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Black History Month just started. So for people interested in taking some time to educate themselves and their families about the many, many contributions that people of color have made to building this country, we've put together a list of a few of our favorite books.
Although we should be recognizing the achievements of black scientists, writers, educators and musicians all throughout the year, Black History Month provides a good opportunity to dedicate some time to learning something new. Here is our selection of the best books for Black History Month 2020.
Black History Month Books for Adults
1. "Becoming" by Michelle Obama, $20, Amazon
This autobiographical memoir by the former first lady chronicles her journey to becoming one of the most influential people in America. Plenty of people in the TODAY office have read it, and the Amazon best-seller, with over 7,000 reviews and 4.9-star rating is definitely on my personal reading list this month.
- 2. "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi, $13, Amazon
This powerful book follows the paths of two half sisters in Ghana and their descendants as the family evolves throughout time. The deep character analysis and interweaving plots have truly stunned one of our editors.
- 3. "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, $13, Amazon
This book made it to former president Barak Obama's past summer reading list. It is about two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, while raising questions of race and belonging. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is well known for her TED talk on the danger of a single story, her appearance on Beyonce's song "Flawless," as well as her other writings and speeches.
- 4. Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, $14, Amazon
This is an autobiographical comedy book written by Trevor Noah, the current host of "The Daily Show." It's a story of the discrimination he faced as a mixed-race child growing up in South Africa.
Black History Month Books for Young Adults
- 1. "Black Enough" by Ibi Zoboi, $12, Amazon
This book is a collection of captivating short stories about what it’s like to be a young black person in America. These compelling stories range from kids who have been told they are "acting white" to kids who are mixed race, and other complexities that come with racial identity in today's culture.
- 2. "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas, $11, Amazon
This best-selling novel is about a young girl whose best friend is killed by the police in an act of racial injustice.
- 3. "Dear Martin" by Nic Stone, $7, Amazon
This "New York Times" best-seller has been described by reviewers as "painfully timely," "powerful" and "wrenching." It is a story about Justyce McAllister, an Ivy League-bound student, who is eventually put in handcuffs because of his race.
Black History Month Books for Kids
This powerful picture book is winner of both the 2020 Caldecott Medal for illustration and a Newbery Honor for writing. It's a tribute to achievements throughout black history that will be treasured by kids and grown-ups alike.
"New Kid" is the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal, and it speaks to the experience of trying to fit in at a school where diversity is low. It's recommended for kids 8-12.
This fascinating backstory to the "I Have a Dream" speech shows the internal struggle and magic behind Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words.
Zuri's hair lets her have superpowers, but she'll need Daddy's help to get ready for a special day. An Oscar-nominated short feature film of "Hair Love" was funded by a Kickstarter campaign seeking more diversity and hair love in animation.
Sulwe is the color of midnight and wants her skin to be lighter. She must learn that brightness comes from within.
This book introduces kids to 40 phenomenal women who broke barriers of race and gender. It is recommended for ages 8-11.
This lyrical ode to self-love tells girls to rise like air, grow like trees and soar like birds. Though we are all different, we are all enough. Winner in the Goodreads Choice Awards, it is written by "Empire" actor and activist Grace Byers.
In August of 1963, more than 250,000 people gathered for the March on Washington. It is where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. This story teaches children about a monumental time in the history civil rights.