Black History Month
It’s February! Beyond celebrating the wintery weather, super great for this Michigan girl, 2024’s Black History Month is being celebrated across the country in homes, schools, libraries, and museums. The theme of ”African Americans and the Arts” takes the forefront in our public spaces with The National Museum of African American History and Culture “highlighting the ‘art of resistance’ and the artists who used their crafts to uplift the race, speak truth to power and inspire a nation.” The Smithsonian is focusing on “the many impacts Black Americans have had on visual arts, music, cultural movements, and more.” Here at Manhattan Public Library, we will have several book displays throughout the library and have created multiple booklists located in our library catalog and the Beanstack app. Below is a summary of those lists and some of the books that will be included.
Catalog booklists can be found on our catalog page and are changed monthly. These lists are created by library staff to reflect current trends, monthly themes, and events. To explore these lists fully, visit https://catalog.manhattan.lib.ks.us/polaris/default.aspx.
All information about these books has been taken from our catalog.
Adult fiction: These books can be found in our fiction section located on the first floor of the library.
“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett:
“The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a
small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white.”
“My Sister the Serial Killer: A Novel” by Oyinkan Braithwaite:
“Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends. Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic.”
Adult non-fiction: These books can be found in our nonfiction section located on the second floor of the library.
“A fun and fact-filled introduction to the dismissed Black art masters and models who shook up the world. Elegant. Refined. Exclusionary. Interrupted.”
“By Her Own Design: A Novel of Ann Lowe, Fashion Designer to the Social Register” by Piper Huguley:
“A Black designer who has fought every step of the way, Ann knows this is only one struggle after a lifetime of them. She and her seamstresses will find the way to re-create the dresses.”
Beanstack booklists can be found on, you guessed it, the Beanstack App. These lists are also created by staff monthly and more closely reflect the happenings in the library. You will find lists for children, young adults, and adults covering a wide range of topics both fiction and nonfiction. All information for these books has been taken from our catalog.
Picture Books: These books can be found in the Children’s Library on the picture book shelves, on the first floor of the library.
“The ABCs of Black History” by Rio Cortez; pictures by Lauren Semmer:
“B is for Beautiful, Brave, and Bright! Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy.”
“Maya’s Song” by Renée Watson; illustrated by Bryan Collier:
“This unforgettable picture book introduces young readers to the life and work of Maya Angelou, whose words have uplifted and inspired generations of readers…Maya was the first Black person and first woman to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration, and her influence echoes through culture and history.”
Kindergarten-5th Grade: These books can be found in the Children’s Library in the children’s history neighborhood, on the first floor of the library.
“Young Gifted and Black” by Jamia Wilson; illustrated by Andrea Pippins:
“Join us on a journey across borders, through time and even through space to meet 52 icons of color from the past and present in a celebration of achievement. Discover how their childhood dreams and experiences influenced their adult achievements.”
“28 Days” by Charles R. Smith, Jr.; illustrated by Shane W. Evans
“The 28 days of Black History Month are commemorated with descriptions of the men, women and events that have been vital in defining our understanding of African-American history. The entries move chronologically from 1770 to the present, and encompass all walks of life.”
Young Adult: These books can be found in our Young Adult section located on the second floor of the library.
“Forever Is Now” by Mariama J. Lockington:
“When sixteen-year-old Sadie, a Black bisexual recluse, develops agoraphobia the summer before her junior year, she relies on her best friend, family, and therapist to overcome her fears. Not feeling safe anywhere, Sadie retreats inside herself.”
“Love Is a Revolution” by Renée Watson
“Harlem teenager Nala is looking forward to a summer of movies and ice cream until she falls in love with the very woke Tye and pretends to be a social activist. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.”
If you need instructions on how to get Beanstack or you want to sign up for our current reading challenges: Cozy Up with a Good Book (Kinder-Adult) or 1000 Books Before Kindergarten (0-Kinder), visit us at https://mhklibrary.beanstack.org/reader365. I hope you find the time to visit our displays and check out our lists.
Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Learn more at mhklibrary.org.
# # #
by Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian