The work to create a diverse and inclusive community is ongoing. It doesn't happen in a day, a week, a month, or even a year. It's forever-work that we're committed to while we continue to learn and listen. February is Black History Month and we're taking time to recognize and celebrate the history, accomplishments, and contributions made by Black Americans. We'll be sharing facts, events, and amplifying the Black community. Black history is American history that should be celebrated all the time, so we hope that you can take what we share this month further by exploring more ways to highlight Black history and culture.
Literature can take us to unexpected places and let us explore other worlds. This recommended shortlist of books for Black History Month offers a chance to see from other perspectives, to learn about the challenges that Black Americans have faced and continue to face, and to dive into a culture that may either be a reflection of our own life or be completely foreign.
We hope that you will find a book on this list that will help you better discover yourself and connect with others!
Between the World and Me
"A brilliant thinker at the top of his powers, Coates has distilled four hundred years of history and his own anguish and wisdom into a prayer for his beloved son and an invocation to the conscience of his country. Between the World and Me is an instant classic and a gift to us all." -- Isabel Wilkerson, Author The Warmth of Other Suns
How to be an Antiracist
Ibram X. Kendi
“Kendi has gifted us with a book that is not only an essential instruction manual but also a memoir of the author’s own path from anti-black racism to anti-white racism and, finally, to antiracism. . . . How to Be an Antiracist gives us a clear and compelling way to approach, as Kendi puts it in his introduction, ‘the basic struggle we’re all in, the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human.” -- NPR
The New Jim Crow
“Alexander put the entire criminal justice system on trial, exposing racial discrimination from lawmaking to policing to the denial of voting rights to ex-prisoners. This bestseller struck the spark that would eventually light the fire of Black Lives Matter.” -- Ibram X. Kendi, The New York Times
“Compelling . . . Morrison shakes that brilliant kaleidoscope of hers again, and the story of pain, endurance, poetry, and power she is born to tell comes right out.” -- The Village Voice
Salvage the Bones
“Salvage the Bones is an intense book, with powerful, direct prose that dips into poetic metaphor . . . the story is told with such immediacy and openness . . . That close-knit familial relationship is vivid and compelling, drawn with complexities and detail.” -- Los Angeles Times
The Underground Railroad
“I haven’t been as simultaneously moved and entertained by a book for many years. This is a luminous, furious, wildly inventive tale that not only shines a bright light on one of the darkest periods of history but also opens up thrilling new vistas for the form of the novel itself.” -- Alex Preston, The Guardian
Brown Girl Dreaming
“This is a book full of poems that cry out to be learned by heart. These are poems that will, for years to come, be stored in our bloodstream.” -- The New York Times Book Review
One Crazy Summer
“Emotionally challenging and beautifully written, this book immerses readers in a time and place and raises difficult questions of cultural and ethnic identity and personal responsibility. With memorable characters (all three girls have engaging, strong voices) and a powerful story, this is a book well worth reading and rereading.” -- School Library Journal
"A welcome celebration of Black girls, an important lesson for all kids (and grownups), and a necessary message for any child who has been made to feel unworthy of love on account of their looks." -- Booklist