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Prepare for Black History Month Commemorations

We've selected books highlighting Black history and voices that would be perfect to add to your shelves just in time for Black History Month! Plus, these titles are only $8 for our valued JLG members! Bonus: Catch our exclusive webcast interview with author/illustrator Don Tate, whose passion is elevating Black history through picture books and children's literature.

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Offer valid through January 31, 2021 for book purchases only. Members must be logged in to access sale prices. Apply code in cart to view savings. Books will be shipped without library processing. If you would like to request library processing for your books, please note that they could take up to 6–8 weeks to ship. Not a JLG member? Get subscription info here.

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      A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

      by Roseanne A. Brown

      Aug 2020

      Fantasy/Science Fiction High Plus

      For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

      But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic… requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

      When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a heart-pounding course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

      The Only Black Girls in Town

      by Brandy Colbert

      Jul 2020

      Advanced Readers

      Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only black girl in town for years. Alberta's best friend, Laramie, is the closest thing she has to a sister, but there are some things even Laramie can't understand. When the bed and breakfast across the street finds new owners, Alberta is ecstatic to learn the family is black-and they have a 12-year-old daughter just like her.

      Alberta is positive she and the new girl, Edie, will be fast friends. But while Alberta loves being a California girl, Edie misses her native Brooklyn and finds it hard to adapt to small-town living.

      When the girls discover a box of old journals in Edie's attic, they team up to figure out exactly who's behind them and why they got left behind. Soon they discover shocking and painful secrets of the past and learn that nothing is quite what it seems.

      Black Brother, Black Brother

      by Jewell Parker Rhodes

      Jul 2020

      Sports Middle Plus

      Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, he feels as if he is constantly swimming in whiteness. Most of the students don't look like him. They don't like him either. Dubbed the "Black Brother," Donte's teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter skinned brother, Trey. Quiet, obedient.

      When an incident with "King" Alan leads to Donte's arrest and suspension, he knows the only way to get even is to beat the king of the school at his own game: fencing. With the help of a former Olympic fencer, Donte embarks on a journey to carve out a spot on Middlefield Prep's fencing team and maybe learn something about himself along the way.

      Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

      by Suzanne Slade

      Jul 2020

      Biography Elementary Plus

      Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000) is known for her poems about “real life.” She wrote about love, loneliness, family, and poverty—showing readers how just about anything could become a beautiful poem. Exquisite follows Gwendolyn from early girlhood into her adult life, showcasing her desire to write poetry from a very young age. This picture-book biography explores the intersections of race, gender, and the ubiquitous poverty of the Great Depression—all with a lyrical touch worthy of the subject. Gwendolyn Brooks was the first Black person to win the Pulitzer Prize, receiving the award for poetry in 1950. And in 1958, she was named the poet laureate of Illinois. A bold artist who from a very young age dared to dream, Brooks will inspire young readers to create poetry from their own lives.

      Early Sunday Morning

      by Denene Millner

      Jul 2020

      Religious Books Elementary

      Sundays are June’s favorite days because she gets to spend it with Mommy, Daddy, and her brother, Troy. Next Sunday is more special than most, because she will be leading the youth choir in front of her entire church.

      June loves to sing. She sings loud, silly songs with Daddy, she sings to herself in front of the bedroom mirror, but performing in front of the entire congregation is another thing altogether. As her special moment approaches, June leans on the support of her whole community to conquer her fear of singing in front of the congregation.

      In this heartwarming story of love and family, a community comes together to help a young girl find the courage to lift her mighty voice.

      From the Desk of Zoe Washington

      by Janae Marks

      Jun 2020

      Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus

      Dear Marcus…

      Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write next. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, she hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime? A crime he says he never committed. Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe’s determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters from her mom and stepdad.

      Everyone thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge! It’s Zoe’s dream to become a star baker, and she can’t afford to mess anything up. But with bakery confections on one part of her mind and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: everyone lies.

      Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom

      by Carole Boston Weatherford

      Jun 2020

      Biography Middle Plus

      Henry Brown was put to work as a child and passed down from one generation to the next—as property. When he was an adult, his wife and children were sold away from him out of spite. Henry Brown watched as his family left bound in chains, headed to the deeper South. What more could be taken from him? But then hope—and help—came in the form of the Underground Railroad. Escape!

      In stanzas of six lines each, each line representing one side of a box, celebrated poet Carole Boston Weatherford powerfully narrates Henry Brown’s story of how he came to send himself in a box from slavery to freedom.

      Deathless Divide: Dread Nation #2

      by Justina Ireland

      Jun 2020

      Current Trends High Plus

      After the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene hoped her life would get simpler: Get out of town, stay alive, and head west to California to find her mother. But nothing is easy when you’re a girl trained in putting down the restless dead, and a devastating loss on the road to a protected village called Nicodemus finds Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880s America. What’s more, this safe haven is not what it appears, something Jane discovers when she meets familiar faces from Summerland at the top of this new society. Caught in the middle of mysteries and lies, the undead, and her own inner demons, Jane soon finds herself on a dark path of blood and violence that threatens to consume her.

      But she won’t be in it alone.

      Katherine Deveraux never expected to be allied with Jane McKeene. But after the hell she has endured, she knows friends are hard to come by—and that Jane needs her too, whether Jane wants to admit it or not. Watching Jane’s back, however, is more than she bargained for, and when they both reach a breaking point, it’s up to Katherine to keep hope alive, even as she begins to fear that there is no happily ever after for girls like her.

      Sing and Shout: The Mighty Voice of Paul Robeson

      by Susan Goldman Rubin

      Jun 2020

      Biography High Plus

      When faced with the decision to remain silent or be ostracized, Paul Robeson chose to sing, shout, and speak out. Sing and Shout: The Mighty Voice of Paul Robeson explores how Robeson’s love of African American spirituals and deep empathy towards the suffering of others drove his long, fervent mission as a civil rights activist and his career as an artist. Although he was also an actor, singing was Robeson’s defining talent and where he could best express himself.

      After exploring socialism, Robeson was targeted by the U.S. government for speaking out about discrimination against African Americans and for his political views. He was labeled a communist during the height of the Cold War and found himself stripped of his U.S. passport. But Robeson never gave in and continued to perform and speak out. The book is based on Rubin’s extensive research, including fieldwork in Harlem, NY, in Princeton and Somerville, NJ, and at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.

      When You Were Everything

      by Ashley Woodfolk

      Jun 2020

      Young Adults

      You can’t rewrite the past, but you can always choose to start again.

      It’s been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship imploded.

      Nearly a month since Cleo realized they’ll never be besties again.

      Now Cleo wants to erase every memory, good or bad, that tethers her to her ex-best friend. But pretending Layla doesn’t exist isn’t as easy as Cleo hoped, especially after she’s assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Despite budding friendships with other classmates—and a raging crush on a gorgeous boy named Dom—Cleo’s turbulent past with Layla comes back to haunt them both.

      Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon

      by Kelly Starling Lyons

      May 2020

      Biography Elementary Plus

      Philip Freelon's grandfather was an acclaimed painter of the Harlem Renaissance. His father was a successful businessman who attended the 1963 March on Washington. When Phil decided to attend architecture school, he created his own focus on African American and Islamic designers. He later chose not to build casinos or prisons, instead concentrating on schools, libraries, and museums—buildings that connect people with heritage and fill hearts with joy. And in 2009, Phil's team won a commission that let him use his personal history in service to the country's: the extraordinary Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

      Stolen Justice: The Struggle for African American Voting Rights

      by Lawrence Goldstone

      Apr 2020

      History High

      Following the Civil War, the Reconstruction era raised a new question to those in power in the US: Should African Americans, so many of them former slaves, be granted the right to vote? In a bitter partisan fight over the legislature and Constitution, the answer eventually became yes, though only after two constitutional amendments, two Reconstruction Acts, two Civil Rights Acts, three Enforcement Acts, the impeachment of a president, and an army of occupation. Yet, even that was not enough to ensure that African American voices would be heard, or their lives protected. White supremacists loudly and intentionally prevented black Americans from voting—and they were willing to kill to do so.

      In this vivid portrait of the systematic suppression of the African American vote, critically acclaimed author Lawrence Goldstone traces the injustices of the post-Reconstruction era through the eyes of incredible individuals, both heroic and barbaric, and examines the legal cases that made the Supreme Court a partner of white supremacists in the rise of Jim Crow. Though this is a story of America's past, Goldstone brilliantly draws direct links to today's creeping threats to suffrage in this important and, alas, timely book.
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