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Local book lovers share recommendations for Black History Month

Two stacks of books frame an open laptop, with an open book and its pages sitting atop the keys. The tall stacks of library bookshelves are blurry in the distance.
Vermont Edition's winter book show returns, with a special focus on books by Black authors.

February is Black History Month. It’s also a perfect time to get warm by a fire with a good book. Vermont Edition's latest winter books show focused on books that illuminate the Black experience, explain key historical moments, and uplift Black voices.

We compiled book recommendations from our listeners, as well as our panel of guests: young adult author Kekla Magoon, spoken word poet, author and emcee Rajnii Eddins, and Oceana Wilson, the president of the Vermont Library Association and Bennington College's library dean. Here they are in no particular order.

  • Black Birds in the Sky by Brandy Colbert
  • Black Enough by Ibi Zoboi
  • Jump In by Shadra Strickland
  • Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and into Legend by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
  • Lush Lives by J. Vanessa Lyon
  • Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class by Larry Tye
  • How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair
  • Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney
  • Ralph Ellison: a Biography by Arnold Rampersad
  • A Pure Solar World : Sun Ra and the Birth of Afrofuturism by Paul Youngquist
  • Crusade for Justice by Ida B Wells
  • Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou
  • Still True: The Evolution of an Unexpected Journalist by Reagan E. Jackson
  • Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
  • The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is
  • With Head and Heart: The Autobiography of Howard Thurman
  • May We Forever Stand by Imani Perry
  • I Write What I Like by Steve Biko
  • Here I Stand by Paul Robeson
  • Jimmy's Blues by James Baldwin
  • Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism and Mothering by Rachel E. Harding and Rosemarie Freeney Harding
  • Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary by Jasmine Guy
  • Death Of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime that Changed America by Mamie Till-Mobley
  • Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings
  • One Touch Blue by Randee Eddinns
  • Their Names Are Mine by Rajnii Eddins
  • This Is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets edited by Kwame Alexander
  • Be A Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Sing A Black Girl's Song: The Unpublished Work of Ntozake Shange
  • The Living Wisdom of Howard Thurman
  • Generations: A Memoir by Lucille Clifton
  • Sweat the Technique: Revelations on Creativity from the Lyrical Genius by Rakim
  • Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
  • Begin Again by Eddie Glaude Jr.
  • The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped A Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs
  • Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literature by Gholdy Muhammad
  • Horse by Geraldine Brooks
  • The Book of Delights and How to Love the World by Ross Gay
  • The Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin
  • The Black Woods: Pursuing Racial Justice on the Adirondack Frontier by Amy Godine
  • Big Machine by Victor LaValle
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty
  • Soil: The Story of a Black Mother's Garden by Camille Dungy
  • Friday Black and Chain Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
  • Between the World and Me and The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson
  • Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
  • Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon
  • How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
  • Ketanji: Justice Jackson's Journey to the U.S. Supreme Court by Kekla Magoon
  • X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
  • Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision by Barbara Ransby
  • Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC
  • Plus, The Brown Book Series

Broadcast at noon Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments, or tips? Send us a message or check us out on Instagram.

Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Tedra joined Vermont Public as a producer for Vermont Edition in January 2022 and now serves as the Managing Editor and Senior Producer. Before moving to Vermont, she was a journalist in New York City for 20 years. She has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University.