Reading Recommendations: Black History Month 2018

Hello readers! In light of Black History Month I thought I would share my own recommendations of books to read throughout this month. The following books spotlights the stories of people of color as the main/lead characters or are written by African-American authors. I chose five amazing reads that range from children, YA, an adult novels. I hope you enjoy these picks!


Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Weatherford

Synopsis: Chosen as a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2016, this poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African-American history captures a human’s capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans’ Congo Square was truly freedom’s heart. (description from Goodreads)

This is probably one of my favorite picture book reads from 2017. I loved the rhythmic writing style and art style which matched the overall tone of the book. I was unfamiliar with Congo Square before reading this book, but I learned a lot from reading this. I would like to read more books on this topic.

Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales by Julian Cox

Synopsis: Controversy and Hope commemorates the civil rights legacy of James Karales (1930-2002), a professional photojournalist who documented the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights with a dedication and vision that led the New York Times to deem his work “a pictorial anthem of the civil rights movement. (description from Goodreads)

I absolutely love photography/art books even though I don’t review them very often on this blog. Controversy and Hope is a wonderful collection of photos that capture the essence of the Civil Rights Movement. Each picture says a thousand words and has its own story. The photos are raw showing all the emotions wrapped up into each moment. It was interesting to see the photos and read some of the backgrounds how they came to be.

The Quickest Kid in Clarskville by Pat Zietlow Miller

Synopsis: It’s the day before the big parade. Alta can only think about one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She’ll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn’t matter that Alta’s shoes have holes because Wilma came from hard times, too. But what happens when a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race? Will she still be the quickest kid? The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship. (description from Goodreads)

This is an adorable and powerful Children’s illustrated book about legendary athlete, Wilma Rudolph. ho became a world-record-holding Olympic champion and international sports icon in track and field following her successes in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. The illustrations are fun and vibrant making it entertaining for kids to learn about how Wilma fell in love with the sport of running..

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Synopsis: Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army. Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor.  (description from Goodreads)

This book has a strong blend of rich history and romance. The book feels and reads historically accurate: the speech felt authentic, the details of the war, significant historical events that occurred at that time, and descriptions of clothing. The romance is great and I loved the blooming romance between Malcolm and Elle! I loved the undercover spy aspect that made the book so thrilling. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series. If you like this, I suggest Cole’s other historical fiction books too!

March: Book One by John Lewis

Synopsis: March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.  (description from Goodreads)

March: Book One  is spectacular graphic novel told in the eyes of an eyewitness and key activist of the Civil Rights Movement. I feel that it’s a wonderful resource inside and outside of the classroom to teach students and adults about the movement. I learned a lot from reading this first installment and about John Lewis’ beginnings as an activist. The artwork is so detailed that it puts the reader right in the midst of all the actions. I really want to collect all three volumes of this graphic novel series.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrsion

Synopsis: Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations.  Among these biographies, readers will find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things – bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come.   (description from Goodreads)

As soon as I heard this book was coming out I was so excited! There have been many books about women in history, but I love that this specifically focuses on women in Black History. The illustrated versions of these leading ladies are so cute and it’s a great resource for kids and adults alike to learn about some prominent women that you might have not have learned about before.


That concludes my Black History Month reading recommendations! What books do you recommend? Comment below! 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Reading Recommendations: Black History Month 2018

  1. I can’t cope with how adorable and pretty the Vashti Harrison art is. When my little nephew gets old enough to enjoy slightly longer books, he’s definitely getting that book as a gift. And yessssssssssss Alyssa Cole! is an amazing romance author! I loved her sort of dystopian book series, and I loved An Extraordinary Union.

    1. I think your nephew would it enjoy that book. It’s a fun, but informative read! Alyssa is one of my newest faves. Are you taking about the Radio Silence books? I just read the first book in the trilogy and I loved it.

  2. What a fantastic list you compiled here Rachel! March has been recommended to me many times, so after reading this I went ahead and placed holds on books 1-3 from the library. Time to actually pick them up! I’m so happy you enjoyed Little Leaders! I’ve had my eye on that one too as a book to read along with my son. I’ve placed a hold on that one too, but my library’s copies are still on order.

    1. Thank you Amanda! I hope you enjoy Little leaders, Vashti’s art is absolutely wonderful in that book. I hope you enjoy books 1-3. Congo Square is one of my favorite picture books that I’ve read in a while.

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