Share this Book
The stories in Black Boy Joy show many different ways people find joy. Cultivate and share joy to build connections in the classroom. Get students thinking about what joy is and how they achieve it. Ask them to recall and discuss how joy was felt by characters in their favorite stories in Black Boy Joy. Talk about what joy feels like to you and ask students to share things that bring joy into their lives.
Then ask students to spend a week taking photos of or making notes about what activities, people, or things give them joy and purpose. At the end of the week, have them look at what they’ve collected, then share them with a partner, offering details that explain what’s in their photographs or list and how each is meaningful. After student partners finish sharing, have students choose one of their joyful experiences and turn it into a short narrative or small moment story that captures their connection to this moment of joy. Students can read their stories aloud before you compile them—along with their illustrations or photographs—into an anthology for your classroom library.
Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing
- Talk about why you do or don’t like short stories. What are some common themes you noticed throughout the stories, poems, and comics in this book?
- What was your favorite of this collection, or which story particularly stood out to you? What in this book caught your attention or amazed or surprised you?
- Have you read other books or stories by any of the authors whose works were in this collection? Did this collection inspire you to pick up their other works? Why or why not?
- Editor Kwame Mbalia shares that the phrase “Black Boy Joy” was “coined back in 2016 by Danielle Young and has grown to encompass the revelry, the excitement, and the sheer fun of growing up as boys in and out of the hood.” What does “joy” mean to you? Where do you find joy and how do you share it, especially when you might be sad, angry, or scared?