Black History Month: Friendship, Family, and Romance

Will Harlan | February 8, 2021



Black History Month: Friendship, Family, and Romance

We are celebrating Black History Month with weekly reading recommendation lists throughout February. This list features books about friendship, family, and romance for readers of all ages. Each book is available through the Minuteman Library Network. All you need is your library card!

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Black History Month: Friendship, Family, and Romance — books by or Black creators which celebrate friendship, family, and romance


The Worst Best Man

Mia Sosa

USA TODAY BESTSELLER! "A romantic comedy that's fun and flirty, young and fresh." – PopSugar One of Oprah Magazine's 21 Romance Novels That Are Set to Be the Best of 2020, EW's 20 New Books to Read in February, and PopSugar's 25 Brilliant New Books Hitting Shelves. A LibraryReads Pick for February and Amazon Best Romance of the Month! Mia Sosa delivers a sassy, steamy #ownvoices enemies-to-lovers novel, perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory, Helen Hoang, and Sally Thorne! A wedding planner left at the altar? Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials. Marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him. If they can nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own. Soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again... "The Worst Best Man is rom-com perfection. . . Sosa has a gift with words that’s infectious and wry, one that keeps the pages turning in delight." — Entertainment Weekly

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Bingo Love Volume 1: Jackpot Edition

Tee Franklin, Marguerite Bennett, Gail Simone, Shawn Pryor

When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-'60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage. This Jackpot Edition contains over SIXTY PAGES of bonus material, including the talents of MARGUERITE BENNETT (Batwoman) and newcomer BEVERLY JOHNSON, SHAWN PRYOR (Cash and Carrie) and PAULINA GANUCHEAU (Zodiac Starforce), award-winning historical romance author ALYSSA COLE's comics writing debut with SHAE BEAGLE (MOONSTRUCK), GAIL SIMONE (CROSSWIND) and MARGAUX SALTEL (Superfreaks), and AMANDA DEIBERT (Wonder Woman '77) and CAT STAGGS (CROSSWIND), with illustrations from MEGAN HUTCHINSON (ROCKSTARS) and ARIELA KRISTANTINA (InSeXts). Plus a sneak peek of BINGO LOVE, VOL. 2: DEAR DIARY, with an afterword from GABBY RIVERA (America).

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Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Talia Hibbert

“Absolutely charming... a flawless balance of humor, heat, sweetness, and depth, and I loved every page.” – Helen Hoang, USA Today bestselling author of The Bride Test USA TODAY BESTSELLER A witty, hilarious romantic comedy about a woman who’s tired of being “boring” and recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbor to help her experience new things—perfect for fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang! Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items? Enjoy a drunken night out. Ride a motorcycle. Go camping. Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex. Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage. And... do something bad. But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job. Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit. But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior… "This is an extraordinary book, full of love, generosity, kindness and sharp humor." — The New York Times Book Review *Featured on the TODAY Show! Named a Best Romance of 2019 by Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Apple, and Amazon, and Best of November from Essence, Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Buzzfeed, Popsugar, Bustle, Bookish, Bookpage, Entertainment Weekly, and Washington Post*

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Girl, Woman, Other

Bernardine Evaristo

BRITISH BOOK AWARDS AUTHOR & FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020 WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019 THE SUNDAY TIMES 1# BESTSELLER 'The most absorbing book I read all year.' Roxane Gay ____________________________ This is Britain as you've never read it. This is Britain as it has never been told. From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, Girl, Woman, Other follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through this country and the last hundred years. They're each looking for something - a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope . . . ____________________________ '[Bernardine Evaristo] is one of the very best that we have' Nikesh Shukla on Twitter 'A choral love song to black womanhood in modern Great Britain' Elle 'Beautifully interwoven stories of identity, race, womanhood, and the realities of modern Britain. The characters are so vivid, the writing is beautiful and it brims with humanity' Nicola Sturgeon on Twitter 'Bernardine Evaristo can take any story from any time and turn it into something vibrating with life' Ali Smith, author of How to be both 'Exceptional. You have to order it right now' Stylist 'Sparkling, inventive' Sunday Times

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Not So Pure and Simple

Lamar Giles

An Indie Next List Pick! In his first contemporary teen novel, critically acclaimed author and two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles spotlights the consequences of societal pressure, confronts toxic masculinity, and explores the complexity of what it means to be a “real man.” Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge. His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed. With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?

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The Black Kids

Christina Hammonds Reed

A New York Times bestseller “Should be required reading in every classroom.” —Nic Stone, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin “A true love letter to Los Angeles.” —Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of Little & Lion “A brilliantly poetic take on one of the most defining moments in Black American history.” —Tiffany D. Jackson, author of Grown and Monday’s Not Coming Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots. Los Angeles, 1992 Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer. Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids. As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson. With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

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Your Corner Dark

Desmond Hall

American Street meets Long Way Down in this searing and gritty debut novel that takes an unflinching look at the harsh realities of gang life in Jamaica and how far a teen is willing to go for family. Things can change in a second: The second Frankie Green gets that scholarship letter, he has his ticket out of Jamaica. The second his longtime crush, Leah, asks him on a date, he’s in trouble. The second his father gets shot, suddenly nothing else matters. And the second Frankie joins his uncle’s gang in exchange for paying for his father’s medical bills, there’s no going back...or is there? As Frankie does things he never thought he’d be capable of, he’s forced to confront the truth of the family and future he was born into—and the ones he wants to build for himself.

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Love Is a Revolution

Renée Watson

From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Renée Watson comes a love story about not only a romantic relationship but how a girl finds herself and falls in love with who she really is. When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani's birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He's perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery. In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. 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. In Love Is a Revolution, plus size girls are beautiful and get the attention of the hot guys, the popular girl clique is not shallow but has strong convictions and substance, and the ultimate love story is not only about romance but about how to show radical love to the people in your life, including to yourself.

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The True Definition of Neva Beane

Christine Kendall

Twelve-year-old Neva and her older brother Clayton have been left with their grandparents for the summer, and she is having a difficult time dealing with change: the changes to her body, changes with her relationships with her brother who is becoming involved with social activism and their multicultural community (and with Michelle, the sexy girl across the street), and with her best friend, Jamila, whose father is from Ghana--Neva is growing up and she is not sure that the dictionary has the right words to describe everything she is experiencing.

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Twins (Twins #1)

Varian Johnson

Coretta Scott King Honor author Varian Johnson teams up with rising cartoonist Shannon Wright for a delightful middle-grade graphic novel!

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As Brave As You

Jason Reynolds

"When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires--literally"--

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Blended

Sharon M. Draper

Eleven-year-old Isabella’s blended family is more divided than ever in this thoughtful story about divorce and racial identity from the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper. Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves. Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole? It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.

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I Love You More Than . . .

Taye Diggs

My child. I am not always with you as much as I’d like. But you are always in my mind and my heart. Some families look different than others. A father who doesn’t live full-time with his son tells him all the ways he misses and loves him. I Love You More Than ... by Taye Diggs, illustrated by Shane W. Evans, is perfect for families who are separated, whatever the circumstances. Its message of love underscores the bond between parent and child in ways that little ones will understand.

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Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel

Nikki Grimes

Spunky third-grader Dyamonde Daniel misses her old neighborhood, but when she befriends a boy named Free, another new student at school, she finally starts to feel at home.

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The Red Pencil

Andrea Davis Pinkney

"Amira, look at me," Muma insists.She collects both my hands in hers."The Janjaweed attack without warning.If ever they come-- run." Finally, Amira is twelve. Old enough to wear a toob, old enough for new responsibilities. And maybe old enough to go to school in Nyala-- Amira's one true dream. But life in her peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when the Janjaweed arrive. The terrifying attackers ravage the town and unleash unspeakable horrors. After she loses nearly everything, Amira needs to dig deep within herself to find the strength to make the long journey-- on foot-- to safety at a refugee camp. Her days are tough at the camp, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind-- and all kinds of possibilities. New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney's powerful verse and Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist Shane W. Evans's breathtaking illustrations combine to tell an inspiring tale of one girl's triumph against all odds.

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One Crazy Summer

Rita Williams-Garcia

In this Newbery Honor novel, New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of three sisters who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 to meet the mother who abandoned them. "This vibrant and moving award-winning novel has heart to spare."* Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She's had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer. This moving, funny novel won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction and the Coretta Scott King Award and was a National Book Award Finalist. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern's story continues in P.S. Be Eleven and Gone Crazy in Alabama. Readers who enjoy Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham and Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming will find much to love in One Crazy Summer. This novel was the first featured title for Marley D’s Reading Party, launched after the success of #1000BlackGirlBooks. Maria Russo, in a New York Times list of "great kids' books with diverse characters," called it "witty and original." *Brightly, in Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich's article "Knowing Our History to Build a Brighter Future: Books to Help Kids Understand the Fight for Racial Equality"

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Looking for more resources? We have you covered. Check out our entire list of Black History Month: Friendship, Family, and Romance recommendations. For more personalized recommendations, fill out our recommendation form.

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