Book List

12 Great Reads for Black History Month and Beyond!

February 28, 2017
Jess Harold
Riveted Editorial Board

Happy Black History Month! While it’s the shortest month of year, I still make it a point to celebrate and learn something new about my culture and heritage. Today’s Fact: Despite avid participation in the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and her persistence in the fight for the right to vote, Ida B. Wells was not allowed to join the suffrage parade of 1913 organized by Alice Paul’s Congressional Union. She and the other black women who had worked tirelessly for universal suffrage were asked to march in a segregated unit, but Wells refused, joining her state’s delegation after the start of the parade. (#shepersisted) While the 19th Amendment granted the right to vote for all women, many women of color, especially in the South, were not enfranchised until the 1960s.

The Black community has such a vital role in shaping the United States, but it’s crucial to celebrate our history, as well as our present and future, even if it’s not February. So here’s a list of some of some Must-Reads for Black History Month, and onward! Enjoy!

All American Boysby Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

In an unforgettable new novel from award-winning authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

Boy in the Black Suitby Jason Reynolds

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey.

Eliza’s Freedom Roadby Jerdine Nolen

It is 1852 in Alexandria, Virginia. An orphaned slave, twelve-year-old Eliza has only the quilt her mother left her and the memory of the stories she told. Stories become Eliza’s lifeline to freedom after she takes to the night upon learning she will soon be traded. “Go East. Your back to the set of the sun until you come to the safe house where the candlelight lights the window.” With the words of Old Joe, the farmhand, in her ears, Eliza travels by night and sleeps by day, keeping her diary along the way.

Calico Girlby Jerdine Nolen

From the award-winning author of Eliza’s Freedom Road comes the powerful tale of a slave girl’s triumphant journey to freedom with her family during the Civil War.

Into Whiteby Randi Pink

LaToya Williams lives in Montgomery, Alabama, and attends a mostly white high school. It seems as if her only friend is her older brother, Alex. Toya doesn’t know where she fits in, but after a run-in with another student, she wonders if life would be different if she were . . . different. And then a higher power answers her prayer: to be “anything but black.”

Randi Pink’s audacious fiction debut dares to explore a subject that will spark conversations about race, class, and gender.

Monsterby Walter Dean Myers

This New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award nominee from acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers tells the story of Steve Harmon, a teenage boy in juvenile detention and on trial. Presented as a screenplay of Steve’s own imagination, and peppered with journal entries, the book shows how one single decision can change our whole lives.

The Hate U Giveby Angie Thomas

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

We Should All Be Feministsby Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

The highly acclaimed, provocative New York Times bestseller—a personal, eloquently-argued essay, adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah. Here she offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness.

The Truth of Right Nowby Kara Lee Corthron

Two isolated teens struggle against their complicated lives to find a true connection in this heartwrenching debut novel about first love and the wreckage of growing up.

Bronx Masqueradeby Nikki Grimes

When Wesley Boone writes a poem for his high school English class, some of his classmates clamor to read their poems aloud too. Soon they’re having weekly poetry sessions and, one by one, the eighteen students are opening up and taking on the risky challenge of self-revelation. There’s Lupe Alvarin, desperate to have a baby so she will feel loved. Raynard Patterson, hiding a secret behind his silence. Porscha Johnson, needing an outlet for her anger after her mother OD’s. Through the poetry they share and narratives in which they reveal their most intimate thoughts about themselves and one another, their words and lives show what lies beneath the skin, behind the eyes, beyond the masquerade.

The Sun is Also a Starby Nicole Yoon

The dazzling new novel from Nicola Yoon, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything, will have you falling in love with Natasha and Daniel as they fall in love with each other!

Bintiby Nnedi Okorafor

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

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