Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.
Evoking Beyoncé's Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler's heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.
Lovers of Octavia Butler will find her spirit in this smoldering anthology of 16 short stories that center black female and gender nonconforming characters within fantasy and speculative fiction. Written by authors of varying backgrounds, including Elizabeth Acevedo, Justina Ireland, and Rebecca Roanhorse, the stories cover timely themes such as colorism, mental health, ancestry and tradition, and sexual and gender identity. Alaya Dawn Johnson's folkloric "The Rules of the Land," about the child of a sea entity and a human, considers bearing the weight of a parent's decisions. Ibi Zoboi's "Kiss the Sun" and Ashley Woodfolk's "The Curse of Love" explore self-love and self-preservation amid sacrifice. Some are lighthearted, such as Ireland's "Melie" and Danielle Paige's "The Actress," while others skew heavier, such as the editor's "Letting the Right One In," which calls upon queer black women to embrace and explore their identities. Caldwell writes in the introduction, "Black people have our pain, but our futures are limitless. Let us, together, embrace our power." These stories do, exploring the beauty, bravery, fear, history, and empowerment of being black. Fiercely fantastical and achingly honest, this book delivers a more inclusive means of self-discovery. Ages 12 up.