For those looking for something to read in honor of Black History Month, here are some award-winning titles in our collection:
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
From World War I to the 1970s, some six million black Americans fled the American South for an uncertain existence in the urban North and West. Their leaving became known as the Great Migration. It set in motion the civil rights movement and created our cities and art forms. This is the story of three who made the journey, of the forces that compelled them to leave and of the many others who went as far as they could to realize the American Dream.
The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
In 1968 Chicago, it’s not easy for thirteen-year-old Sam to be the son of known civil rights activist Roland Childs. Especially when his older brother, Stick, starts keeping to himself. Then, one day, Sam finds something under Stick’s bed that changes everything: literature about the Black Panthers. Suddenly, nothing feels certain anymore. And when Dr. King is shot and killed, Sam’s father’s words are no longer enough to make him believe in change….
Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon
Whether she’s telling the truth or stretching it, Zora Neale Hurston is a riveting storyteller. Her latest creation is a shape-shifting gator man who lurks in the marshes, waiting to steal human souls. But when boastful Sonny Wrapped loses a wrestling match with an elusive alligator named Ghost — and a man is found murdered by the railroad tracks soon after — young Zora’s tales of a mythical evil creature take on an ominous and far more complicated complexion, jeopardizing the peace and security of an entire town and forcing three children to come to terms with the dual-edged power of pretending. Zora’s best friend, Carrie, narrates this coming-of-age story set in the Eden-like town of Eatonville, Florida. A fictionalization of the early years of a literary giant, this is the first project ever to be endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust that was not authored by Hurston herself.
Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson
The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. But it is also the story of injustice; of a country divided by law, education, and wealth; of a people whose struggles and achievements helped define their country. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it’s about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it’s about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It’s a story of discrimination and broken promises, determination and triumphs. Written in the voice of an “Everywoman,” an unnamed narrator whose forebears came to this country on slave ships and who lived to cast her vote for the first African American president, heart and soul touches on some of the great transformative events and small victories of that history.
Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Henry Brown doesn’t know how old he is. Nobody keeps records of slaves’ birthdays. All the time he dreams about freedom, but that dream seems farther away than ever when he is torn from his family and put to work in a warehouse. Henry grows up and marries, but he is again devastated when his family is sold at the slave market. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the warehouse, he knows exactly what he must do: He will mail himself to the North. After an arduous journey in the crate, Henry finally has a birthday — his first day of freedom.
The titles listed above are a small sampling of the books related to Black history in our collection and available throughout the Mid-Hudson Library System. If you’re looking for a book centered around a certain historical figure or a specific time period or event, feel free to ask a librarian for help finding the right book for you!