As we begin Black History Month, we encourage you to pick up a book that centers and celebrates Black joy. On this list you’ll find a variety of books – romances, fantasies, adventures, memoirs and more – that highlight Black lives, communities and relationships.
For even more titles, be sure to check our Black History Month shelf on cloudLibrary.
Books for Adults
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
A brilliant allegorical fantasy! Every city on earth has a soul – and New York City has five. When an ancient evil threatens to destroy New York City and its protectors, five New Yorkers from different walks of life will have to band together to defend themselves and their home.
The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman
A beautifully printed version of Amanda Gorman’s stirring poem “The Hill We Climb,” which she delivered at President Biden’s inauguration. The Hill We Climb is an inspirational call for unity and a celebration of America’s promise.
Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola
A perfect read for Valentine’s Day! This vivid collection of myths and folktales decolonizes love stories from various cultures and locations, including West Africa, the Middle East, ancient Greece and more.
Meals, Music and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen by Alexander Smalls
Chef and world-renowned opera singer Alexander Smalls blends food and music. This book explores the foods that shaped the South and is filled with classic Southern recipes and unique twists on favorite dishes. Each chapter is named for a type of music and helps readers fully appreciate the spirit behind each recipe.
Popisho by Leone Ross
A magical-realism feast for the senses! This book is a love story and a vibrant portrait of a unique community. Each person on Popisho is born with a magical gift that manifests before adulthood. Xavier’s gift for food comes with a charge from the gods: to make each person on Popisho one perfect meal when the time is right. His long-lost love, Anise, has healing powers. But strange things start happening in Popisho, and soon Xavier discovers that change is in the air.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
A funny and pleasantly messy love story! Eva and Shane have both been dealt difficult hands in life, but they’ve achieved their dreams nonetheless. This book strikes a nice balance between serious topics – like disability and substance abuse – and sizzling romantic chemistry.
Wow, No Thank You: Essays by Samantha Irby
The laugh-out-loud essays in this book explore marriage, aging, and life in small-town American. A bonus: Samantha Irby also narrates the audiobook!
Books for Teens
Charming As a Verb by Ben Philippe
As a trusted dog walker, star debater and popular student at a prestigious academy, Henri can charm anyone. Except his classmate and neighbor Corinne, that is. When she discovers his not-so-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her transform her image at their school.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Inspired by Yoruba folklore! This book – the first in a three-part series – tells the tale of three teenagers who discover a way to return magic to their world. Although it depicts social injustice and mistreatment of Black Americans, Children of Blood and Bone is ultimately a story about strength and rebellion.
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
A smart and witty retelling of Pride and Prejudice! When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street from Zuri Benitez, she initially spurns their two teenage sons – particularly the arrogant Darius. But her initial dislike of Darius soon blooms into an understanding, and maybe more.
Wings of Ebony by J. Elle
Half-human, half-god Rue is whisked away by her father to a hidden island of people who can use magic. The leaders there protect their magic at any cost and thrive on human suffering. Missing her sister, Rue escapes and returns home to to Houston, only to discover her sister and her neighborhood are in danger from the same evil that lurked on her father’s island.
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
The one place Emoni feels free of the responsibilities of life is the kitchen, where she adds a little bit of magic to everything she makes. Even though she lacks the free time to take her school’s new culinary arts class and can’t afford the class trip to Spain, she’ll still find a way to pursue her passion.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Liz’s plan to escape her small Midwestern town is to attend an elite college and someday become a doctor. When her financial aid unexpectedly evaporates, she turns to her school’s scholarship for the prom king and queen. But Liz doesn’t want to run for prom queen, especially with smart, funny Mack as her competition. After all, falling for Mack could keep Liz from pursuing her dreams.
Books for Children
Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Redd
Reading age: 3 to 6
This picture book is a heartwarming look at Black nighttime hair traditions within a loving multi-generational family. Different kinds of hair and treatments are depicted, and it’s a sweet book to read together before bed.
Rocket Says Look Up! by Nathan Bryon
Reading age: 4 to 7
Space-obsessed Rocket wants everyone to see tonight’s comet with her – especially her big brother, Jamal. Rocket’s passion for science unites her neighbors and family to watch the comet together.
Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker and Jessica Curry
Reading age: 4 to 7
On a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, young Parker Curry’s life was changed forever when she looked up at the portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama. In the portrait, Parker saw possibility and promise for her own future. If you remember the viral picture taken of Parker Curry in front of Michelle Obama’s portrait, you’ll love this book!
Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews
Reading age: 4 to 7
A superb autobiography! This book introduces readers to Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, who got his nickname from playing a trombone twice as long as his height. A musical genius, Troy was leading his own band by age six and now works with some of the biggest names in music today.
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson
Reading age: 7 to 10
Ryan’s dad has a new job – which means the Hart family is moving into a new (old) house. Even when things don’t go as she would like, she knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. If you loved the Ramona Quimby books as a child, try this book with your own kids!
Black Boy Joy edited by Kwame Mbalia
Reading age: 9 to 12
A book of pure magic. Seventeen acclaimed Black writers contributed to this collection, which is brimming with adventure, creativity and confidence. Best of all, it’s got something for everyone: stories, poems, and wonderfully illustrated comics.
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds
Reading age: 10 to 13
A walk home can take so many different directions! This funny novel told in ten blocks shows what happens between the school bell ringing at the end of the day and the opening of your front door. Together, the stories weave into a joyful portrait of the detours we sometimes take in life.