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Moms Must Read: 5 Books That Can Be Read Anytime; Not Just During Black History Month


Moms Must Read: 5 Books That Can Be Read Anytime;
Not Just During Black History Month 

Ok what in the ever loving crazy does that title mean? It means, either A. that yours truly has lost it and GEM hasn’t noticed or B. I’m trying to make a point. The answer is?
I’m trying to make a point. And my point is this: Don’t wait until Black History Month to read a book with an African American main character or author. If you do, you’ll miss out on a whole heap of greatness. The greatness of African American contributions to society and the literary community are vast. There are many varieties and styles of books featuring African Americans. The best thing is, they’re not just for African  Americans; they’re for everyone, so let’s take a look. Following are 5 books that you don’t need to wait until Black History Month (BHM) to read; surely you’ll find one to suit your reading palette. 

1. The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince 
by Mayte Garcia


It’s hard to believe that The Purple One has  been gone a year, but it’s true. Here’s a book written by his ex-wife, Mayte, about her life with him during the apex of his career.

No one else can tell this story or can provide a deeper, more nuanced portrait of Prince–both the famously private man and the pioneering, beloved artist–than Mayte, his partner during some of the most pivotal personal and professional years of his career. The Most Beautiful is a book that will be returned to for decades, as Prince’s music lives on with generations to come.

Any glimpse into the mind of Prince is ok by me.  Due in April. Can’t wait!

Read More: Smack In The Middle: In Life And In Death, What Is It About The Things We Keep? 


2.  The Youngest Marcher:
The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks,
a Young Civil Rights Activist 

by Cynthia Levinson

Finally! A book about civil rights for the kiddos!
Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else.
So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il!
This book looks too cute. I love the idea of hearing about the Birmingham marches from a little one’s perspective. Great for teaching kids of all ages. 

3. Hidden Figures:
The American Dream and the Untold Story of the
Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
 by Margot Lee Shetterly

Really? You haven’t read this yet? Didn’t I tell you about it last fall? One of the most important science events in history and it involved Black women!

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space.
Among these problem solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly these overlooked math whizzes had shots at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia, and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.


What’s not to love about this story? It’s a story that everyone can get behind; it’s hella good. I know you saw the movie; let’s read the book together, ok? P.S. There’s a Pammy Pam connection; ask me how. 

Read More: Mom’s Must Read: 5 Books About Bullying


4. I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons
 by Kevin Hart 

Who doesn’t love Kevin Hart? He’s everyone’s bff, right? Did you know he had a rough start? 

It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys.

The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media (where Hart has a following of over 100 million, by the way).

Hart is always funny, and I’m pretty sure we could all learn a lesson or two from this resilient man. And probably laugh or cry a bit too. 

Read More: Moms Must Read: From Fiction to Film, Who Does it Better?

5.  Another Brooklyn:
A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson

All Jackie all the time is my motto. Anything Woodson writes is sure to be good. Another Brooklyn has been on my TBR list since last fall.  

Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.
But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.
Always timely and always going for the feels, Woodson makes you look at childhood and Brooklyn differently. 
 There you have it. Five books written by African Americans that aren’t just for African Americans. Remember books by people of color are windows into the lives of others and mirrors that provide a reflection into our own eyes. To be sure, you might not be African American and might not have grown up in Brooklyn, but maybe you experienced a traumatic event as a teen. Surely there’s something in Woodson’s book that you might be able to relate to? That’s why These books are for everyone.
And since you asked, what’s the Pammy Pam connection to Hidden Figures? Well, a long time ago the women from Hidden Figures were part of the Space Task Group in Langley. That group eventually moved to Houston and became The Johnson Space Center, where Mission Control is. Yours truly worked for NASA in a division that supported what is now the International Space Station.  I was not a human computer but the connection and my love for NASA is pretty interesting, right? My heart swole at watching the women help John Glenn. 

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