resonate with readers. Magoon’s nonfiction largely explores Civil Rights and American history in the second half of the 20th century. She has penned seven biographies aimed at young readers about renowned and influential Black leaders.

Where to Start Reading Kekla Magoon’s Works

Indeed, with Magoon’s extensive portfolio, choosing a starting point can seem daunting, but there’s no wrong place to begin. Among her most recognized works is X: A Novel, co-authored with Ilyasah Shabazz, which presents a novelized account of Malcolm X’s teenage years.

However, the following three books serve as excellent introductions to Magoon’s range and skill as an author.

How It Went Down

This young adult novel is a conversation starter and a compelling choice for readers seeking works similar to The Hate U Give. It revolves around Tariq Johnson, a Black teen, whose life is cut short by a white man claiming self-defense. This premise, eerily reminiscent of real-world headlines, dives deep into the lives of those connected to Tariq, exploring the effects of his death.

The Season of Styx Malone

For middle-grade readers, The Season of Styx Malone offers a mix of humor and adventure. Brothers Caleb and Bobby Green yearn for excitement beyond their small-town life. Enter Styx Malone, an older boy who introduces them to the concept of the Great Escalator Trade. However, as Styx’s secrets are revealed, Caleb starts to see him, his family, and his dreams in a different light.

Revolution in Our Time

Revolution in Our Time is a nonfiction work aimed at young adults providing an essential account of the Black Panther Party, often stigmatized and misunderstood in history. It underscores the community-focused origins of the party, its adversities, and the impact it’s had on Black history, Civil Rights, and the Black Lives Matter movement, making it a crucial read for all ages.

More Reading Recommendations

In simple words, Kekla Magoon is a famous author who has written many books for children and young adults. She has won a lot of awards for her work, like the John Steptoe New Talent Award and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award. Her books often talk about unfairness and growing up, and she also writes about Civil Rights and American history. Some of her popular books are “How It Went Down,” “The Season of Styx Malone,” and “Revolution in Our Time.”

  1. Children’s and Young Adult Literature – Education – Oxford Bibliographies ↩︎
  2. Understanding and Analyzing Iconic Non-Fiction Texts of the Civil Rights Movement – Annenberg Learner ↩︎
  3. The Youth Lens: Analyzing Adolescence/ts in Literary Texts ↩︎