Given all the upheaval in the last year, I think it’s worth taking time to celebrate African American history as American history. To that end, I’m highlighting a selection of great picks for your reading pleasure.
The national bestselling “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama or the National Book Award-winner and definitive biography “The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X” by Les Payne and Tamara Payne would both be great nonfiction choices.
But let’s go beyond titles you might already know about. Another great pick highlighting an important group of unsung heroines of the civil rights movement is “The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation” by Anna Malaika Tubbs. The book was released this month.
For something different, try Donna Hill’s “Confessions in B-Flat.” It’s a historical romance between a protégé of King and a firebrand follower of Malcolm X, set against the backdrop of 1964 Harlem in New York City.
Thinking of children’s books, two wonderful picture books on Aretha Franklin were released last year. “RESPECT: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul” by Carole Boston Weatherford and Frank Morrison is a great read-aloud pick, while “A Voice Named Aretha” by Katheryn Russell-Brown and Laura Freeman would be a better choice for children reading on their own.
Finally, because it fits too well not to mention, be on the lookout for “Libertie” by Kaitlyn Greenidge, which is due out in March and available to reserve now at your library. This highly anticipated novel of historical fiction follows the coming of age of the freeborn daughter of an African American woman medical doctor.
As always, if these don’t hit the spot, check out picks by the staff at Capital Area District Libraries on CADL’s homepage, or use the BookSleuth P.I. service to get personalized recommendations at cadl.org/booksleuth-pi .