Black History Month reading recommendations from MetroWest bookstores

February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on the United States’ continued fight for racial justice and to celebrate Black Americans’ cultural contributions and achievements.

And what better way to mark the occasion than by picking up a book?

From children’s picture books to adult literature, there are countless such that offer readers a chance to explore complicated facets of American history and learn about the increasingly diverse world around them.

The Daily News asked several local bookstores and librarians for their top Black History Month reading recommendations. Here’s what they suggested (and where you can find a copy):

‘Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race’ by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli and Isabel Roxas

This book makes the perfect starting place for teaching children about race, according to Alyson Cox, owner of independent book store Word on the Street in Marlborough.

Photos:Word on the Street — a new bookshop — opens in Marlborough

“As the author points out, ‘Children notice a lot — including skin color, race, and even injustice and racism,’” Cox said. “It seems to me that we can inspire good citizens by meeting kids where they’re at, talking about their experiences, and exploring ways to be accepting and kind, which is exactly what this book does.”

Available in board book or hardcover picture book (for $8.09 and $13.49, respectively) at Word on the Street, 109 Main St., Marlborough.

The front window display at Word on the Street book store in Marlborough celebrates Black History Month, Feb. 8, 2022.

‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ by Rebecca Skloot

The central question in this fascinating nonfiction, according to Leah Yerre, owner of Aesop’s Fable bookstore in Holliston: “How can a woman who is partially responsible for one of the most significant advances in medicine be totally unknown and totally uncompensated for her contribution?”

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot

“Written in an easy to read, journalistic style, the story of Henrietta and her family will pull you in immediately,” Yerre said. “A little bit of science, a little bit of history, a commentary on social and racial justice, this true account about the origin of HeLa cells is both eye opening and shocking.”

Available for $16 at Aesop’s Fable, 400 Washington St. Suite 200, Holliston.

‘The Reluctant Royals’ (series) by Alyssa Cole

“I feel strongly that it’s just as important to read about Black lives as it is to read anti-racism texts, and this is a series of modern fairytales with complex, truly delightful characters who win your heart even as they continue to surprise and charm you,” explained Miki Wolfe, director of Natick’s Morse Institute Library.

With three full-length novels and two novellas, the contemporary romance series has stories to suit a variety of readers, Wolfe said.

Series available through the Minuteman Library Network.

“Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi

‘Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America’ by Ibram X. Kendi

“This is a book everyone should read to understand the origins and motives behind racist sentiments,” Yerre said. Don’t be too intimidated by its size — it’s a comprehensive but fast-paced read, she added.

Kendi also teamed up with fellow author Jason Reynolds to create editions appropriate for teens (“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You”) and early middle grade readers (“Stamped (for Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You”).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.