Books to Read During Black History Month and Beyond

  • 02/08/2024
  • 18:13
  • maureen

Black History Month and Beyond - graphic with images of book jackets

February is Black History Month, and Seymour Library staff has a list of books that celebrate black voices & stories. This selection of books covers a span of genres and ages, from award-winning children’s books to debut authors and new releases. Be sure to add these books to your must-read list!

2024 Coretta Scott King Author Award (for outstanding writing by an African American author)

Nigeria Jones, written by Ibi Zoboi

Genre: Realistic fiction

Ages: 13 and up

Description: When her mother disappears, Nigeria Jones, the daughter of the leader of a Black liberation group, searches for her, uncovering a shocking truth that leads her to question everything she thought she knew about her life and her family.

2024 Coretta Scott King Author Honors:

  • Bigwritten and illustrated by Vashti Harrison
  • Kin: Rooted in Hope, by Carole Boston Weatherford illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford
  • How Do You Spell Unfair?: MacNolia Cox and the National Spelling Bee, by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Frank Morrison

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award (for outstanding illustrations by an African American artist)

An American Story, illustrated by Dare Coulter and written by Kwame Alexander.

Genre: Picture books for children; History books; Poetry

Ages: 4 – 8 years

Description: A picture book in verse that threads together past and present to explore the legacy of slavery during a classroom lesson.

2024 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honors: 

  • Bigwritten and illustrated by Vashti Harrison
  • Holding Her Own: The Exceptional Life of Jackie Ormes, illustrated by Shannon Wright, written by Traci N. Todd
  • There Was a Party for Langston, illustrated by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarret Pumphrey, written by Jason Reynolds

Finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction

Chain Gang All-stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Genre: African American fiction; Literary fiction; Dystopian fiction

Ages: Adult

Description: The star of a popular, but controversial for-profit program in the private prison industry that basically turns prisoners into gladiators contemplates freedom, in the new novel from the New York Times best-selling author of Friday Black.

Maame by Jessica George

Genre: Relationship fiction

Ages: Adult

Description: A young British Ghanaian woman navigates her 20s and finds her place in the world.

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

Genre: Historical fiction; African American fiction

Ages: Adult

Description: When a skeleton is unearthed in the small, close-knit community of Chicken Hill, Pennsylvania, in 1972, an unforgettable cast of characters, living on the margins of white, Christian America closely guard a secret, especially when the truth is revealed about what happened and the part the town’s white establishment played in it.

Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead

Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead

Genre: Historical fiction; Crime fiction; Literary fiction; African American fiction

Ages: Adult

Description: A furniture store owner and ex-grifter leaves the straight and narrow path when he needs Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter in 1971 Manhattan in the new novel by the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Nickel Boys.

Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: Magical realism; Literary fiction; First person narratives

Ages: Adult

Description: Flor has a gift: she can predict, to the day, when someone will die. So when she decides she wants a living wake—a party to bring her family and community together to celebrate the long life she’s led—her sisters are surprised. Has Flor foreseen her own death, or someone else’s? Does she have other motives? She refuses to tell her sisters, Matilde, Pastora, and Camila. But Flor isn’t the only person with secrets: her sisters are hiding things, too. And the next generation, cousins Ona and Yadi, face tumult of their own.