Black History Month: 10 Memorable Reads

February 7, 2020

10 Memorable Reads for Black History Month

10 Reading Ideas for Black History Month (image: right focus on a woman's hands reading a book sitting by water)

I hope you are inspired by reading ideas for Black History Month! Have you read any of these titles? Please add your recommendations in the comments.

Books are listed in no particular order. The title I selected are stories set in the U.S., but I’m adding a section for stories set in Africa, too! Not all of the titles are #ownvoices authors (I’ve noted the ones that are). Titles are Amazon affiliate links and you will find some links to reviews (some I read before I began the blog).

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Just Mercy cover

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Memoir, Nonfiction, Racial Tension, and Injustice). 4 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices
***Adapted for YA

The Water Dancer cover

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Literary Fiction, historical fiction, Slavery) 5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices

The Invention of Wings cover

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (historical fiction, abolitionist movement)
A favorite read over the past several years. 5 Stars. My Full Review Here.

Homegoing cover

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (historical fiction, family multi-generational saga)
This book is ambitious in its structure and memorable in its storytelling….it hasn’t received enough attention! Although it begins in Africa, it ends in the U.S. 5 Stars. #ownvoices

The Warmth of Other Suns cover

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (a combination of history and narrative nonfiction). An ambitious history of black migration across the U.S. from post Civil War to the 1970s. 4 Stars (heavy on history….the three personal stories are memorable and heartfelt). #ownvoices

The Hate U Give cover

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (contemporary fiction, racial tensions, YA)
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement. 5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices

The Kitchen House cover

Glory Over Everything cover

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (historical fiction, slavery) and the sequel Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom  (historical fiction, passing as white). Both 5 Stars.

Small Great Things cover

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (contemporary fiction, racial tension). 4 Stars. Brief Review in This Post Here.

Dreamland Burning cover

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (historical fiction, YA). 5 Stars. Brief Review in This Post Here.

Runners Up:

The Mothers cover

The Mothers by Brit Bennett  4 Stars. My Brief Goodreads Review Here. #ownvoices

The Gilded Years cover

The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe (historical fiction, biographical, first black woman to attend Vassar). 4 Stars. My Full Review Here.

An American Marriage Cover

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Women’s Fiction, Family Life). 4.5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices

Also Recommended:
Stories Set in Africa

Hum if You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais (cover)

Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais (histfic). 4. Stars. Full Review Here.

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (cover)

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (histfic). 4 Stars. My Full Review Here.

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (cover)

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (contemporary fiction). 5 Stars. (I love this one….review coming) #0wnvoices

Middle Grade Recommendations

We Beat the Street cover

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success by Sampson Davis  (middle grade, biography/memoir). 4 Stars. #ownvoices

Stella by Starlight cover

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M Draper (middle grade historical fiction, racial tension). 4 Stars.

Brown Girl Dreaming cover

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (middle grade childhood memoir) 5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices

Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (cover)

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (MG histfic, slavery)

February Read:

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover)

Born a Crime (memoir) by Trevor Noah #ownvoices


Did you find a book to add to your TBR?

What are you reading for Black History Month?

Share your own recommendations in comments!


Winter 2019 TBR (update)

My Love/Hate Relationship With DNF

Trigger Warnings: Yes or No?

How I Use Goodreads

Nonfiction/Fiction Pairings

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.


  1. Homegoing is the only one I’ve read from your list – I really enjoyed and admired it.
    Have you read any Colston Whitehead? I’d also recommend Maaza Mengiste’s debut Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, addressing the Ethiopian revolution of 1974

  2. This is a great list. I have read several but there are others I hope to check out. I am also planning on reading Born a Crime this month. I hope I get to it.

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