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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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      For Black Girls Like Me

      by Mariama J. Lockington

      Sep 2019

      Advanced Readers Plus

      Makeda June Kirkland is eleven-years-old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda's family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena—the only other adopted black girl she knows—for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda’s sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can’t seem to find one true friend.

      Through it all, Makeda can’t help wondering: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me?

      Through singing, dreaming, and writing secret messages back and forth with Lena, Makeda might just carve a small place for herself in the world.

      War in the Ring: Joe Louis, Max Schmeling, and the Fight between America and Hitler

      by John Florio

      Aug 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      Joe Louis was born in a sharecropper's shack in Alabama and raised in a Detroit tenement. Max Schmeling grew up in poverty in Hamburg, Germany. For both boys, boxing was a way out and a way up. Little did they know someday they would face each other in a pair of battles that would capture the imagination of the world. In America, Joe was a symbol of hope to blacks yearning to participate in the American dream. In Germany, Max was made to symbolize the superiority of the Aryan race. The two men climbed through the ropes with the weight of their countries on their shoulders—and only one would leave victorious.

      Source notes. Bibliography. Index. Black-and-white photos and reproductions.

      Hot Comb

      by Ebony Flowers

      Jul 2019

      Graphic Novels High Plus

      Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming-of-age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon while ladies gossip and bond over the burn. The titular “Hot Comb” is about a young girl’s first perm—a doomed ploy to look cool and stop seeming “too white” in the all-black neighborhood her family has just moved into. In “Virgin Hair,” taunts of “tender-headed” sting as much as the perm itself. “My Lil Sister Lena” shows the stress of being the only black player on a white softball team. Lena’s hair is the team curio, an object to be touched, a subject to be discussed and debated at the will of her teammates, leading Lena to develop an anxiety disorder of pulling her own hair out. Throughout Hot Comb, Ebony Flowers re-creates classic magazine ads idealizing women’s need for hair relaxers and products. “Change your hair form to fit your life form” and “Kinks and Koils Forever” call customers from the page.

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      On the Come Up

      by Angie Thomas

      Jun 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral… for all the wrong reasons.

      Trace

      by Pat Cummings

      Jun 2019

      Advanced Readers Plus

      Trace Carter doesn’t know how to feel at ease in his new life in New York. Even though his artsy Auntie Lea is cool, her brownstone still isn’t his home. Haunted by flashbacks of the accident that killed his parents, the best he can do is try to distract himself from memories of the past. But the past isn’t done with him. When Trace takes a wrong turn in the New York Public Library, he finds someone else lost in the stacks with him: a crying little boy, wearing old, tattered clothes. And though at first he can’t quite believe he’s seen a ghost, Trace soon discovers that the boy he saw has ties to Trace’s own history—and that he himself may be the key to setting the dead to rest.

      Family tree.

      Black Enough

      by Ibi Zoboi

      Apr 2019

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      In this groundbreaking anthology, seventeen acclaimed, black YA authors depict some of the countless ways to be young and black in America today.
      Contributor bios.

      This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality

      by Jo Ann Allen Boyce

      Apr 2019

      Advanced Readers Plus

      In 1956, one year before the Little Rock Nine, Jo Ann Allen and eleven black classmates integrated a public high school in Clinton, Tennessee. Fourteen-year-old Jo Ann was thrust into the national spotlight as a spokesperson for the cause.
      Introduction. Epilogue with further information on the Clinton 12. Author’s note. Note on poetic forms. “Scrapbook” of black-and-white photographs. Time line. Quotation sources. Selected bibliography. Further reading.

      Inventing Victoria

      by Tonya Bolden

      Mar 2019

      History High

      1880s: Essie is awestruck by Dorcas Vashon, the richest and most cultured black woman she's ever seen. Dorcas wants to take Essie from her poor life in Savannah and transform her. Regal and genteel, the newly christened Victoria must learn to maneuver within black high society in Washington, DC.
      Author’s note. Source notes.

      Lu

      by Jason Reynolds

      Mar 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      Born with albinism, Lu has always stood out. He'd rather be known for his hurdling talent, though. Will a discovery about his father's past affect his ability to compete? The final volume in the Track series.

      The Bell Rang

      by James E. Ransome

      Mar 2019

      Easy Reading Plus

      Each grueling day is the same for a slave girl and her family: the overseer rings the bell. Daddy gathers wood. Mama cooks. Her brother goes to work in the field. But one day, the bell rings and Ben is nowhere to be found.

      Author’s note. Full-color illustrations were rendered in acrylics.

      Pizza Party: The Carver Chronicles

      by Karen English

      Mar 2019

      Independent Readers

      Richard and his third-grade class are just days away from setting a record for excellent behavior and earning a pizza party. But then their beloved teacher is out sick, and the strictest, meanest substitute takes her place.

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      Carter Reads the Newspaper

      by Deborah Hopkinson

      Feb 2019

      Biography Elementary Plus

      Online resources. Bibliography. Author’s note. Illustrator’s note. List of Black leaders. Biographical time line. Quotation sources. Full-color mixed media illustrations.
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