We invite you to join us in celebrating Black History Month, where we recognize the accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans throughout our nation’s history, as well as pay tribute to their experiences and struggles in the face of adversity. As part of this annual observance, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), designates a theme – and this year’s theme is African Americans and the Arts.
It is in this spirit of highlighting art infused with African, Caribbean and the Black American lived experiences in the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression that we are sharing some of our leisure reading titles by Black authors from our Braxton Popular Reading Collection.
- Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin (Artist): This graphic novel explores a Black family living in America in 2020, and is a collaboration between the poetry of Jason Reynolds and art of Jason Griffin. Kirkus Reviews says this title is “a profound visual testimony to how much changed while we all had to stay inside and how much—painfully, mournfully—stayed the same.”
- Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi: A boarding school! Romance! Art as activism! Amazing side characters! This novel has it all and is a quick read!
- When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo: Banwo’s debut novel was named a Best Book of 2022 by The Economist. Set in Trinidad, this much anticipated novel intertwines magical realism with romance and mystery.
- Grand Union by Zadie Smith: This collection of 19 short stories from a critically acclaimed author spans intricately across genres, space and time. Ranging from political commentary to dystopia to even humor at times, each story is a unique experience and an interesting read.
You can browse these titles, along with others by Black authors, at our mini book display on Mudd 2, in the Braxton Popular Reading Collection. This book display will be available until February 28, 2024.
The Braxton Popular Reading Collection is managed by Kendra Macomber, Interim Head of Research Services, and Carolyn Downey, Teaching & Outreach Librarian. If you have questions about the Black History Month mini book display or about the Braxton collection in general, please feel free to reach out to them by email.