Local libraries recommend books, programs for Black History Month

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
This display at the Twinsburg Public Library highlights the work of  Doressa Carlton of Doressa's Dolls.

The local libraries have scheduled programming to mark Black History Month. In addition, the staff shared their reading recommendations for honoring the accomplishments of Black individuals and authors.

Nordonia Hills Branch Library, Akron-Summit County Public Libraries

Reading Recommendations

For adults: 

  • “The Tradition” by Jericho Brown
  • “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander 
  • “Negroland: A Memoir” by Margo Jefferson 

For teens: 

  • “She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman,” by Erica Armstrong Dunbar 
  • “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds 
  • “Dear Martin” by Nic Stone 

For middle grades: 

  • “Bud, Not Buddy” by Christopher Paul Curtis 
  • “Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry” by Mildred D Taylor 

Picture books: 

  • “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History” by Vashti Harrison 
  • “Mae Among the Stars” by Roda Ahmed 
  • “Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut” by Derrick Barnes  


Black History Month Event - In Concert Each Week

Started Feb. 8: All Day

 Main Library

Use a library card to stream a pre-selected musical performance each week in February using RBdigital - Qello Concerts by Stingray.

Odom Reads: Black History Month Read-a-thon

Started Feb. 8: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

 Odom Boulevard Branch Library

Celebrate Black History Month by participating in our month-long Teen Read-a-thon. Details available at the Odom Boulevard Branch or by email at rtobias@akronlibrary.org.

Poetry as Social Activism With Dionne D. Hunter

Feb. 18: 6 – 7 p.m.

 Kenmore Branch Library virtual program - Zoom

Poet Dionne D. Hunter will explore poetry as social activism. Poems will include one on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and others related to Black History. Includes discussion of process.

A History of Motown with Bill Brauning

Feb. 24: 6:30- 7:30 p.m.

 Ellet Branch Virtual Program - Zoom

Motown was a distinct sound of music out of Detroit that was developed by one man: Berry Gordy. Learn about many great artists and that distinct Motown sound. Register to receive a Zoom link.

African American Genealogy For Beginners

Feb. 24: 6:30- 7:30 p.m.

 Maple Valley Branch - Zoom

The Special Collections Division offers this virtual presentation for genealogy beginners. Advanced registration is required.

African American Read-In: A Virtual Family Event

Feb. 27: 2 – 3 p.m.

 Maple Valley Branch - Zoom

Celebrate diversity and literacy by participating in a Virtual African American Read-In. Picture books by African American authors will be highlighted. Register to receive a Zoom link.

For more information, visit www.akronlibrary.org online.

Twinsburg Public Library

For adults:


From the staff: Nancy Johnson's “The Kindest Lie” is going to be a big hit. It was fabulous. Here's the annotation I sent to the publisher:

“The Kindest Lie” is sure to be one of the biggest hits of 2021. In 2008, Black engineer Ruth Tuttle Shaw returns to her Indiana hometown of Ganton to find the child she gave up years ago. Instead, she finds Midnight, a young white boy who becomes an unusual friend, and more secrets than she remembers leaving behind. With clear, wide-eyed prose, Nancy Johnson tells a story of coming home and reinventing oneself.

Other favorites:

  • “When No One is Watching,” by Alyssa Cole
  • “And Now She’s Gone,” by Rachel Howzell Hall
  • “Blacktop Wasteland,” by S.A. Cosby
  • “The Detective by Day,” series by Kellye Garrett.


  • “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” by Isabel Wilkerson

Movie recommendations

  • “I Am Not Your Negro”
  • “Moonlight”
  • “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise”
  • “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”
  • “Harriet”
  • “Just Mercy”

For children and teens:



  • “I am Every Good Thing,” by Derrick Barnes
  • “Saturday,” by Oge Mora
  • “Sulwe,” by Lupita Nyong'o
  • “Hair Love,” by Matthew A. Cherry
  • “The ABC's of Black History,” by Rio Cortez


  • “Concrete Rose,” by Angie Thomas
  • “The Awakening of Malcolm X,” by Ilyasah Shabazz, with Tiffany D. Jackson
  • “March,” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, et.al.
  • “The Black Kids,” by Christina Hammonds Reed

Children's DVDs:

  • “Cool Runnings”’
  • “Cinderella” (1997), with Brandy and Whitney Houston
  • “Princess and the Frog”
  • “Akeelah and the Bee”
  • “Queen of Katwe”

Teen and older DVDs:

  • “Remember the Titans”
  • “Hidden Figures”
  • “The Hate U Give”


Featured Film Fridays

Fridays, Feb. 5-26

The Twinsburg Public Library is featuring a film each week that celebrates Black History Month. A Twinsburg library card is required.

BLAX Museum: A Tribute to Art and Excellence

Watch a series of special, virtual performances by Michelle R. Smith & Friends. Visit the Library’s YouTube channel for a new performance every Saturday in February. Local artists will honor notable black figures in American history and culture.