What’s On Our Shelf This Black History Month

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books celebrating black history month

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While it’s important to learn about black history and how we can fight together against racism, all year long, I wanted to share what is currently on our bookshelf, in honor of black history month. I’ve collected a number of books, both for the kids and for myself and my husband, so that we can continue to educate ourselves and our family so that we can be better people. If you are looking for something to read, we highly recommend these books.

harriet tubman book

Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry

This award-winning introduction to the late abolitionist, which was named an ALA Notable Book and a New York Times Outstanding Book, includes additional educational back matter such as a timeline, discussion questions, and extension activities.

The Little Book of Big Lies

The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey into Inner Fitness by Tina Lifford

An inspiring and illuminating guide to true self-care, from the sage teacher and breakout star of the critically acclaimed drama, Queen Sugar, from Executive Producers Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay for OWN.

Little Legends Exceptional Men in Black History

Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison

An important book for readers of all ages, this beautifully illustrated and engagingly written volume brings to life true stories of black men in history. Among these biographies, readers will find aviators and artists, politicians and pop stars, athletes, and activists. The exceptional men featured include writer James Baldwin, artist Aaron Douglas, filmmaker Oscar Devereaux Micheaux, lawman Bass Reeves, civil rights leader John Lewis, dancer Alvin Ailey, and musician Prince.

Long Time Coming

Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson

Long Time Coming grapples with the cultural and social forces that have shaped our nation in the brutal crucible of race. In five beautifully argued chapters―each addressed to a black martyr from Breonna Taylor to Rev. Clementa Pinckney―Dyson traces the genealogy of anti-blackness from the slave ship to the street corner where Floyd lost his life―and where America gained its will to confront the ugly truth of systemic racism. Ending with a poignant plea for hope, Dyson’s exciting new book points the way to social redemption. Long Time Coming is a necessary guide to help America finally reckon with race.

Genesis Begins Again

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

There are ninety-six reasons why thirteen-year-old Genesis dislikes herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list:
-Because her family is always being put out of their house.
-Because her dad has a gambling problem. And maybe a drinking problem too.
-Because Genesis knows this is all her fault.
-Because she wasn’t born looking like Mama.
-Because she is too black.

Genesis is determined to fix her family, and she’s willing to try anything to do so…even if it means harming herself in the process. But when Genesis starts to find a thing or two she actually likes about herself, she discovers that changing her own attitude is the first step in helping change others.

White Fragility

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

sulwe

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o

From Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey

You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar

From racist donut shops to strangers putting their whole hand in her hair, from being mistaken for a prostitute to being mistaken for Harriet Tubman, Lacey is a lightning rod for hilariously ridiculous yet all-too-real anecdotes. She’s the perfect mix of polite, beautiful, petite, and Black that apparently makes people think “I can say whatever I want to this woman.” And now, Amber and Lacey share these entertainingly horrifying stories through their laugh-out-loud sisterly banter. Painfully relatable or shockingly eye-opening (depending on how often you have personally been followed by security at department stores), this book tackles modern-day racism with the perfect balance of levity and gravity.

Superheroes Are Everywhere

Superheroes Are Everywhere by Kamala Harris

In this empowering and joyful picture book that speaks directly to kids, Kamala Harris takes readers through her life and shows them that the power to make the world a better place is inside all of us. And with fun and engaging art by Mechal Renee Roe, as well as a guide to being a superhero at the end, this book is sure to have kids taking up the superhero mantle (cape and mask optional).

We are Not Yet Equal

We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

This young adult adaptation of the New York Times bestselling White Rage is essential antiracist reading for teens.

An NAACP Image Award finalist
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A NYPL Best Book for Teens

The Black Friend on Being a Better White Person

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph

The instant New York Times bestseller! Writing from the perspective of a friend, Frederick Joseph offers candid reflections on his own experiences with racism and conversations with prominent artists and activists about theirs—creating an essential read for white people who are committed anti-racists and those newly come to the cause of racial justice.

Who is Michelle Obama

Who Is Michelle Obama? (Who Was?) by Megan Stine

Born into a close-knit family in Chicago, Michelle Robinson was a star student who graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law. Then in 1992, she married another promising young lawyer, and the rest, as they say, is history. It is undeniable that President Barack Obama has changed the United States but so has Michelle Obama, the self-proclaimed “Mom in Chief.” This compelling, easy-to-read biography is illustrated by New Yorker artist John O’Brien.

March Forward, Girl

March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine by Melba Pattillo Beals

Long before she was one of the Little Rock Nine, Melba Pattillo Beals was a warrior. Frustrated by the laws that kept African-Americans separate but very much unequal to whites, she had questions. Why couldn’t she drink from a “whites only” fountain? Why couldn’t she feel safe beyond home—or even within the walls of the church? Adults all told her: Hold your tongue. Be patient. Know your place. But Beals had the heart of a fighter—and the knowledge that her true place was a free one.

Blended

Blended by Sharon M. Draper

Eleven-year-old Isabella’s blended family is more divided than ever in this “timely but genuine” (Publishers Weekly) story about divorce and racial identity from the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper.

Who Was Maya Angelou

Who Was Maya Angelou? by Ellen Labrecque

Born in Missouri in 1928, Maya Angelou had a difficult childhood. Jim Crow laws segregated blacks and whites in the South. Her family life was unstable at times. But much like her poem, “Still I Rise,” Angelou was able to lift herself out of her situation and flourish. She moved to California and became the first black—and first female—streetcar operator before following her interest in dance. She became a professional performer in her twenties and toured the U.S. and Europe as an opera star and calypso dancer. But Angelou’s writing became her defining talent. Her poems and books, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, brought her international acclaim.

Change Sings by Amanda Gorman

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman [PRE-ORDER]

In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves. 

With lyrical text and rhythmic illustrations that build to a dazzling crescendo by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long, Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference.

Have you read any of these books yet? Are there any that we haven’t listed that you would recommend? Tell us below!

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It's Black History Month and we are sharing what books are on our family's shelves.
It's Black History Month and we are sharing what books are on our family's shelves.

** This post includes affiliate links, which means if you click on them and make a purchase, our family will make a small commission, at no additional cost to you. As always, our family appreciates your support!

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I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

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  1. There is a lot of incredibly history out there for BHM. It is something we all need to really dive in to.

  2. I like LUPITA NYONG’O! She is an amazing and talented actress. I didn’t she wrote a book. I must grab it asap from Amazon.

  3. That is a really nice selection of books related to black history month. That was a great post.

  4. Nnniiiccceeeee Heather! I so much would love to read, “We Are Not Yet Equal”. Sounds great!!!

  5. These are all awesome choices for black history month. I haven’t read any of these and would love to check them out.

  6. I love your reading list on your bookshelf this month and can not wait to check some of these incredible books.

  7. I love The “Who is”, or “What was” books we read them religiously. Great selection for this month!!

  8. Amazing list. I can’t wait to dive into this list. Books are a great way to expand our worldview and learn, and I can’t wait to do so with this list!

  9. Love all of these recommendations. As a mixed family ourselves I love teaching our girls about he importance of differences. Would love to read them Sulwe!

  10. There are some really good book choices here – the one about who is Michelle Obama will make for good reading x

  11. I am always looking for new books to read. My daughter loves to read as well so these would be great for both of us. Thanks for the suggestions.

  12. Love seeing that you have so many great books here for people of all ages. Black History Month is a great place to start to learn, honor, and celebrate!

  13. You’ve got some great books here. I recommend Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as well.. not explicitly about race and a great, engaging read.

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  14. These are all fantastic picks. There are so many important Black figures in history that are rarely mentioned.

  15. I want to read “THE LITTLE BOOK OF BIG LIES: A JOURNEY INTO INNER FITNESS BY TINA LIFFORD.” Seems like a great read! Can’t wait to purchase the book.

  16. These books are so interesting. I’ve read a few books about colorism before. I might read most these new books now.

  17. This is a wonderful list of books. I see a few that I would love to read too. Our library just got a bunch of black history books too, so it’s been nice.

  18. A great list of books for an amazing and worthwhile topic. I hadn’t heard of quite a few of these and am thrilled to add them to our shelf as well.

  19. You have a wonderful list here. I might have to get some of these. We always love to learn more about extraordinary people.

  20. These are all fantastic picks. I’ve always tried to make sure I teach my kids about figures in Black history. Our school didn’t teach us much Black figures in history when I was in school.

  21. I’d like to read Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams. Great books to explore with kids!

  22. These are great books. I think it’s so important to have books like this on hand for Black history month. When I was a kid, I didn’t know anything about it.

  23. These all seem like great books to read but I would start with Maya Angelou, Robin Diangelo and of course Harriet Tubman. I do not read enough but this list is so worthwhile.

  24. These are a great selection of books about black history. I admire Michelle Obama and books about her like ‘who is Michelle Obama” will definitely be added to my reading list.

  25. You’ve got such a great selection here. I try to get books to educate myself too and hopefully my son as well