We’ve compiled a list of all of the programs CCPL is hosting this February to celebrate Black History Month, as well as provided you with reading lists and other resources to learn more about black history and culture in order to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and inspire the future.

Children’s Books by Black Authors

  • Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison: Sulwe is about a little girl who doesn’t look like her family. Her mother is the color of dawn, her father the color of dusk, and her sister is high noon. She didn’t even have anyone she could relate to at school. Desperate, she attempts to eat light-colored foods to change her skin color and pray to God to make her look like her family. Sulwe is about accepting yourself for who you are and sharing it with the world.
  • Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Hazel Wood: Imani, the smallest in her village, struggles with being teased by the other children. Her mother tells her of the story of Olapa, Goddess of the Moon, which inspires Imani to accomplish the most remarkable feat of all. This is a sweet story about believing in yourself, and the effect mean words can have on someone.
  • Grandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate, from Farm to Family by Elizabeth Zunon: Grandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate, from Farm to Family, is about family and legacies. The main character, a young girl, learns about her Grandpa Cacao as she helps her father make her birthday cake. Her grandfather is a farm and sells cacao beans, which makes chocolate. I hope you enjoy this story, which I have to say is sweeter than chocolate!
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold: Tar Beach, a classic and personal favorite, is Cassie Lightfoot’s story flying over 1939 Harlem as she recounts her life.
  • Mixed Me by Taye Digs, illustrated by Shane W. Evans: Mixed Me is about “Mixed Up Mike,” the biracial child featured in the story. It represents a family that “doesn’t match,” and asks Mike the question which group he would like to spend time with; in return, Taye Digs asks, why pick one race?

Other Resources for Children: 

  • Kids InfoBits:  Need help with an assignment or book report for Black History Month? Kids InfoBits may be a great fit for you. Easy and simple to use, this site pulls up pictures, biographies, newspaper and magazine articles based on what you type in the search bar. For example, I typed in “Maya Angelou” and it pulled up a lot of information on the poet! Happy researching!
  • Kanopy Kids: Kanopy Kids is a database that not only offers shows and movies to adults, but to children too. Children are able to watch as many informational shows or entertaining movies as they please. Some videos are made from different places in the world or are based off of books that they may have read before!
  • Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD):  Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database serves as a reference tool if you are trying to narrow your search down to a specific children’s title before looking at our catalog. CLCD has a thorough search bar that helps you try to find the right book, you can even look up titles by the illustrator!

YA Books written by Black Authors: 

  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: Made entirely of poetry, Jason Reynolds tells the story of Will, who is contemplating his next step on the way down the escalator after he learns that a member of an opposing gang has killed his brother Shawn. Want to figure out what Will does? Read this book.
  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo: Emoni, a young mother, is trying to do right by her family, which makes her believe that her dreams of being a chef after graduation are just a dream, nothing concrete, even though she is talented in the kitchen with her creations. Will Emoni go for her dreams? Find out with Elizabeth Acevedo’s novel, With the Fire on High.
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone: Nic Stone shows the impact racial profiling has on a person with her book, Dear Martin, about an Ivy League-bound African American student named Justyce, racially profiled, and placed into handcuffs.
  • Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown: A magical autobiography that brings up the subject of poverty, racism, sexual violence, and depression, Echo Brown, a young wizard, must navigate in this coming of age story.
  • The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake: Miss Saunders, the new English teacher at McClenton Middle School who has a skin condition, serves as an inspiration to young Maleeka, who struggles with self-confidence. Watch Maleeka come into her own by reading Sharon G. Flake’s book, The Skin I’m In.
  • FlyGirl by Sherri L. Smith: Ida Mae Jones is a black woman who dreams of flying as her father did. However, it will be twice as hard to soar. Especially when WASP: Women Airforce Service Pilots won’t even take her because of skin color. See what Ida is willing to do in FlyGirl.
  • After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson: After Tupac and D Foster is a book that serves as a commentary on how life and the connections you make during your time can change in a second. D Foster comes into Neeka, and her friends live for a moment, but even though their time is short, D teaches them another side of life that they may be taking for granted.

Other Resources for Teens

Overdrive:  On the go? Overdrive will keep up with you with their library of Ebooks. If you are not interested in a print copy of the books I have listed, you are also able to find the title on Overdrive, download it onto your “shelf” and play it whenever you like within the three week borrowing period. Enjoy!

Gale OneFile – High School Edition: Are you doing a research assignment on a historical moment or figure for Black History Month? Gale OneFile is a great asset to have when trying to find information to reference. They offer articles from newspapers and essays as well as give you an option to rule out some of their listings by their “advanced search” option. Have fun!

Scholarships-Fellowships and Loans: Are you trying to find scholarships for college? The library can help! This database offers an extensive list of scholarships you may be eligible to apply for. 

Adult Books written by Black Authors

  • The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky tells the story of a family’s sole survivor, Rachel, a biracial young woman who not only has to adapt to her new life with her strict grandmother, but she must also confront her identity as a biracial woman living during the 1980’s.
  • My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite: Korede, a nurse, has helped her younger sister, Ayoola dispose of her late boyfriend’s body for the third time in a row. She thinks this may be the last time, until Ayoola starts dating the doctor Korede is in love with. Will Korede have to help dispose of him too? Or will she have to turn Ayoola in to protect her coworker and every other man in Nigeria?
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: Brit Bennet tells the story of twin sisters who do not only look identical, but they grew up dealing with the same prejudices the South has shown them, until they grow up. One sister stays in the same small town that she once tried to escape. The other passes as white and hides her past from her husband. Read what happens next in The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.
  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams is about a Jamaican-British woman attempting to heal from a bad breakup but finding help in the wrong places. Watch Queenie try to heal in Candice Carty-Williams relatable book!
  • Between the World and Me by Ta’Neishi Coates: Addressed to his son and to the readers, author Ta’Neishi Coates attempts to answer questions through his own experiences in the hopes to shed light on life and humans themselves.
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama: First Lady Michelle Obama invites people into her past as she grew up in the south side of Chicago, the moments that shaped her, becoming a mother, and her work life. Learn more about what caused a woman to become Michelle Obama in her memoir, Becoming. 
  • How we fight for our lives by Saeed Jones: How we fight for our lives is about Saeed Jones’s past, his story of being a young gay black man who must fight for his place in the South and goes against many as he does.
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James: Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James serves as the first book of the authors Dark Star trilogy. The book features myth and legends as the reader follows a mercenary trying to find a missing child.

Other Resources for Adults

African American History Online: This database houses 500 years of African American experience and explores documented Black history and culture. Users just need their library card to access this database, which shows overviews of a selected topic by video or slideshow. 

Gale OneFile Fine Arts: Are you curious about how music, plays, books, created by black people? You can find it on the Gale OneFile Fine Arts Database. They will show you articles as well as books covering the subject you are looking for. I typed in “black musicals,” and learned that there is a musical based off of Langston Hughes’ play, Black Nativity. You learn something new every day!

Gale OneFile Diversity Studies: If you are interested in Diversity Studies, this database is for you. I looked up “biracial” and the site gave me numerous options on how I could write a research paper on the topic. 

I hope to see you at some of these amazing programs being offered (virtually, of course)! I also want to add, if you are overwhelmed with the databases that I have listed, do not be afraid to give the library a call to help! You can reach us via our Chat feature on our website, call us at any of the branches between 9-5pm Monday through Saturday, or send us an email at Contact Us!