Young Prince T'Challa Continues His Adventures in 'Black Panther: Uprising'
Read an excerpt of the latest installment in Ronald L. Smith's 'Young Prince' series!
Young Prince T'Challa is back in Wakanda, but he misses the summer he spent in Alabama. Still, there's little time to spend daydreaming—he's training hard, volunteering at the prestigious Academy for Young Leaders, and doing everything he can to be a role model for young Wakandans. Still, it would be nice to eat what he wants for a change.
Hitting bookstands on September 6, Black Panther: Uprising is the latest highly anticipated third book in the hit Young Prince series from Ronald L. Smith, recipient of the 2016 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award. Previous books in the series include Black Panther: The Young Prince and its sequel Black Panther: Spellbound.
When T’Challa gets special permission to have his friends from America, Sheila and Zeke, come to Wakanda, he can’t wait to show them his home for a change. But their tour is brought to a halt when one of T’Challa’s peers, Tafari, summons dark forces in order to return Wakanda to the “old ways” before Vibranium was discovered. Tafari manages to banish the King and Queen along with all the tribal elders to an alternate dimension in exchange for the Originator’s release, leaving Wakanda vulnerable and unprotected.
Can T’Challa and his friends stop Tafari before the leaders of Wakanda are trapped forever?
Read an excerpt from the highly-anticipated adventure, Black Panther: Uprising, now!
T’Challa couldn’t stop thinking about barbecue.
Not just any old barbecue, but a stuffed sandwich dripping with tangy sauce and a glass of sweet tea to wash it all down. A hot bowl of Southern mac and cheese would be nice, too. Maybe even a corn dog.
Instead, he stared at the plate of food in front of him: leafy green vegetables, freshly peeled plantains, a bowl of kola nuts, and a few slices of flatbread. He wasn’t too impressed.
Last year, he had spent the summer in Alabama with his friends Zeke and Sheila, and had eaten so much Southern food he was now craving it.
His trainer, Themba, had been putting him through his paces for a week straight. T’Challa felt like he’d never worked out so hard before in his life: five miles every morning followed by core work and a cool-down period using Kemetic yoga, which was all about centering yourself through breathing exercises. This was a reward of sorts, after such a hard session, and T’Challa always came away from his workouts refreshed and calm.
He tried some of the plantains, chewing thoughtfully and savoring the taste, when he was interrupted by a knock at his door. T’Challa paused.
Who could that be?
No one came near the Prince of Wakanda’s residence without close inspection. Whoever was on the other side had already been vetted by his guards, that was certain. T’Challa opened the door and was met with a smiling face.
“M’Baku. What are you doing here?”
“Huh?” M’Baku asked, practically bowling T’Challa over on the way in. “Do I need a special invitation to see the prince?”
T’Challa closed the door and shook his head.
He and M’Baku were the best of friends, and had been since they were little kids. But their friendship wasn’t always sunshine and roses. It was put to the test a while back, when the two boys visited America for the first time. M’Baku had fallen under the sway of a charismatic student named Gemini Jones and his gang, the Skulls. T’Challa soon found out that they were more than just a street gang. They were a secret society, operating out of their school and trying to summon dark magic. What followed was a nightmarish adventure that ended in a deadly confrontation with a supernatural entity. It took T’Challa a while to forgive M’Baku for his part in all of it, but they soon became friends again, and had left their previous dustup in the past. Still, M’Baku had a way of testing T’Challa’s nerves. Like now, for example.
M’Baku walked around at his own pace, picking up items and putting them back down. He was a big teenager, and his size seemed to take up all of the air in the room.
“Looking for something?” T’Challa asked.
M’Baku inspected the underside of a small panther figurine. “No, not really. Never know what kind of royal stuff you have hidden away. Any new tech to try out?”
T’Challa sat back down while M’Baku thumbed through several books. “Nope. I left my invisibility suit in the science lab.”
M’Baku’s mouth fell open. “In . . . visibility?”
“Gotcha!” T’Challa exclaimed, and burst out laughing.
M’Baku frowned. “Knew that sounded too good to be true.”
“Serves you right,” T’Challa teased him, “for being so nosy.”
M’Baku finally flopped onto one of the chairs and released a heavy sigh, although he still eyed the room as if T’Challa were hiding treasures. It was an unassuming place for a prince, but if one were to look more closely, a marvelous blend of nature and technology would be revealed. The floor was woven bamboo reeds covered by soft fabrics. Vivid watercolors depicted scenes of the Wakandan landscape. A flat-panel monitor—where T’Challa watched American movies when he got the chance—took up most of one wall. Earthy brown wood carved into intricate shapes made up the furniture. The beauty and craftsmanship of Wakanda was reflected in every object—from simple knives and forks to the straw baskets that held fresh fruit.
“So, what are you up to today?” M’Baku asked.
“I have to spend a little time at the Academy,” T’Challa replied. “Father says I’m a good role model for the students, so he wants me to make an appearance at least three times a week.”
M’Baku scoffed. “I’m sure they’d rather be racing around on hover bikes than listening to you drone on about being a prince.”
T’Challa shot his friend a sardonic grin. He was used to M’Baku’s barbs, and wasn’t offended in the slightest. “Well, it’s important for them to learn about Wakanda and its history, too, right?”
The students at the Academy for Young Leaders, more commonly known as the AYL, were the best and brightest Wakanda had to offer. In a few years, they would be applying for roles in the government as assistants, hoping to one day land a prime job in the Wakandan cabinet. T’Challa was glad to be a mentor to them.
“Well,” M’Baku said, “the Festival of the Ancestors is coming up in a few days. That should give you a break. All of Wakanda’s gonna be partying!”
T’Challa bit his lip. He had almost forgotten about the Wakandan holiday, which made him feel a little guilty. It was a day of celebration and remembrance, a tribute to Wakanda’s noble ancestors, ending in a ceremonial display honoring Bashenga, the first Black Panther.
All of Wakanda was awaiting the day.
But not all for the same reasons.
Black Panther: Uprising hits shelves, everywhere books are sold, on September 6, 2022!
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