Masks are Required in the Library

by order of the Town of Andover Select Board, September 13, 2021

Memorial Hall Library

Historical Fiction for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, here are some works of historical fiction for teens and adults centered on Black experiences in American history. (If you'd prefer to read some nonfiction books about Black history, check out this booklist!)

Historical Fiction for Tweens & Teens

Copper sun
Copper sun
by Sharon M. Draper

Having watched her village torched, witnessed her family killed, and been kidnapped by slave traders, Amari arrives on Mr. Derby's Carolina plantation afraid and confused, yet with time and hard work, she learns the language, befriends another slave, and struggles to attain her one true goal: to be a free person once again.
Chains
Chains
by Laurie Halse Anderson

When their owner dies at the start of the Revolution, Isabel and her younger sister are sold to Loyalists in New York, where Isabel is offered the chance to spy for the Patriots.
Under a painted sky
Under a painted sky
by Stacey Lee

In 1845, Sammy, a Chinese American girl, and Annamae, an African American slave girl, disguise themselves as boys and travel on the Oregon Trail to California from Missouri.
Saving Savannah
Saving Savannah
by Tonya Bolden

Savannah Riddle feels suffocated by her life as the daughter of an upper class African American family in Washington, D.C., until she meets a working-class girl named Nella who introduces her to the suffragette and socialist movements and to her politically active cousin Lloyd.
Angel of Greenwood
Angel of Greenwood
by Randi Pink

Though they've attended the same schools, Isaiah never noticed Angel as anything but a dorky, Bible toting church girl. Then their English teacher offers them a job on her mobile library, a three-wheel, two-seater bike. Angel can't turn down the money and Isaiah is soon eager to be in such close quarters with Angel every afternoon. But life changes on May 31, 1921 when a vicious white mob storms the community of Greenwood, leaving the town destroyed and thousands of residents displaced. Only then, Isaiah, Angel, and their peers realize who their real enemies are.
No crystal stair : a documentary novel of the life and work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem bookseller
No crystal stair : a documentary novel of the life and work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem bookseller
by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

A fictionalized biography of the bookseller and civil rights activist who owned the African National Memorial Bookstore in Harlem, New York City.
Flygirl
Flygirl
by Sherri L. Smith

Dreaming of being a pilot her whole life, Ida Mae Jones sees her chance during World War II, but she cannot be accepted into the WASP because she is black, forcing Ida Mae to choose between her racial heritage and chasing her dream.
Lies we tell ourselves
Lies we tell ourselves
by Robin Talley

In 1959 Virginia, Sarah, a black student who is one of the first to attend a newly integrated school, forces Linda, a white integration opponent's daughter, to confront harsh truths when they work together on a school project.
Betty before X
Betty before X
by Ilyasah Shabazz

A powerful middle-grade novel about the childhood activism of Malcolm X's wife, written by their daughter, describes how young Betty finds confidence and purpose by volunteering for the Housewives League in 1945 Detroit, learning skills and developing awareness that inspires her future as a Civil Rights icon. Simultaneous eBook.
X : a novel
X : a novel
by Ilyasah Shabazz

Co-written by the best-selling author of Malcolm Little and daughter of Malcolm X, a novel based her father's formative years describes his father's murder, his mother's imprisonment and his challenging effort to pursue an education in law.
The rock and the river
The rock and the river
by Kekla Magoon

In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father’s nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African-Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party.
All the days past, all the days to come
All the days past, all the days to come
by Mildred D Taylor

A long-awaited conclusion to the story that began in the Newbery Medal-winning Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry finds young adult Cassie Logan searching for a sense of belonging before joining the Civil Rights Movement in 1960s Mississippi.
Girls like us
Girls like us
by Randi Pink

In the summer of 1972, three girls from very different backgrounds struggle to come to terms with being pregnant.
The black kids
The black kids
by Christina Hammonds Reed

Enjoying the luxuries of a privileged life in 1992 Los Angeles, a black high school senior is unexpectedly swept up in the vortex of the Rodney King Riots while her closest friends spread a rumor that could derail a fellow black student’s future.

Historical Fiction for Adults

The water dancer : a novel
The water dancer : a novel
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

A Virginia slave narrowly escapes a drowning death through the intervention of a mysterious force that compels his escape and personal underground war against slavery. By the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me. 
Conjure women : a novel
Conjure women : a novel
by Afia Atakora

A midwife and conjurer of curses reflects on her life before and after the Civil War, her relationships with the families she serves and the secrets she has learned about a plantation owner’s daughter. 
The good lord bird
The good lord bird
by James McBride

Fleeing her violent master at the side of legendary abolitionist John Brown at the height of the slavery debate in mid-19th-century Kansas Territory, Henry pretends to be a girl to hide his identity throughout the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. By the best-selling author of The Color of Water.
An extraordinary union
An extraordinary union
by Alyssa Cole

During the Civil War two undercover agents, Elle Burns, a former slave, and Malcolm McCall a detective in Pinkerton’s Secret Service uncover a plot that could lead to a Confederate victory and vow to preserve the Union at any cost. 
Mudbound : a novel
Mudbound : a novel
by Hillary Jordan

In 1946, Laura McAllan tries to adjust after moving with her husband and two children to an isolated cotton farm in the Mississipi Delta.
The twelve tribes of Hattie
The twelve tribes of Hattie
by Ayana Mathis

Traces the story of Great Migration-era mother Hattie Shepherd, who in spite of poverty and a dysfunctional husband uses love and Southern remedies to raise nine children and prepare them for the realities of a harsh world.
The nickel boys
The nickel boys
by Colson Whitehead

A follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning, The Underground Railroad, follows the harrowing experiences of two African-American teens at an abusive reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.
The vanishing half
The vanishing half
by Brit Bennett

Separated by their embrace of different racial identities, two mixed-race identical twins reevaluate their choices as one raises a black daughter in their southern hometown while the other passes for white with a husband who is unaware of her heritage.
Another Brooklyn : a novel
Another Brooklyn : a novel
by Jacqueline Woodson

Torn between the fantasies of her youth and the realities of a life marked by violence and abandonment, August reunites with a beloved old friend who challenges her to reconcile her past and come to terms with the difficulties that forced her to grow up too quickly.
We love you, Charlie Freeman : a novel
We love you, Charlie Freeman : a novel
by Kaitlyn Greenidge

An African-American, sign-language-fluent family is hired by a private research institute—with a shocking, secret past—to teach sign language to a chimpanzee who will live as part of their household. A first novel.
The Turner house
The Turner house
by Angela Flournoy

Learning that after a half-century of family life that their house on Detroit's East Side is worth only a fraction of its mortgage, the members of the Turner family gather to reckon with their pasts and decide the house's fate. 
randomness