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The theme for Black History Month 2024 is African Americans and the Arts. Our staff are helping you commemorate this month with their picks for books by Black authors and movie by Black directors or Black screenwriters.

Book River
Book River Items

Sorrowland (2021)

by Rivers Solomon

Solomon writes speculative fiction with a vivacity that brings urgency to every chapter. Sorrowland is a reckoning of the United States' history, and all the ways horror that can disguise itself as protection. - Rachel, Access Services

An American Marriage (2018)

by Tayari Jones

This moving book examines the effect of a wrongful conviction on the marriage of a young couple. The novel is moving, well-written, and thought-provoking. - Allison, Hoffman Estates Branch

The Vanishing Half (2020)

by Brit Bennett

This previous One Book, One Community selection is one of my favorite books, addressing themes of identity, family, and the impact of choices. - Allison, Hoffman Estates Branch

Native Son (2005)

by HarperPerennial

I first read Native Son as an assigned book in either middle school or high school. I remember after finishing the book, how deeply it resonated with me. At that age I couldn't comprehend or fully grasp the narrative of the story. Upon reading the book years later as an adult, the novel still had a profound affect, now that I was able to be more cognizant with the challenges that people of color face everyday. I strongly recommend reading Black Boy, also by Richard Wright. - Paul, Reference Services

Jackal (2022)

by Erin E Adams

A young white girl goes missing in the woods during a wedding. But the main character soon finds out that she isn't the first. In fact, young black girls have been going missing in those woods for generations. A terrifying tale of fear and hatred caused by racism and class inequality. - Amanda, Youth Services

Black Panther, Wakanda Forever (2023)

by Walt Disney Pictures

A stunning film, full of adventure as the people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T'Challa. I enjoyed the costuming, editing, and memorial references to Chadwick Boseman. - Janet, Fiction, Movies and Music

The Woman King (2022)

by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. The story line follows the epic journey of General Nanisca, with a stellar performance by Viola Davis. I enjoyed the fabulous costumes and the magnificent portrayal of the training and performance of these women warriors. -Janet, Fiction, Movies and Music

Creed (2016)

by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

In the first installment of the Creed series, the follow-up to the ever-popular Rocky saga, director Ryan Coogler has Michael B. Jordan in the ring as Adonis Johnson, the son of Balboa’s former rival Apollo Creed. Although Johnson never knew his father, he knows deep down that boxing has always been his destiny. So, he seeks out the help of the former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa (a role reprised by the legendary Sylvester Stallone) and asks him to serve as a trainer and mentor to him, to help him prepare for his own shot at a title. - Monica, Fiction, Movies and Music

How to Identify Yourself with a Wound : Poems (2022)

by KB

KB's poetry is intentionally wrought with such care and precision, each poem feels as fragile as paper mache - beautiful and fleeting, but the feeling lingers. - Rachel, Access Services

Grey's Anatomy, The Complete First Seson (2006)

by Touchstone Television

Shonda Rhimes is amazing and worth celebrating. Not only is this woman the Executive Producer of the Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte series on Netflix, she created Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. - Lauren, Hanover Park Branch

Invisible Son (2023)

by Kim Johnson

This was one of my favorite books of 2023. After Andre Jackson was wrongfully accused of a crime, he returns home from juvie only to be thrown into the COVID-19 pandemic while he tries to clear his name and reconnect with his friends. This well-written compelling story was unputdownable. - Allison, Youth Services

Their Vicious Games (2023)

by Joelle Wellington

This gruesome book was WILD. It's not for the faint of heart. I loved it. - Allison, Youth Services

An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017)

by Rivers Solomon

This book is a wonderful coming of age story where afrofuturism meets historical fiction about the Translatlantic Slave Trade meets life in outer space. The characters come from diverse backgrounds, and the author constantly challenges the reader to think about what still needs to change about discrimination in general. - Jennifer, Fiction, Movies and Music

Blackkklansman (2018)

by Focus Features

As the first black detective at the Colorado Springs Police Department, Ron Stallworth is determined to make an impact and a name for himself. His mission is to expose and impinge on the Ku Klux Klan. Partnering with his seasoned co-worker Flip Zimmerman, both detectives work together on an undercover mission that will test and change both of their lives and hopefully result in taking down the extremist hate group that plans to spread as much as possible. This Spike Lee film will make you laugh, cry, and change your perspective on the society you live in today. - Vana, Fiction, Movies and Music