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Library News: Black History Month Book Recommendations by Students and Staff!

This month, the ISD students and staff have wonderful recommendations for you.  Teachers and students have check out works about Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Black Panther, Martin Luther King, and a whole slew of African Diaspora writers. Here are some of their recommendations. Come to the library and check out what we have to offer for Black History Month.  

Allan Muriuki’s Book Recommendation

Jump and Other Stories by Nadine Gordimer

Jump and Other Stories is a nobel-prize winning collection of short stories written by the late South-African author Nadine Gordimer. I first had the pleasure of reading it in English class earlier this year, and her stories had a profound effect on me. Jump is all about the complexities behind different social groups, with a focus on blacks and whites in South Africa. I think what really makes this book special is Gordimer's ability to really make you feel like you're in each of her characters shoes, and almost fully understand what they felt. Whether it was Some are Born to Sweet Delight or The Moment Before the Gun Went Off, her stories had a profound effect on me, and I think everybody should read this masterpiece.

Erin O’Reilly’ Book Recommendation

One Crazy Summer  by Rita Williams-Garcia

Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and a Newbery Medal Honor Book, One Crazy Summer is a powerful and humorous story of three sisters (Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern) who visit their mother, Cecile, in Oakland, CA in the summer of 1968. This novel immerses the reader into the lives of these three girls in the summer of 1968, highlighting Civil Rights issues through the portrayal of the Black Panthers. Names show the importance of identity, and Delphine and Cecile's actions show the need for personal responsibility. Not only does this book cover various rich themes, it tells the story of well-developed characters spending the summer in an unfamiliar place during tumultuous times.

Aviam Soudack’s Book Recommendation

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Little Bee is a must read. It is the story of a young girl who escaped from Nigeria then was locked up in a refugee camp in England. There are many, many messages in the book, all worth discussing.

Currently, Mr. Soudack is reading this book with his fifth grader students.

Sharon Bruns’ Book Recommendation

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

The clichéd saying, jumping out of the frying pan into the fire best describes the main character, Darling, and her journey from Zimbabwe to America. NoViolet Bulawayo, (what a wonderful name), in her debut novel We Need New Names weaves a story of Darling's survival during Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis, and a ray of hope provided by the opportunity to go to America where one of her aunts lives. The book is a poignant tale of how dreams, aspirations and the goal of having a better life in an affluent country is marred by issues such as legal status, immigration, and the community that surrounds you. This young adult novel challenges you to question decisions made and what is involved in pursuing a life of happiness and contentment.

Tidiane Sy Diop’s Book Recommendation

So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba

So Long a Letter is a well written and informative novel written by Mariama Bâ. It tells the story of Ramatoulaye, who has just experienced the death of her husband. Staying true to the epistolary style, Ramatoulaye writes a letter to her friend Aissatou about her emotions and experience being a co-wife before and after the death of her husband. The story gives readers insight on the reality that is polygamy in Senegal and much more about Senegalese culture. Through Ramatoulaye's cathartic writing experience, readers are allowed into her thoughts and learn a lot about Senegalese customs and culture, which is why I invite you all to read it.

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