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Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.

Karen Strong’s story, “The Witch’s Skin,” focuses on Nalah Everlasting, a grieving girl who must find a way to destroy the Boo Hag terrorizing her island home.


Kirkus Reviews Best Book
YALSA Best Fiction Book
New York Public Library Best Book
Ignyte Award for Best Anthology
Locus Award Finalist  


“Magical and real, this collection lives up to its goal with stories as diverse as the black experience. #BlackGirlMagic indeed.” – Kirkus Starred Review

“Readers will appreciate the wide representation of the African diaspora…Luminous reading.” – Booklist Starred Review

“This is an outstanding collection, with an evenness to its stories, unique characters, and a wide range of tales.” – School Library Connection Starred Review


“Fiercely fantastical and achingly honest, this book delivers a more inclusive means of self-discovery.”– Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review

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