Black Was the Ink

(Author) (Illustrator)
Product Details
$21.95  $20.41
Tu Books
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.3 X 1.2 inches | 1.27 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author

Michelle Coles is an accomplished civil rights attorney and a proud alumna of the University of Virginia and Howard University School of Law. As a ninth-generation Louisianan, she is highly attuned to the struggles African Americans have faced in overcoming the legacy of slavery and the periods of government-sanctioned discrimination that followed. She hopes that by revealing oft-hidden Black history, her debut novel will empower young people with tools to shape their destiny. Find her on the web at

Justin Johnson credits his mother and grandmother, both teachers, with inspiring his love of picture books and storytelling. He studied children's book illustration as well as animation at the Rhode Island School of Design, and now works as an illustrator, GIF animator, and aspiring art teacher. Justin lives in Washington, D.C. Find him on the web at or on Instagram as


"A tool for young people to learn about the contributions made by Blacks from the reconstruction era through modern times. I believe it will help the young probe and question many aspects of history that have gone unnoticed. Your story represents a journey of discovery, courage, and legacy." -- Marc H. Morial, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban League

"A clear-eyed novel of youthful challenges and precariousness buoyed by ancestral spirits and a history fraught with struggle and purpose." -- Tony Medina, author of I Am Alfonso Jones

* "Coles' stunning debut celebrates forgotten heroes and better futures. . . Sensitively explores what it means to care about something, fight for something, and effect lasting change. Teens will immediately connect with Malcom's journey and readily identify the real-life issues involving systematic oppression, social justice, and racism that Coles poignantly examines. A powerful story." -- Booklist, starred review

"This engaging and timely novel, showcasing atrocities and highlighting joyous moments, will likewise transport its readers. Meticulous details and a leisurely pace lead to a realistic but uplifting conclusion. Malcolm's anger over the plight of Black Americans will resonate with many readers and open the minds of others. A dynamic look at how the past informs the future." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Eye-opening, and the audience will likely share Malcolm's outrage that this chapter in Black American history rarely makes it into the curriculum intact. . . Readers will appreciate Malcolm's growth as an activist and artist." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Grateful American Book Prize Winner 2022 - Grateful American Foundation
Recommended YA Fiction List 2023 - In the Margins Book Awards
Skipping Stones Book Awards Honor 2022 - Skipping Stones Magazine