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Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” If you’re no longer in school, one of the best ways you can continue to lead of life of learning is to read, read, and read some more. All this month, we’ve been celebrating Black History by sharing people, places, and things we love that are black, blackety, black, but before the month is over, we had to take a moment to highlight some of our favorite books. Whether it’s February or the middle of August, these black history books are perfect for your library all year ‘round.
THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM
photo via Good Reads
The Watsons Go to Birmingham is a classic favorite. Published in 1995, this novel follows the story of the Watson family. A loving African-American family, they take a trip to Birmingham where one of their young sons begins acting up. Hoping that his grandmother will straighten him out, they plan to let him stay the summer. While the family is in Alabama, they are exposed to a church bombing, inspired by the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963. The rest of the novel follows the aftermath and how the family deals with the experience.
THE HATE U GIVE
photo via The Atlantic
One of the more recent novels on our list, The Hate U Give was released in February 2017 by Angie Thomas. The story follows a young teen, Starr Carter that is caught between two worlds, her poor neighborhood and her elite prep school. While the balance is seemingly easy at first, it all comes to a head when Starr witnesses a white cop gun down her unarmed friend. The only witness to the scene, Starr decides to be brave and speak up for the injustice done to her friend. This novel is also said to be in the works of becoming a film with actors like Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, and Russell Hornsby lined up to star. This is one picture we can’t wait to see!
photo via Penguin Books
In 2017, author Toni Morrison published an anthology of her stories as well as those of other authors. Within Race: Vintage Minis, she shares excerpts of three of her power novels, Beloved, The Bluest Eye, and Song of Solomon. Beloved follows the story of a mother who chooses to kill her young daughter rather than let her enter the world of slavery. The Bluest Eye tells the story of a young black girl who dreams for blue eyes. Song of Solomon is the coming-of-age story of a young black male. A fantastic collection from an ensemble of writers, Race: Vintage Minis helps capture multiple stories in a quick read.
Whether your library needs tons of new books or just a few, these three novels are a great start to celebrating black history every month. Morgan Freeman said, “Black history is American history,” so why shouldn’t we celebrate it every day? In addition to these favorites, you could also go with classics like: The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
Black history is everywhere and there’s no reason it shouldn’t fill your homes! These are three novels that will always have a place in our libraries. In the comments, let us know some of the black history books you’re delving into!