Black History Month: A Reading List


lack History Month is the ideal time to begin incorporating more black authors and black history into your reading selections. We have made this easier for you by creating a Black History Month Reading List that connects all the titles listed to our online countywide catalog for you to place a hold on and pick up at the library. The titles on the list are organized under broad subject headings and include both classic works and contemporary works. The classic works are foundational readings for expanding your knowledge of black history, cultural movements, and literary arts and the contemporary works reflect our world today.

We have included a variety of fiction genres in which black authors have injected a vibrant and fresh voice. We recommend reading a selection from one of your favorite genres. Black science-fiction, fantasy and horror writers have expanded the genre to address the complexity of black existence and history. Afrofuturism is its own sub-genre within science fiction that breaks through to new dimensions of speculative fiction, providing visionary alternate worlds and redefined futures.

We have included both classic and contemporary works that address the complexity of intersectionality; the experience of being both Black and a woman, or being Black and gay or trans, or being Black and economically disadvantaged. We have also included a section dedicated to the rich literary culture that is Pittsburgh. We highly recommend reading from this section to gain insight into our city’s Black history.

Lastly, this list is meant only to be an introduction to the vastness and breadth of Black writing. Many of the authors listed have written other remarkable works, and of course we didn’t have enough space to include everyone, so please follow your own reading path.

We will be purchasing titles from this list for our own digital collection in AXIS 360. Please follow this link to check out a title in AXIS 360. AXIS 360 is free to all Mt. Lebanon Public Library card holders!

For children and teens

Celebrate Black History Month with some literary characters from the children’s and teen libraries. Meet Jerome, who befriends the ghost of Emmett Till, in Ghost Boys. And read how seventh grader Jordan copes with being one of the few kids of color at his new prestigious private school in the graphic novel New Kid. Troy Andrews tells the story of his rise to a preeminent jazz musician in Trombone Shorty, and Henry Brown uses a sealed crate to escape slavery in Box.

Books at the library have so many stories to tell, and lives to share, and lessons to teach. During Black History Month—and all year long—these books and so many more can change us and help us to change the world. Browse the list here.