Today we’re so excited to reveal the Cover for our upcoming young adult novel, Black Was the Ink by Michelle Coles with illustrations by Justin Johnson, coming September 2021!
In Black Was the Ink, sixteen-year-old Malcolm is sent on a journey through Reconstruction-era America with the help of a ghostly ancestor. At the same time, he must work to save his family’s farm in present-day Mississippi from being claimed by the State.
Malcolm Williams hasn’t been okay for a while. He’s angry and despondent and feels like nothing good ever happens for teens like him in D.C. All he wants is to be left alone in his room for the summer to draw or play video games–but no such luck. With growing violence in his neighborhood, his mother ships him off to his father’s family farm in Mississippi, and Malcolm is anything but pleased.
A few days after his arrival, his great-aunt tells him that the State is acquiring the farm to widen a highway. It’s not news Malcolm is concerned about, but someone plans to make it his concern. One minute Malcolm is drawing in the farmhouse attic, and the next he’s looking through the eyes of his ancestor Cedric Johnson in 1866.
As Cedric, Malcolm meets the real-life Black statesmen who fought for change during the Reconstruction era: Hiram Revels, Robert Smalls, and other leaders who made American history. But even after witnessing their bravery, Malcolm’s faith in his own future remains shaky, particularly since he knows that the gains these statesmen made were almost immediately stripped away. If those great men couldn’t completely succeed, why should he try?
Malcolm must decide which path to take. Can Cedric’s experiences help him construct a better future? Or will he resign himself to resentments and defeat?
Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Nic Stone, and featuring illustrations by upcoming artist, Justin Johnson, Black Was the Ink is a powerful coming-of-age story and an eye-opening exploration of an era that defined modern America.
Without further ado, here is the cover:
The cover art is by illustrator Justin Johnson and the cover design is by Sheila Smallwood.
Black Was the Ink is a gripping, thoughtful read for ages 13 and up and will be out in September 2021.
Pre-order Black Was the Ink here, or directly through your favorite Black-owned bookshop:
Barnes and Noble
Tell us what you think of the cover in the comments below!