Written by Lauren

It’s February, which means it’s Black History Month in the United States and Canada, a celebration and recognition of Black culture and history and its enduring legacy in lands far removed from the African continent.

At the ABC, we’ve put together a list of reading recommendations for Black History Month that you can find here.

We’ve also asked our booksellers and buyers to dive a little deeper into their personal favorites, which include works from the wider African diaspora. Here are their picks.


So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Of all the books I have read on this topic, this one really stands out. The writing is extremely accessible and presents a good balance between the author’s personal experiences and cold, hard facts—backed up by data. I also really appreciate Oluo’s focus on intersectionality: she frequently talks not just about  race, but its intersection with gender, sexuality, wealth, ability and other factors that contribute to someone’s life experiences. A highly recommended title for anyone looking to start their antiracism education.


Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
This book revealed to me for the first time, as a young woman raised in an all-white environment, how systemic racism is.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This author presented her book at a John Adams Institute event before it was even published. The author, a white college girl, returns to her hometown and interviews Black women about their work as household help. Illuminating on so many levels.

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
A new novel, tipped to me by a good friend as the best book she’s read all year. It is all that— fiction based on history, earthy, inclusive, resonant. A beauty of a book. 5-stars.


Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This is an excellent book about a very Catholic family, the effects of colonialism and a girl’s understanding of religion, abuse, freedom and the difference between poverty and wealth—with a military coup and the corruption of a country serving as the backdrop.


I nominate Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge because it brings the topic and problem of systemic racism firmly into European borders. I found it made the issue tangible to me, much more so than all those excellent US authored books on race. Its clear and modern writing style really also helped!


Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo
An Animal Farm-ish look at Zimbabwe from the author who grew up there but moved to Michigan at the age of 18. Brilliant!

Americanah or anything by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Cowslip: A Slave by Betsy Haynes
When I read this YA book in 1974, one year after it was published by Scholastic, it changed my worldview forever. I was 10-years-old, and this may have been my first introduction to the practice of slavery in the US, my home country. I was beyond shocked to learn that people were not free, that they were bought and sold—at auctions!—separated from their families, all because the color of their skin. I do believe it has a positive ending—I honestly don’t remember any more—but I’m thrilled to see it’s still in print and available at ABC.
My 10-year-old self inscribed in the cover: “This is the best book I ever read. I will pass it on to my children.” Maybe you want to pass it on to yours?