It’s back to class for millions of students this time of year. Whether it’s Kindergarten, grade school or college, this is a time of year when bookstores and online retailers highlight the best reads of the season. Here are a few recommendations for readers of all levels.
1. A Is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu
From A to Z, stunning color photographs depict everyday life in Nigeria, where the author-photographer grew up—but the images pictured also represent the rich diversity of Africa, and the warm family ties and traditional village life found throughout this vast colorful continent.”
2. Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it’s about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it’s about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It’s a story of discrimination and broken promises, determination, and triumphs.”
3. Nelson Beats the Odds and Tameka’s New Dress by Ronnie Sidney II
Ronnie Sidney II’s academic challenges encouraged him to share his story through writing. His first published book, “Nelson Beats the Odds” features a young boy who overcomes his learning disability and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). His second book, “Tameka’s New Dress” is about a young girl overcoming bullying and trauma. The next book, “Rest in Peace RaShawn,” also discusses trauma as well as police brutality. These heavy topics are all too real for many children, which is why Ronnie’s books speak to so many people. He shares his story of resilience and his constant mission to inspire others.”
4. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Already in development to be a motion picture starring Amandla Steinberg and Regina Hall, The Hate You Give is a timely YA fiction work.” Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gang banger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.”
5. Solemn by Kalisha Buckhanon
The latest novel from Kalisha Buckhanon, author of Upstate, is Solemn. “Solemn Redvine is a precocious Mississippi girl who senses a nearby baby may be her half-sibling: the outcome of her father’s mistakes with a married woman who lives in their trailer park. After Solemn witnesses a man throws the baby down a community well, she struggles to understand the event, leaving her forever changed.
As Solemn finds refuge in fantasies of stardom as well as friendships with her brother’s wife and a nearby girl, the ill-fated baby’s doomed mother disappears without a trace. Solemn remains trapped by connections to the missing other woman and an honest cop who suspects more to the story than others on the small local police force want to see. When her father’s next mistake – a robbery – lands Solemn in a group home for troubled girls, she meets a Chicago delinquent who wants to escape. There, Solemn must face the truth of who she really is and what she is really made of.”
6. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Some how, in between writing Between the World and Me and the current Black Panther comics for Marvel, Ta-Nehisi Coates managed to scribe this forthcoming book. “We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.”