In acknowledging Black Women’s History Month, we also have to acknowledge that today is the 90th birthday of Dr. Maya Angelou– Happy Birthday Dr. Angelou! You can read more about her trailblazing life as an activist, artist and writer here. We also pay tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Visit this link for books and resources dedicated to Dr. King.
In honor of Black Women’s History Month, I thought it best if the OOMers shared some of their favorite stories written by Black women. You’ll also find resources below on books that celebrate the contributions of Black women and some amazing coverage from our Kid Reporters on Black girls/women who are changing the game.
One of my all-time favorites would have to be The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah. It was the first book passed down to me by a friend and I finished it within the week. That was quite a feat for 13-year-old me and I can still remember how hard it was to put it down.
Morgan has a few favorites. A contemporary favorite: Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward; A classic favorite: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange; A YA favorite: Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton.
Julia loves Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue: “I read it in six days (which is fast for me!) last fall and I still think about it a lot. It is the story of an immigrant from Cameroon, who gets a job as a chauffeur for a Wall Street banker just before the recession of 2008. I liked the thoughtfulness and nuance of the book—while reading, I had low-grade anxiety throughout—because the immigrant experience Mbue describes is one of a family that works hard and is always on the precipice of losing everything. But I also thought it was interesting that the Wall Street character was not the one-note character that you might expect. I’m not one to keep books, I usually read a book and pass it along to someone else, but I kept Behold the Dreamers and definitely plan to read it again.”
Jo’s favorites include Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and a newer title, We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True by Gabrielle Union.
Alex highlights Scholastic VP, Editor-at-Large and award–winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney: “One of my favorite titles from Andrea is A Poem for Peter, which is a celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day.”
Crystal says her favorite is In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose by Alice Walker: "It’s a collection of powerful, thought-provoking, political and personal essays.”
Brittany’s favorite is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Check out these resources for picture, middle-grade and YA books recommendations:
- This Women Who Inspire blog post highlights picture books like Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison and offers classroom resources on how to get your students talking about these amazing women.
- These links highlight picture books and books for independent readers.
Check out these amazing stories by our Kid Reporters about Black girls and women who are breaking barriers in the 21st century:
Cover photo via Flickr/Artist Rico Edwards