Celebrating Black History Month at Piscataway Public Library!


Black History Month is a monumental celebration of African Americans’ achievements and their primary role in American history. The rich legacy of African Americans is highlighted in a number of events held this month across the country. Also, contemporary literature that exhibits how impactful Black stories and works are every day plays a large role in Black History Month. The Piscataway Public Library will be presenting in our 2nd Annual African American Read-In on February 20 at 10:30am. The African American Read-In is a nationwide initiative created by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English which encourages communities to come together to read and discuss notable works about African Americans and works written by Black authors. Piscataway Public Library and Franklin Township Public Library are happy to support Black Excellence, a program presented by the National Council of Negro Women, Raritan Valley Section on February 13 at 10am. Sylvia Cyrus, Executive Director of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the organization that founded Black History Month will be the keynote speaker. To register for Black Excellence, click here. To register for our 2nd Annual African American Read-In, click here.

With so much to look forward to, the Piscataway Public Library has a number of books and ebooks available to check out and read for Black History Month! Whether you are looking for biographies of and by African Americans or award-winning fiction and nonfiction titles written by Black authors, we have you covered!


Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Wallace, living in a Midwestern university town working toward his biochemistry degree, must deal with the troubles of being Black and queer. He has left his family behind and must handle the reality of his inescapable childhood. In addition, Wallace finds himself in a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with a young straight man, conspiring to fracture his defenses, while revealing hidden currents of resentment and desire that threaten the equilibrium of their community. 

This title is also available as a downloadable ebook.


The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vignes twins, growing up together in a small, southern black community, both run away at sixteen years old and find themselves living alternate lives, one as a Black woman and the other passing for White. The Vanishing Half highlights how the past often “shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.”

This title is also available as a downloadable ebook.


Deacon King Kong by James McBride

An old church deacon finds himself at the center of a homicide in 1969 South Brooklyn when he murders the project’s drug dealer. Deacon King Kong explores the lives of those affected by the shooting, including the victim, witnesses, white neighbors, and the Brooklyn police. As all of their lives seem to overlap unexpectedly,  McBride’s writes a novel about fear, compassion, and love that drives home the idea that change can only occur when we are not afraid to grow as a nation.

This title is also available as a downloadable ebook.


The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories by Danielle Evans

With a strong and explosive voice, Danielle Evan’s series of stories detail moments in her character’s lives that speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history cause readers to come to terms with the “truths of American history —about who gets to tell them, and the cost of setting the record straight.” 


The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

In 1960’s Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy. When he meets Turner and their ideas about the world clash, a decision is made between the two that forces them to face consequences that not only affect them but African Americans for decades to come.

This title is also available as a downloadable ebook.


Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi 

Kendi’s New York Times Bestselling Book exposes the history behind racist ideas and how these ideas are deeply rooted in our history. By discussing five of America’s major intellectuals’ role in racist ideals, highlighting the power of racism that drove our history, and tools to expose racist thinking, Kendi leaves readers with a reason to hope for better.

This title is also available as a downloadable ebook.

Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City by Wes Moore
After being arrested by police for the possession of an “illegal knife,” Freddie Gray is thrown into a police vehicle where, by the end of the trip, he lies in a coma, resulting in his death. In a story that focuses on the effects of police brutality, this event that occurred in April 2015 resulted in protests, eventual riots, and a call for change. As “one of the most consequential moments in our recent history,” Freddie Gray’s story brought together a city and nation overnight.
This title is also available as a downloadable ebook.

Our Children’s Services Department has pulled together some lists of great books for kids here. Make sure to check out the Piscataway Public Library’s catalog for other resources for Black History Month including audiobooks, films, and more!

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