The 8 Best Books to Read for Black History Month

Celebrate Black authors with your next book pick.

black history month books

There are many ways to celebrate and recognize Black History Month, which takes place every February. Intended to honor the achievements of Black Americans throughout history, it's the perfect time to see Black-focused museum exhibits or film screenings, or read a book written by a Black author.

What books should be read for Black History Month?

Popular Black History Month books include The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. However, even if you've already read most of the best-known Black authors, there are still plenty more books to choose from!

If you want a newer or lesser known book to read for Black History Month, below are 8 books we wholeheartedly recommend.

the peach seed, a book to read for black history month

The Peach Seed

By Anita Gail Jones

When Fletcher Duke goes to the Piggy Wiggly and sees a woman with a strawberry-shaped birthmark on the back of her neck, he immediately knows it's Altovise Benson, a woman who he would have married in another life. A sweeping story of a lost love, a family tradition, and a parable about hope, this is an excellent pick for Black History Month. 

“Jones debuts with a layered saga of a Southern Black family that weaves stories of the slave trade and the 1960s civil rights movement....[she] manages to tie together the themes of ancestral heritage and the persistent power of love.” ―Publishers Weekly

one blood denene millner

One Blood

By Denene Millner

This sprawling saga of three generations of women "sings the song of the South in a voice that is heartbreaking, hopeful, and resilient” (Tara M. Stringfellow, National Bestselling author of Memphis).

Beginning during the Great Migration and then covering the civil unrest of the 1960s and the intersectional feminist movement of the early 2000s, this is a story that is powerful, poetic, and told with passion.

the house of broken bricks, a black history month book

The House of Broken Bricks

By Fiona Williams

The House of Broken Bricks may not be available for purchase until April, but we've added it to this list anyway—you won't want to miss it.

Tessa has Jamaican ancestry but lives in London. Or she did until she fell in love with Richard and moved with him to the English countryside, where the busses only run twice per day and no one else looks like her. Things only become more tense after their twins are born with different pigments—one presents as Black, the other white. 

“I've lost count of the number of pitch-perfect sentences in The House of Broken Bricks that I wanted to steal – a wonderful debut that is brave in its deep truths about loss and love in us and the promise of sunshine on even the darkest days.” —Ingrid Persaud, author of Love after Love

maame, a black history month book


By Jessica George

A Read With Jenna Book Club Pick, this story follows Maddy, who cares for her father in London while her overbearing mother manages to nitpick on her all the way from Ghana. Her work life isn't much easier, with a nightmare boss and an all-white office.

So when her mother finally returns, Maddy seizes the opportunity to move out and start saying yes to more opportunities. But then tragedy strikes, and Maddy is forced to make some bigger decisions.

"An utterly charming and deeply moving portrait of the joys—and the guilt—of trying to find your own way in life." —Celeste Ng



By Margaret Walker

If you missed this classic novel, there's no time like the present to cross it off your TBR list. Jubilee is inspired by the true story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress. Combining her family history with decades of research, Margaret Walker gives us astonishing insights into the history of American slavery.



By Nella Larsen

One of the best-known authors from the Harlem Renaissance is Nella Larsen, and for good reason. While her novel Passing is her most popular, this gripping tale is also worth reading. 

1920s, Georgia. Half white, half Black, Helga Crane is a teacher at a Black college, and engaged to marry a fellow teacher. Yet she isn't truly happy, and decides to break off the relationship and leave for Illinois. So begins a pattern of not fitting in. Helga tries to find herself in Chicago, then Harlem, then Europe—but it seems that being both free and spiritually satisfied may be an impossible task.

The Color of Love

The Color of Love

By Marra B. Gad

In 1970, Marra B. Gad was born to a Black father and white Jewish mother, and then adopted by a white Jewish family. Though her adoptive parents loved her deeply, the rest of the world could be cruel—in Black spaces Marra wasn't considered Black enough; in Jewish circles, she was mistaken for the help.

Marra's parents cut off all relatives who didn't accept her, including their Great Aunt Nette. But when Nette developed Alzheimer's, the disease also erased her racism, making room for a relationship that couldn't exist before.

Fascinating, heartwarming and heartwrenching, this is a memoir that explores identity, disease, hate, and love.



By Pamela Newkirk

A horrifying yet vital read, Spectacle tells the true story of Ota Benga, a young African man who was put on display in the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and was then caged with an orangutan at the New York Zoological Gardens. 

“Deeply researched and thoughtful. . . . Writing with precision and moral clarity, Newkirk indicts a civilization whose ‘cruelty was cloaked in civility,’ leaving us to examine its remnants.” —Boston Globe