Five books you need to read: A celebration of Black History Month


Anjali Kota

One way to celebrate Black History Month is to read books by Black authors.

Anjali Kota, Managing Editor

February is arriving soon, and with that comes Black History Month. There are many ways to support Black individuals during Black History Month, and one way is through reading books by Black authors. Each of these books also feature Black or biracial main characters.

Below, you will find a diverse list of young adult (YA) titles, with genres from fiction to fantasy. Each book on this list is available at the DGS library except for the last one on the list.

1. “Cinderella is Dead” by Kalynn Bayron is a retelling of the popular fairy tale, Cinderella. In this fairy tale however, it has been 200 years since the story of Cinderella took place. This book follows a Black teenage girl named Sophie, who is to be presented at the ball along with the other girls for the men of the kingdom to choose wives based on finery.

Sophie just wants to marry her best friend, Erin, so she runs away from the ball and instead bumps into Constance, Cinderella’s last known descendent, and together, they vow to take down the monarchy. In the process however, they learn more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew was there.

More about this book: “Cinderella is Dead ” is a unique retelling of the classic tale that includes LGBTQ+ representation.

2. “Ace of Spades” by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé follows two main characters, Devon and Chiamaka, who attend an elite prep school. The former is Black and the latter is biracial. Devon is a talented musician, whereas Chiamaka is the Head Girl and “queen bee.” Devon and Chiamaka are forced to team up to face a cyberbully, Aces, who threatens to bring both of their secrets to light.

More about this book: “Ace of Spades” is a thriller with LGBTQ+ representation whose characters face the effects of overwhelming white supremacy. There are numerous secrets that keep the reader on the edge of their seat, turning page after page of shocking revelations.

3. “Grown” by Tiffany D. Jackson explores how young black women may be exploited in this novel that follows aspiring singer Enchanted Jones. When Enchanted is spotted by popular music artist Korey Fields at an audition, he takes her under his wing with the pretense of making her into a star.

However, on the day that Korey Fields is found dead, Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and no recollection of what happened.

More about this book: “Grown” is a heart-wrenching thriller on the surface, but deeper, this book deals with much harder topics such as sexual assault and grooming.

4. “The Gilded Ones” by Namina Forna focuses on a community where red blood indicates purity and gold blood indicates impurity and denotes that individual as a demon. When Deka’s blood runs gold during the blood ceremony, she becomes an outcast at the hands of her unaccepting village.

However, a mysterious woman offers her a place among the elite female warriors, who protect the empire and fight for the emperor called Alaki.

More about this book: “The Gilded Ones” is a fast-paced high fantasy read with elaborate world building and a diverse cast of characters.

5. “Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry” by Joya Goffney is a coming-of-age romance novel revolving around main character Quinn, who writes about everything in her journal, including lists she would never say out loud.

However, the journal goes missing, those lists start to show up posted on an anonymous account as blackmail and she is forced to team up with the person last seen with her journal, Carter Bennet.

More about this book: Though “Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry” follows the overarching patterns of a classic YA romance, the growth that both characters exhibit by the end of the book is rewarding to see.