Red, Yellow and Green heart graphic reads “Black History Month” in black letters with a black square background

Black history month ()

February is Black History Month and this month we are bringing you 11 books to add to your list. (We just couldn’t narrow it down to our typical 10).

Opinions: A Decade of Arguments, Criticism, and Minding Other People’s Business” by Roxanne Gay (2023) (Non-Fiction) (Essays) (Feminism) (LGTB)

Enjoy a collection of Gay’s best non-fiction pieces from the past 10 years. Gay tackles hard topics such as race, politics, feminism and sexuality as well as more personal topics such as communication with coworkers about their sneeze-inducing perfume.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf” by Marlon James (2019) (Fiction) (Fantasy) (Mythology)

Tracker is known for his skills as a hunter, and he joins a motley group of people to aid in finding a boy who went missing three years ago. James draws upon African history and mythology to tell this fantastical story.

The Color Purple” by Alice Walker (1982) (Fiction) (Classics) (Historical Fiction) *Trigger Warning (TW)* Domestic Violence; Sexual Assault

Read the book before (or after) seeing the film adaptation of the hit musical. This classic novel tells the story of two Black sisters in early 20th century America through a series of letters to each other and to God.

Hair Love” by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison (Illustrator) (2019) (Fiction) (Children’s)

This is an adorable story of daddy-daughter bonding time. Zuri’s mom always does a great job with her hair, but sometimes her dad has to do her hair and he’s just not that good. You can also watch the Oscar-winning short inspired by the book here.

The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas (2017) (Fiction) (Young Adult) *TW* Gun Violence

Starr is caught between two worlds: the poor neighborhood she lives in and the fancy preparatory school she attends. The uneasy balance between the two worlds breaks when she witnesses the shooting of her childhood best friend by police officers. The book follows Starr and the aftermath of how she recounts the truth of what happened that fateful night. This book was adapted for film in 2018.

Deacon King Kong” by James McBride (2020) (Fiction) (Mystery) (Historical Fiction) *TW* Gun Violence

It’s New York in 1969 and a cranky old church deacon walks into a south Brooklyn housing project and shoots a drug dealer point blank. As more comes out about the shooting, it is discovered that the lives of those in the neighborhoods surrounding the shooting are more intertwined than anyone could have imagined.

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) (Fiction) (Classics) *TW* Domestic Violence

Go on a journey of self-discovery with Janie in 1930s South Florida through three marriages and the center of herself. Featuring a cast of complex and imperfect characters, there is no wonder that this book remains on so many lists of “must-read” classics.

The Sweetness of Water” by Nathan Harris (2021) (Fiction) (Historical Fiction) (LGTB)

Several stories weave together in this debut novel by Harris. The first plot follows two recently freed men in rural Georgia in the aftermath of the American Civil War: Prentiss and Landry. Prentiss and Landry find work on a farm and plan to save their money to move north and find their mother who was sold elsewhere when they were boys. The parallel plot follows a pair of Confederate soldiers who fall in love and when their trysts are discovered in the woods, chaos ensues.

Black Friend: Essays” by Ziwe (2023) (Non-Fiction) (Essays) (Memoir) (Humor)

Popular talk show host, Ziwe (Zee-way), has brought her humor and no-nonsense style to penning these personal essays. She writes bite-size pieces as well as longer essays, transcripts of her more famous interviews and a sort-of “choose your adventure” about navigating race.

Black and British: A Forgotten History” by David Olusoga (2016) (Non-Fiction) (History)

This book focuses on the history of Black people in the British Isles dating back all the way to Roman Britain. It uses a variety of sources from genealogical records, expert testimonies, official records and more to tell these rich histories.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky” by Kwame Mbalia (2019) (Fiction) (Middle Grades)

Tristan is a seventh- grader who finds himself immersed in the world of African American folktales. Can he help John Henry, Gum Baby, High John and his new friends, or will Anansi cause more chaos? This is the first book in a trilogy, and a “Rick Riordan Presents” book for middle grade readers who love mythology set in the everyday

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Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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