Black History Month: Reading List

Happy Black History Month! This February, in honor of Black History Month, MOI has featured different people we work with. We wanted to celebrate their successes and share how excited we are about what they're doing. To wrap up the month, we want to share a reading list!

This reading list—and its reviews—has been added to all month long by students, volunteers, staff members, and featured community members alike. We want to celebrate authors of color all year long, so we're sharing it on the last day of February to show that every month can be Black History Month.


Kwame Alexander



Rebound (Coming out April 2!)

If you like sports but don’t like reading, you will love Kwame Alexander! Seriously.
— Ellen, Writer in Residence

Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming

Miracle's Boys

[“Brown Girl Dreaming”] is written in poems, so it is very quick to read. It’s about a girl who moves from South Carolina to New York City and how she doesn’t really feel at home in either place.
— Ellen, Writer in Residence

Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud, Not Buddy

The Watsons Go To Birmingham — 1963

“The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963” is a book based on history, but it also incorporates some fantasy elements, which make it a unique and exciting story about family and identity.
— Danielle, Community Outreach Coordinator

Walter Dean Meyers

The Cruisers



The Gloryfield

“The Gloryfield” is about a family called the Lewis family and their lives over the years, so every chapter is about one of the family members’ lives. It’s a good book because it’s serious and shows the lives of African Americans from the 1700s to the 1960s. It’s intense but good.
— Rafi, After-School Homework Help student

Marley Dias

The author of this book, Marley Dias, is only 13! She started the #1000BlackGirlBooks movement after she noticed that there weren’t enough books with black girls as the main characters, and then she wrote a book about it!
— Summary based on "Chicago Tribune" article

Ed. Sun Ying Shin

Beverly Daniel Tatum

Dara Beeves (Check her out in this blog post!)



Mary Hoffman & Karin Littlewood

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts & Christopher Myers

Mildred D. Taylor

A Good Time for the Truth

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria

The Indie Author Revolution: An Insider's Guide to Self-Publishing

Social Media Secrets for Authors: A Beginner's Guide to Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads

The Colour of Home

Jakes Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, a Young Artist in Harlem

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

I loved reading “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.” Mildred Taylor’s books were mostly set in Mississippi during the Depression. Her writing was so captivating and always told stories that helped me understand how hard black people had to work to become free and pursue their dreams.
— Dara, co-founder of Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Along with Langston Hughes and Tanuja Desai Hidier, Mildred Taylor’s perspectives on identity, double consciousness, and integration helped shape my worldview.
— Qorsho, MOI board member

Andrea Davis Pinkney & Shane W. Evans

Andrea Davis Pinkney

Jewell Parker Rhodes

Amar'e Stoudemire

Maya Angelou

The Red Pencil

Bird in a Box

Ninth Ward

Stat: Home Court

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

If you don’t have time to read [“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”], I would recommend at least reading the poem. The poem and the book detail the struggle of breaking free from the chains holding you down. It also shows the problems that minorities, people in poverty, and women face. If you want to read an inspirational piece, I would recommend this poem or book!
— Olivia, After-School Homework Help volunteer

Matt Doeden

Selina Alko & Sean Qualls

Misty Copeland & Chrisopher Myers

Carole Boston Weatherford & Jamey Christoph

Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammed & Catherine Stock

Dwayne Wade: Basketball Superstar

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

My Name is Sangoel

I loved all of “My Name is Sangoel,” but I especially loved the pictures.
— Suheyla, After-School Homework Help student

Laban Carrick Hill & Theodore Taylor III

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herg and the Creation of Hip Hop

“When the Beat Was Born” has beautiful pictures! It is stunning poetry about becoming the person you were meant to be!
— Lisa, volunteer illustrator

Alice Walker

The Color Purple

Before reading [“The Color Purple”], I had never read such beautiful writing by an African American. I’m sure it’s what led me to want to be an author myself.
— Karen, MOI board member

Gordon Parks

A Choice of Weapons

I read [“A Choice of Weapons”] in 7th grade, and it changed my life.
— Reynolds-Anthony, MOI board member

Thank you for joining MOI for Black History Month! If you read any of these books—or want us to add to our list—please let us know!