If You Knew My Name

0 out of 5

His mother is a BLM activist. Mason Tyndall is an aspiring rap artist. She sees fatal officer-involved shootings as senseless tragedies. He views them as trending hashtags — that is, until he almost becomes one.

Mason Zy’Aire Tyndall has big dreams. Dreams of sick beats, epic mic-drops, sold out stadiums. Mason’s going to be a rap star—and you don’t become a rap star by hitting up BLM protests with your mom or sitting at a desk. Mason wants to get out there and make a name for himself, but he’ll have to graduate high school first. And he can’t do that if he fails his senior year.

Convinced his poetry class is a waste of time, Mason’s teacher helps him see just how valuable a couplet and a rhyme can be. But when an unarmed Black man is killed by the police in his city, tensions start to rise—among the cops, the community, and even Mason’s peers.

Caught in the middle of increasingly violent conflicts, Mason will have to find a way to use his voice for change…and fast.


Growing up in the rural South during desegregation, Lisa Roberts Carter is no stranger to racism — she recalls her mother and older sister having “the talk” with her on her very first day of school. Among the many reminders that racism was deeply embedded within her Southern culture, she experienced the residual effects of the Jim Crow South throughout her life. So, a frustrated Lisa decided to pen those thoughts, feelings, and experiences by writing historical and contemporary fiction that address racism and racial inequality. Lisa is a certified life and career coach and inspirational speaker with a Doctorate of Education and If You Knew My Name is her debut novel.

“The novel is beautifully written in verse, including raps with strong rhythms and tight, cohesive rhymes. An additional demonstration of Carter’s expertise is that the poems written and presented by the students are in different forms, each distinctly unique to the student. This is a brilliantly accessible and widely appealing novel.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Carter’s debut teems with vulnerability and shows a deep reverence for hip-hop . . . diverse supporting characters provide healthy tension.” — Kirkus Reviews