New African American Fiction

February is Black History Month, so the Reader Services department created a list of recently published African American fiction that we are loving — and we think you will, too. Here is a sampling of some of the books on the list which includes general fiction, mystery, fantasy and romance. Definitely something for every reader!

Alyssa Cole’s An Extraordinary Union is a romance set in the Civil War that centers on a young black woman and freewoman, Elle Burns, who goes undercover as a pro-Union Loyalty League spy. Things get complicated for Elle when she falls for another spy of a different race. Library Journal said: “Courageous, passionate protagonists fight for justice, freedom, and the right to love in an exceptional story that both educates and entertains and beautifully launches a unique series.”

Naima Coster’s debut Halsey Street looks at how gentrification impacts one family in Brooklyn, Continue reading “New African American Fiction”

Florynce “Flo” Kennedy: Black Radical Feminist

It’s black history month, the perfect time to read about social justice trailblazers both celebrated and forgotten. Margo Jefferson’s wonderful memoir, Negroland, about growing up in a wealthy, elite African American family in the 1940s and ’50s, was my first introduction to Florynce “Flo” Kennedy, an outspoken black feminist who inspired Jefferson and many others. Continue reading “Florynce “Flo” Kennedy: Black Radical Feminist”

Reading Race: Best Fiction of 2015

When it comes to developing a better understanding of race in America, no tweet, speech or blog post can help us to explore complex realities or inspire empathy and understanding with anything like the thoroughness and subtlety of a good novel. 2015 saw the publication of a wealth of fiction exploring racial issues and realities through a rich variety of styles, outlooks and voices, including satire, tragedy and even suspense. Here is a small sampling of the best fiction on race published last year:

Continue reading “Reading Race: Best Fiction of 2015”

Reading Race: Best Non-Fiction of 2015

The books we read reflect the interests and concerns of our times, so it is no surprise that 2015 was an important year for non-fiction that delved into race in America. As we struggle to reach better awareness and deeper understanding, few things are quite so helpful as a good book. Beyond merely informing our views, books provide us with grounds for discussion and forums where diverse people can meet and explore our shared interests and concerns, and our diverse outlooks and experiences.

2015 saw the publication of many outstanding non-fiction books involving race: here is a small sampling.

Continue reading “Reading Race: Best Non-Fiction of 2015”

Radical Reading for February

~posted by Diane

I’ve always been proud to have been a college student in the 1970’s when the campuses were hotbeds of protest, hippies, and monumental societal change. Those turbulent and triumphant times written about in recent children’s books allow us to relive those moments with awe. Sometimes children’s books are really best appreciated by adults, especially those of us who lived through it all. They also stand as tributes to the sacrifices and heroism deservedly celebrated during Black History Month. So for adults and children alike, here are some suggestions: Continue reading “Radical Reading for February”