Celebrating Black History Month

RJ Julia Booksellers  |  768 Boston Post Road  |  Madison, CT  |  rjjulia.com
Celebrating Black History Month
Even as Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some poignant and important stories that are perfect for younger readers. We at RJ Julia Booksellers and Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore are doing what we can everyday to celebrate and represent the contributions of black authors, artists, and change-makers, as well as all the quieter voices that make up the black experience. The titles recommended below are sure to educate, inspire, and encourage meaningful dialogue.

See you in the store,
Lauren Coleman
Children's and Young Adult Book Buyer& Children's Event Coordinator
at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore
Board Books
How fun is this board book?! Equally informative and interactive, The Obamas teaches us to dream of peace, be healthy, and keep the planet green!
— Lindsay A 
What a fantastic way to learn about inspirational figures! With people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Sojourner Truth, and Gandhi, this board book is perfect to start the journey of becoming a dreamer, too!  Lindsay A 
Picture Books
The breadth of cultural inspiration is staggering, an artistic celebration that stands head and shoulders above the crowd.  —Matt 
When a little girl has doubts about the color of her skin, her mother lyrically explains the many beautiful brown things in the world, engaging all five senses. Brown is music in an old violin, gingerbread men, and spiced cider, to name a few. This is a magical book for so many reasons. The dreamy illustrations, rich descriptions, but most of all, the heart and message; loving the skin you are in.  —Tonya
Ages 6 - 8
Rebel girl Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919) defied all odds as she built herself a hair care business and became a self-made millionaire. Her story is incredibly fascinating and inspiring. A fantastic beginner chapter book for your history hungry kid!  —Lindsay A 
One of the most incredible and persevering stories to start off 2020. I now know more about George Washington Carver than I ever learned in school. Barretta provides us with a holistic background into the life of GWC, one that shows that determination and passion can start at any age. The illustrations will pull you in, the story will make you stay and marvel at this steadfast voice for conservation.  —Lindsay A. 
Middle Grade
This is a fascinating slave to entrepreneur story from Connecticut! Make history come to life!  —Jamie 
I liked Tristan and his sense of humor the minute I opened this book. And the writing, dare I say it, is strong! It just reached out and dragged me! Mbalia has taken the folktales my mom read to me, like Brer Rabbit and John Henry, and has given them a whole new spin. I never could've imagined such creative storytelling. Great pacing, likeable characters, and so much more. Absolutely brilliant! —Susan 
Ages 10 - 12
Martin Rising is a beautiful poem and tribute to the prophetic life of Martin Luther King, Jr. In such a graceful way, it both educated me and made me feel connected emotionally to the last months of MLK's life; from learning about his family and friendships, his last supper, the weather the days of the marches, to the immense sense of hope he delivered! A must have for every school and home library!  —Tonya
Satchel Paige was probably the greatest pitcher that ever lived. This graphic novel pulls plenty of history, biography, and baseball together into a beautiful experience. —Andrew 
Young Adult
Talk about #BlackGirlMagic?!?! An academic standout during her days as one of the few black students in her high school, Kiera is a megastar online, where she reigns supreme as "Emerald" in the multi-player game SLAY that she's created for black gamers across the globe. When a real-life tragedy occurs, Kiera's worlds collide and she has to face tough questions about race, space, relationships, and her own identity and future. A book like no other, by a fresh voice in YA lit.  —Lauren
Sixteen-year-old Bri can rap; she knows she could be one of the greats. But when her first song, written out of anger and frustration, is a viral hit, she becomes both famous and controversial. Set in the same neighborhoods as The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas has written another excellent book about family, friendship, finding your voice, and staying true to yourself.  —Marilyn 
The Perfect Baby Gift