Sometimes it takes the acceptance of trouble to ignite action. Change can be difficult, but for junior high student Shayla, change is necessary for her to accept her cultural identity.
Black Bay Area author Lisa Moore Ramèe’s chapter book, A Good Kind of Trouble, highlights the difficulty of friendship, schoolwork, and race during puberty, especially growing up Black during a nationally turbulent period. The chapter book follows junior high student Shayla, who begins to question how important her identity is to her once her best friend Julie begins to embrace her cultural heritage. Although Shayla is Black, she finds making connections with her Black peers difficult. In the novel’s beginning, Shayla doesn’t find a significance between her race and her everyday school affairs. Throughout the novel, she questions her racial identity and its purpose. However, the story’s resolution is heartwarming, as Shayla is finally proud of herself, her background, and her eventual activism. This book is perfect for any middle schooler who feels out of place and finds themselves frightened of what the future holds. The book does talk about serious issues like bullying, police brutality, and unfair court trials. However, these topics are written carefully and educationally. All children should be able to explore their identities without the oppression of their peers and school. As such, Shayla is a powerful role model for Black adolescents.(Ages 8-12 years)