I’m looking for YA books with POC in them.

I tutor reading and phonics at an inner-city middle school in Denver. Most of the students are Latino, from low-income households, English Language Learners, and immigrants. Some of them are undocumented immigrants, or their parents are undocumented. Some of their parents work two or three minimum wage jobs, others have parents who are incarcerated. I tell you all of this so you will understand: The odds are stacked overwhelmingly against these students. They need all the help we can offer them, which is why I volunteer my time tutoring (my good friend is their science teacher).

Anyway, starting in a few weeks I’ll be running a Book Club for five of the best readers in the seventh grade. These are kids who already love to read, but don’t really have an adult in their lives who can foster and encourage their love of reading. The Book Club is meant to give them a place where they can talk about their love of books, and to give them access to books that are a little more challenging than what many of their classmates are reading (some of the seventh graders in their school read English at a first-grade level). We want to challenge them, and to give them a fun experience.

Ok, long-winded explanation aside, I need young-adult books with people of color in them. It would be great if I could find some books with Chicano/as or Latino/as as the main characters, but honestly I just don’t want to give them books that are as white-washed as most of the other media they are forced to consume. These kids are incredibly bright, and they recognize discrepancies in representation and privilege because they witness it every day.

They’ve already read The Hunger Games and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and enjoyed them, so that’s the reading level I’m talking about. I will be donating the books to the school, so it would be great if they were something I could easily find at used book stores, but if I have to order them all off of Amazon.com that’s ok too.

Please recommend some YA books with POC in them for my students.

And as a bonus, tell me your favorite YA novel. :)