Celebrating Black History Month with Books

Black History Month. African American History. Celebrated annual. In February in United States and Canada.

While I’m a strong believer in reading authors of multiple ethnic/religious/lifestyle backgrounds at any time, Black History Month is a great motivator to discover and read authors of African descent. Here are some recommendations from our Reference Librarians for great books

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds.  As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn’s fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.

My Sister is a Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams. When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati. 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.  Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonial, and will live in comfort. Her sister will be imprisoned and sent to America where she will be sold into slavery. Their lives and the lives of their descendants create a snapshot of the complicated history of our nation.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.

Also, be sure to check out the displays at Main and Fairmount that highlight romances with African American characters and authors.


And, don’t forget to sign up for the Black History Month Reading Challenge on Beanstack! Running February 1 through March 4, you’ll learn more about Black history, celebrate Black authors and illustrators, and explore events in your community honoring the Black experience. Log your reading and activities throughout the month to earn badges and chances for prizes. Download the Beanstack app for free from your app store.