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Amplifying Black Authors: 41 Action News Staff Picks

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 14:22:33-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — February is Black History Month, and 41 Action News has partnered with local bookseller Bliss Books & Wine and the Kansas City Public Library to showcase titles by Black authors.

Our book list is available on both sites:
Bliss Books & Wine: Celebrate Black History Month
KC Library Black History Month Collection

Below, find recommendations from our staff as well as links to buy or borrow the book.

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories
Author: Danielle Evans
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Cat Reid, investigative reporter
"This collection of short stories and one novella is nearly impossible to put down. In mere sentences, Evans will have you totally invested in each character's outcome. Loved the twists and turns, as well as the inclusion of current events."
BUY | BORROW

Beloved
Author: Toni Morrison
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Cat Reid, investigative reporter
"During my senior year of high school, this was one of six summer reading books that we discussed in depth throughout the first semester. It is a disturbing and hauntingly beautiful book that remains one of the finest pieces of fiction written in the past 40 years."
BUY | BORROW

Such a Fun Age
Author: Kiley Reid
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Cat Reid, investigative reporter
"This was the first thing my book club read this year. It is a book that can be both wildly entertaining and also thought-provoking. Kiley Reid is an expert at putting the reader in the protagonist's shoes."
BUY | BORROW

Weep Not, Child
Author: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Caitlin Sullivan, news producer
"It’s a quick and insightful read. I found it incredibly interesting since I had never read a book by an African author and hearing an emotional and deep perspective on colonialism on the African continent. Also ties in some history that is interesting to research after the book. Was chosen as a book club read and everyone liked it."
BUY | BORROW

Grandpa I Just Wanna Be A Cowboy Part 1: Notables from the West
Author: Trae Q.L. Venerable
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Children
Recommended by: Katelyn Brown, digital content producer
"Trae Q.L. Venerable is a local author who takes a look at a history not often learned in schools. The popular children's book based on real-life cowboys has landed Venerable in many area schools to talk to children about historical Black cowboys."
BUY

How to be an Antiracist
Author: Ibram X. Kendi
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Christina Santiago, news producer
"This book does a good job explaining the difference between "not racist" and "antiracist."
BUY | BORROW

The Measure of a Man
Author: Sidney Poitier
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Tod Palmer, digital assignment editor
"Poitier is a well-known actor, but The Measure of A Man explores the person, his roots and his spiritual journey on a deeper level that is well worth your time."
BUY | BORROW

Sag Harbor
Author: Colson Whitehead
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Charlie Keegan, news reporter
"An easy read which depicts African-American teenage boys differently than the stereotypes."
BUY | BORROW

Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man
Author: Emmanuel Acho
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Taylor Hemness, news anchor
BUY | BORROW

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
Author: Austin Channing Brown
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: SyKnese Fields, senior producer
BUY | BORROW

The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Teen/YA
Recommended by: SyKnese Fields, senior producer
BUY | BORROW

Homegoing
Author: Yaa Gyasi
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Megan Strickland, sports producer
BUY | BORROW

Citizen: An American Lyric
Author: Claudia Rankine
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Megan Strickland, sports producer
BUY | BORROW

I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying
Author: Bassey Ikpi
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Megan Strickland, sports producer
BUY | BORROW

The Fire Next Time
Author: James Baldwin
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Megan Strickland, sports producer and Steve Kaut, assignment editor
BUY | BORROW

Thick
Author: Tressie McMillan Cottom
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Megan Strickland, sports producer
BUY | BORROW

Jump
Author: Steve Harvey
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Wes Peery, meteorologist
BUY | BORROW

Between the World and Me
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Teen/YA
Recommended by: Tatyana Presley, news producer
"The author shares his concerns about being a Black man in America in this book dedicated to his son. It's personal, interesting, and real."
BUY | BORROW

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley)
Author: Malcolm X, Alex Haley
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Dia Wall, news anchor
"As a young teen, we learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X in school. I told my mom that Malcolm X was bad, but Dr. King was good. She quickly asked me, 'Who told you that?' The next day, she challenged me to read this autobiography and report back to her what I learned. Needless to say, I found a complex story of self-discovery and a revolutionary figure who was greatly misunderstood."
Steve Kaut, assignment editor, also recommends this book.
BUY | BORROW

Stamped from the Beginning
Author: Ibram X. Kendi
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Steve Kaut, assignment editor
BUY | BORROW

Might Boy, books 1 and 2
Author: Tomie-Mickai Williams
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Children/Teen
Recommended by: Cynthia Newsome, news anchor
"The author, Tomie-Mickai Williams, of Kansas City, Missouri, was 10 years old when he wrote the first book in the two-part Mighty Boy series. Now Tomie is 14 and has written three more books and is working on his fifth book. Mighty Boy is a two-part series. Spirit Swords is a three-part series. I'm proud of Tomie; he's smart, cleaver, creative, focused and talented. One day I hope his action adventure stories will be the screenplay for a major motion picture!"
Book 1: BUY
Book 2: BUY
BORROW

Spirit Swords, books 1 and 2
Author: Tomie-Mickai Williams
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Children/Teen
Recommended by: Cynthia Newsome, news anchor
Book 1: BUY
Book 2: BUY

If Beale Street Could Talk
Author: James Baldwin
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Kevin Holmes, news anchor
"It is a great story told by James Baldwin that crosses so many sectors in life and touches on so many issues, from race, to sexuality, to politics, to police brutality. And it has so many twists and turns. Baldwin does an excellent job of taking you to the scene, and making you feel as if you're actually there with the characters. Yet there is an element of surprise."
BUY | BORROW

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Author: Mildred D. Taylor
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Teen/YA
Recommended by: Dia Wall, news anchor
"It's a brilliant story about a young woman discovering the intersection of her race and role in protecting her family legacy. There's a ton of action and it's still one of my favorite books!"
BUY | BORROW

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Author: Maya Angelou
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Teen/YA
Recommended by: Dia Wall, news anchor
"It's a poignant look at her upbringing, the way race shaped her experience and how literature was the outlet she needed to rise above it."
BUY | BORROW

The Bluest Eye
Author: Toni Morrison
Genre: Fiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Dia Wall, news anchor
"It's a story about a young girl who desperately wants to have the qualities of someone else she deems more beautiful. The journey it takes her on is one that we can all learn from and appreciate."
BUY | BORROW

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
Author: Vashti Harrison
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Children
Recommended by: Dia Wall, news anchor
"This is an adorable way to show the children you love about dynamic Black women throughout American history. The images are darling, the stories are authentic and easy to digest and my daughter loves it! A fun, easy read for any family!"
BUY | BORROW

Other relevant titles

A More Beautiful and Terrible History
Author: Jeanne Theoharis
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Kevin Holmes, news anchor
"One of my favorites from the past two years."
BUY | BORROW

Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Author: David Garrow
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Steve Kaut, assignment editor
BUY | BORROW

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years
Author: Taylor Branch
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Steve Kaut, assignment editor
BUY | BORROW

Foul! The Connie Hawkins Story
Author: David Wolf
Genre: Nonfiction
Ages: Adult
Recommended by: Steve Kaut, assignment editor
BUY/BORROW