This is a complete cornucopia of short stories featuring black women and ‘gender-nonconforming’ individuals. The range of themes covered is very wide but perhaps the underlying topics veer towards magic, science fiction and fantasy. They are set in the past, present and future and the thing that connects them is that they reflect the interests and concerns of their BAME authors. We have a collection of sixteen stories written by American writers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including Elizabeth Acevedo (winner of the Carnegie Medal in 2019) and several new authors. Many of these authors bring their own history and cultural background to the stories, but others have just wanted to see themselves included in the type of stories that they enjoy.
At a time when many people are finding it difficult to concentrate on a full-length novel these stories provide an opportunity to dip in to whichever tale takes your fancy. Some people will decide to go with a favourite author; some will read from beginning to end, whilst others will just take pot luck. There are stories of hope, resilience, love and perseverance; all featuring characters that range from witches and vampires to time travellers and magicians. Although the book is aimed at the YA market there is nothing overtly offensive in any of the stories and the relationships are dealt with in a very positive way. The characters are strong and find ways to cope with the often difficult situations that they find themselves in; I have also found them to be generally sympathetic and positive. This really is a book that has turned out to be a treasure trove of exciting and often challenging stories. It is something that I will keep dipping in to and I hope it will find a place in many school libraries as well as on personal bookshelves.