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Black Books Matter

Black Books Matter

February is Black History Month and a great opportunity to highlight books by black authors and featuring black characters. We've highlighted a few adult, teen, and children books below, and we invite you to look at our Recommended Reads page to see more book suggestions from the Book Chat team. Be sure to look through and filter using the Popular Book Lists tag.

ADULT BOOKS

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy

 

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, by Alyssa Cole

While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she's determined to rediscover her joy--so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.

 

 

All the Things I Should Have Known

 

All the Things I Should Have Known, by Tiffany L. Warren

They seem to have it all, so why can't Hahna, Twila, and Kimberly have men strictly for friendship, companionship - and especially mind-blowing sex? Their solution: be sugar mamas to gorgeous young studs. But the ladies soon find that real lust and no strings is way more complicated than they thought...

 

 

Begin Again

 

Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, by Eddie S. Glaude, JR.

We live, according to Eddie S. Glaude Jr., in a moment of struggles. We have been here before: For James Baldwin, these after times came in the wake of the civil rights movement, when a similar attempt to compel a national confrontation with the truth was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. In these years, spanning from the publication of The Fire Next Time in 1963 to that of No Name in the Street in 1972, Baldwin transformed into a more overtly political writer, a change that came at great professional and personal cost. But from that journey, Baldwin emerged with a sense of renewed purpose about the necessity of pushing forward in the face of disillusionment and despair.  

Mixing biography--drawn partially from newly uncovered interviews--with history, memoir, and trenchant analysis of our current moment, Begin Again is Glaude's endeavor, following Baldwin, to bear witness to the difficult truth of race in America today. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to call forth a new America.

 

 

TEEN BOOKS

Punching the Air

 

Punching the Air, by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, because of a biased system he's seen as disruptive and unmotivated. Then, one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. "Boys just being boys" turns out to be true only when those boys are white. 

Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal is convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it? 

With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth in a system designed to strip him of both.

 

 

Claire Kann

 

If It Makes You Happy, by Claire Kann

Winnie is living her best fat girl life and is on her way to the best place on earth. No, not Disneyland--her Granny's diner, Goldeen's, in the small town of Misty Haven. While there, she works in her fabulous 50's inspired uniform, twirling around the diner floor and earning an obscene amount of tips. With her family and ungirlfriend at her side, she has everything she needs for one last perfect summer before starting college in the fall.... until she becomes Misty Haven's Summer Queen in a highly anticipated matchmaking tradition that she wants absolutely nothing to do with.

Newly crowned, Winnie is forced to take center stage in photoshoots and a never-ending list of community royal engagements. Almost immediately, she discovers that she's deathly afraid of it all: the spotlight, the obligations, and the way her Merry Haven Summer King, wears his heart, humor, and honesty on his sleeve. Stripped of Goldeen's protective bubble, to salvage her summer Winnie must conquer her fears, defy expectations, and be the best Winnie she knows she can be--regardless of what anyone else thinks of her

 

 

The Black Kids

 

The Black Kids, by Christina Hammonds Reed

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It's the end of senior year and they're spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer - but everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley's not just one of the girls. She's one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson. With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

 

 

CHILDREN'S BOOKS

My Hair is Beautiful

 

My Hair is Beautiful, by Shauntay Grant

Natural, knotty, fluffy, frizzy, twisted, tangled, pony, puffed!

A celebration of natural hair, from afros to cornrows and everything in between, My Hair is Beautiful is a joyful board book with a powerful message of self-love.

Governor General's Award-nominated author Shauntay Grant brings her unique spoken-word style to this fun read-aloud, featuring minimalist text and vibrant photos of toddlers sporting fresh dos, and a mirror to reflect your own baby's beauty.

 

 

For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World

 

For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World, by Michael W. Waters

"Dad, what happened?"
"Why are they shooting?"
"What is this vigil for?"

The shootings keep coming, and so do Jeremiah's questions. Dad doesn't have easy answers, but that doesn't mean he won't talk about it--or that he won't act. But what if Jeremiah doesn't want to talk anymore? None of it makes sense, and he's just a kid. Even if he wants to believe in a better world, is there anything he can do about it?

Inspired by real-life events, this honest, intimate look at one family's response to racism and gun violence includes a discussion guide created by the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, a multicultural center and museum committed to promoting respect, hope, and understanding.

 

 

Nora's Scribbles Save the Day

 

Nola’s Scribbles Save the Day, by Cristina Lalli

Nola loves her scribbles. They go with her wherever she goes. But she can't seem to share her scribbles with others--no one seems to understand the imaginative world she's created for herself. Frustrated and uninspired, Nola draws a blank. A big, boring blank. But when Nola falls deep into a creative slump, she discovers she's not alone. If she can find the courage to share her scribbled ideas again, she may just inspire others to think outside the box and give their ideas a try too. With playful illustrations, this imaginative tale shows readers of all ages the power in persevering to create and embrace unique expression.

Published on January 29, 2021
Last Modified March 06, 2021