February is Black History Month and we’re excited to celebrate some of our favorite African-American authors. Here are some great books to discover or enjoy for a second read.
I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou This autobiography covers the poet’s life and struggles through her formative years. Despite her troubles, the book emphasizes the power of the human spirit. I know why the caged bird sings is also the topic for February’s Creecy Book Discussion group.
Beloved by Toni Morrison Sethe was born a slave but escaped to Ohio. She is still haunted by the horror of her former life and the baby she was forced to kill in order to prevent being recaptured. Beloved is a hauntingly beautiful read that is full of suspense.
The girl who fell from the sky by Heidi W. Durrow After a family tragedy, Rachel is sent to live with her African-American grandmother. As the daughter of Danish mother and African-American father, Rachel is forced to confront her racial identity for the first time. As she grieves, she must also piece together the mystery surrounding her parent’s death. The girl who fell from the sky is a beautiful coming of age story as well as a thoughtful commentary on racism and identity.
Pym by Mat Johnson Chris Jaynes is the only African-American English professor at a small liberal arts college. Much to the college’s dismay, he has chosen to study Edgar Allan Poe instead of African-American literature. When he comes across a 19th-century manuscript that suggests Poe’s novel about an African diaspora colony in the South Pole may be real, he goes on an expedition to Antarctica to find out for himself. This satirical fantasy explores race relations in America.
Twelve years a slave by Solomon Northrup Read the powerful memoir that inspired the Oscar-winning movie. Northrup was born a free man in New York but was kidnapped and sold into slavery. His account provides extensive detail about his experience as a slave and his quest to freedom.
The twelve tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis At fifteen-years old, Hattie flees Georgia and heads north to Philadelphia in the hope of a better life. She marries a man; but, their marriage is far from a fairy tale. Together they have eleven children, two of which die not long after birth. She decides to prepare her children for the world of struggle she has come to know. Twelve stories weave together to form a testament of a mother’s love and courage.
Let America be America again by Langston Hughes This collection of Hughes’s poems is powerful and provocative. They paint a beautiful picture of what he hopes America could be. These iconic poems help summarize the beauty and the passion of the Harlem Renaissance.
You can find these great stories and more on the 2nd and 3rd floor of the Southfield Public Library. For more information about these authors and other influential African Americans, stop by the Reference desk or visit our website.