February is none other than Black History Month! It’s a month of celebrating the achievements of black people, having their stories recognized and told. Some of you may ask: What is one thing I can do to show my support? Reading! Encouraging and supporting black authors will promote cultural differences and ensure that everyone’s voice, experience, and stories are given the chance to be heard and loved. So, without further ado, here is a list of five books you can read this Black History month to show your support for diversity in reading and writing.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give is eliciting so much buzz in the book world that it is a sure must read. The book is inspired by the Black Lives Matter campaign and it followed sixteen-year-old Starr who witnesses the shooting of her unarmed best friend Khalil by a police officer. Now Starr has to make a choice: stay silent and live with the guilt, or speak up about what she saw, put herself in danger, and potentially destroy her community in the process. This book focuses on one girl’s struggle for justice. It’s an important and heart-wrenching read that will make you want to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. A perfect book to dive into for Black History Month.
Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
Be ready to be destroyed by this book on February 14th. It features a girl named Jade who is trying to prove that she is much more than what people are trying to label her as. Living in the neighbourhood she’s in, Jade believes she has to leave if she’s ever going to succeed. So when an opportunity comes her way by means of a scholarship to a white private school, she takes it. But while she’s there she is “encouraged” to attend a mentorship program called Women to Women that deals with at-risk black girls from bad neighbourhoods. This book deals with friendship, race, privilege, and identity. It explores the mind of a young black girl trying to make a difference and break the societal barrier for herself and others like her.
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Allegedly is Tiffany’s debut novel and it’s a hit! Mary B. Addison killed a baby when she was nine years old. Allegedly. The story follows a black girl who is accused of killing a white baby while she is under her care. She talked to the detectives, she went to jail for it, and now Mary is ready to have her own baby and the state is threatening to take it away. Setting the record straight wasn’t as important as it is now. This book is described as haunting, gritty, and disturbing. It’ll leave you speechless and inspire you to take on the injustices of the world this month.
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Fabiola was ready to leave her Port-au-Prince Haitian life behind and find a new one in America, but after they leave her mother is taken by U.S Immigration. Forced to navigate her strange new American surroundings including her loud cousins and a new school, Fabiola feels out of sorts at first but starts to adapt. Soon after, a dangerous proposal presents itself and she comes to realize that freedom always comes at a cost. Not only is this a great read for Black History Month, but with everything happening in America the topic of immigration is prevalent and important! Pick it up on shelves on February 14th.
Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
Even middle grade books are showing their support for diversity. Midnight Without a Moon is based in the mid-1950’s and it tells a story about a thirteen-year-old girl Rose Lee Carter and her dream to escape the cotton fields in Mississippi to live a better life. It follows her life and how her world is turned upside down when a black boy she knows is killed for supposedly whistling at a white woman. It’s a perfect middle-grade historical fiction to read this month and to give to younger readers. It’s a powerful story that promotes black history and heritage in a child-like narrative.