List curated by Cheryl
In honor of Black History Month, we're sharing book recommendations for all ages! This list highlights some of our favorite picture books that are great for adult readers--because who says picture books are just for kids? Be sure to check out these books, and to read Black authors all year long, not just in February.
written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
This poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present.
Rod Brown and Julius Lester bring history to life in this profoundly moving exploration of the slave experience. From the Middle Passage to the auction block, from the whipping post to the fight for freedom, this book presents not just historical facts, but the raw emotions of the people who lived them. Inspired by Rod Brown's vivid paintings, Julius Lester has written a text that places each of us squarely inside the skin of both slave and slaveowner. It will capture the heart of every reader, black or white, young or old.
Maya Angelou's poetic celebration of the courage within each person is matched by the daring vision of artist Basquiat, whose childlike style reveals the fanciful imaginings of childhood. In this introduction to poetry and contemporary art, brief biographies of Angelou and Basquiat accompany the text and artwork.
written by Walter Dean Myers (father) and illustrated by Christopher Myers
Fifteen poems, infused with the rhythm and wordplay of jazz music, are paired with bold, stylized illustrations of performers and dancers to convey the history and breadth of this unique musical style. From bebop to New Orleans, from ragtime to boogie, and every style in between, Jazz takes readers on a musical journey from jazz's beginnings to the present day.
The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. 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.
The Other Side
written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Clover's mom says it isn't safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups' rules by sitting on top of the fence together.