There are so many significant events to remember and learn from in history, but when it comes to February, we should all focus on Black History Month. The trouble with Black history is that there's probably a lot that has gone unaccounted for, simply because of who writes history. This list is composed of books that will open your eyes and make you rethink your perspective:
1. "Becoming" by Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama has gone out of her way to write her own novel and I'm very surprised that they can keep this book on the shelves. This novel is an intimate look into how she became the person that she is today. As a reader, you’ll experience what it was like growing up on the South Side of Chicago and how she balanced the demanding role of being a mom and the First Lady of the USA.
2. "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi
From mother to son, or from father to daughter, this novel is a lineage story. It starts with a set of twins who get separated and we follow their family tree through the years. Starting with when the British first discovered Africa, all the way to modern America today, "Homegoing" explores the importance of family ties as well as the enslavement of Africans in this novel.
3. "Kindred" by Octavia Butler
Fantasy may be your first impression of this book, but don’t be fooled. The magical realism that this book uses is the best way to travel back in time with Dana into the antebellum south. She’s called on by Rufus every time he is in danger, and she is usually the one who saves him. It isn’t long before she realizes the role that he has in her life and just why she can’t control her powers of time travel.
4. "The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead
This one not only won a Pulitzer Prize, but it is also recommended by Barack Obama himself. Cora is a slave who hears a way out of the antebellum south by railroad, and fights to get out of Georgia. This novel is comparable to "Guilliver’s Travels" in terms of adventure and richness of language.
5. "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas
Recently, this book became a movie that received high marks from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. Starr Carter is the girl living a Hannah Montana-esque double life—her roots are in a poor neighborhood and she attends a wealthy prep school during the day. Her world changes when her best friend is shot right in front of her. This novel was written for YA, but I’m sure that adults will love it too.
6. "Hunger" by Roxane Gay
This book is an autobiography and isn’t centered on just black history. Roxane Gay is a black writer, this book is just centered around the issues she has with her body. While it mostly focuses on her relationship with food, body image does carry over to her skin color. While this book isn’t a long or a hard read, Gay brings up complex issues that’ll leave a reader pondering them even once they put the book down.
Story by story, page by page, once you pick one of these books up you won’t be able to put it down. You’ll also look at life a lot differently than you did before.
Images: 1, all other images taken by author