Reading recommendations from the Columbus Metropolitan Library honor Black History Month

HEY BLACK CHILD by Useni Eugene Perkins

Award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier brings this classic poem by Useni Eugene Perkins to new life with stunning watercolors and collage. Filled with inspirational and empowering words, this book is a celebration of black children and the amazing potential they have to change the world and be their best selves. FOR AGES 3-8

BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET by Lesa Cline-Ransome

A suffragist speaking up for women's rights. An Underground Railroad conductor guiding people to freedom. A young girl in slavery learning to read. This beautiful, lyrical biography about Harriet Tubman steps back through the years, showing readers all of the many roles this important figure in history embodied during her life. FOR AGES 4-7

TWELVE DAYS IN MAY: FREEDOM RIDE 1961 by Larry Dane Brimner

On May 4, 1961, a group of 13 civil rights activists launched the Freedom Ride, aiming to challenge the practice of segregation on buses and at bus terminals in the South. The ride would last 12 days. The author presents a tightly focused, present-tense account of what happened during this important time in history. The many large, archival black-and-white photos transport readers back in time as they learn about this intense journey. FOR AGES 10-17


In this powerful new graphic novel, teenager Alfonso Jones is shot by an off-duty police officer who mistakes a clothes hanger for a weapon. When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he's on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings who teach him what he needs to know, shining a light on the systemic racism that underlies these violent cases. Alfonso's family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice in the streets in this honest and topical story. FOR TEENS

Liz Bougher is an information services specialist with the Hilliard Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.


Rich in Color is dedicated to reading, reviewing, talking about and otherwise promoting young adult fiction starring or written by people of color or people from first/native nations. The site seeks to address the discrepancy between books that feature or are written by people of color or people from first/native nations and the actual composition of the U.S. population. A Resources section connects users with other websites that promote diversity in literature.