Awoke Reading: Celebrating African American History Month | Wyatt’s World

With the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture hosting record crowds, and a swath of important achievements by various artists and authors, Black History Month is particularly meaningful this year. Librarians can draw attention to the celebrations with displays, reading lists, and book-club discussions. Here are five titles to consider including in those offerings.

  • I Am Not Your Negro: A Companion Edition to the mylife.jpg2317Documentary Film Directed by Raoul Peck by James Baldwin & Raoul Peck (Vintage).
    A book to read alongside the Oscar-nominated documentary of the same name, this volume gathers passages from Baldwin’s most powerful texts.
  • Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia E. Butler & others (Abrams).
    Butler’s harrowing story about a black woman transported back in time to the antebellum South has been adapted into graphic novel format by Damian Duffy and John Jennings, serving as a brilliant ode to the original.
  • My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King & Barbara Reynolds (Holt).
    In the form of an oral history told to lifelong friend and journalist Reynolds comes King’s (1927–2006) life story. A woman with dreams and ambitions, which are detailed here, King documents the era in which she lived and struggled.
  • March. Bk. Three by John Lewis & others (Top Shelf).
    Congressman Lewis is back in the news for a range of reasons; he’s recently made history by winning four American Library Association awards in a single year, a feat never before achieved. This concluding volume to his graphic novel trilogy, cocreated with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, and the winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, delivers stirring, powerful, and essential reading.
  • Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (Morrow). The basis for the 2016 hit movie, this remarkable and fascinating account brings much-needed, long-overdue attention to the black women mathematicians who helped advance America’s space program.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at