Our February Picks

Browse our virtual library of book recommendations that are specially curated by book experts and book lovers alike. Special thanks to the American Library Association, Booklist Reader, and the PBS Books Readers Club for helping to create this extensive and exciting collection of must-reads.

The Black Church by Henry Louis Gates - Book Cover

The Black Church by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Stony the Road and The Black Box,and one of our most important voices on the African American experience, comes a powerful new history of the Black church as a foundation of Black life and a driving force in the larger freedom struggle in America.

Isn't Her Grace Amazing! by Cheryl Willis - Book Cover

Isn’t Her Grace Amazing!: The Women Who Changed Gospel Music by Cheryl Wills

A unique tribute to often overlooked women who have left an indelible mark on Gospel Music–powerful talents who overcame racism and sexism to define the genre, establish its sound, and set the standard for good sangin’ for generations.

 

James - Bookcover

James by Percival Everett

A brilliant, action-packed reimagining of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, both harrowing and ferociously funny, told from the enslaved Jim’s point of view. From the “literary icon” (Oprah Daily) and Pulitzer Prize Finalist whose novel Erasure is the basis for Cord Jefferson’s critically acclaimed film American Fiction.

Ours - Phillip B. Williams

Ours by Phillip B. Williams

In this ingenious, sweeping novel, Phillip B. Williams introduces us to an enigmatic woman named Saint, a fearsome conjuror who, in the 1830s, annihilates plantations all over Arkansas to rescue the people enslaved there. She brings those she has freed to a haven of her own creation: a town just north of St. Louis, magically concealed from outsiders, named Ours.

Explore to find your next great read.

Adult – Fiction

Horse by Geraldine Brooks

A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history.

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, Finalist for the Chautauqua Prize, and a Massachusetts Book Award Honor Book.

Book Cover - All Creatures Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beautiful

All Creatures Great and Small & All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot

The first two memoirs in the New York Times–bestselling series from an English veterinarian—and the basis for the Masterpiece series on PBS.

The Wonderful World of James Herriot - Book Cover

The Wonderful World of James Herriot by James Herriot

James Herriot’s timeless, heartwarming, and perceptive stories about animals and people have charmed millions of readers around the world, and millions more have watched the popular PBS series All Creatures Great and Small, which is based on his four books. The Wonderful World of James Herriot excerpts the best of his stories to shape the larger tale of his life, his family, and his world, illustrated with evocative drawings and family photographs, including a special introduction written by his two children Rosie Page and Jim Wight.

This Could Be Us Book Cover

This Could Be Us by Kennedy Ryan

Soledad Barnes has her life all planned out. Because, of course, she does. She plans everything. She designs everything. She fixes everything. She’s a domestic goddess who’s never met a party she couldn’t host or a charge she couldn’t lead. The one with all the answers and the perfect vinaigrette for that summer salad. But none of her varied talents can save her when catastrophe strikes, and the life she built with the man who was supposed to be her forever, goes poof in a cloud of betrayal and disillusion.

Sweetness in the Skin Book Cover

Sweetness in the Skin by Ishi Robinson

A winning debut novel about a young teenage girl in Jamaica determined to bake her way out of her dysfunctional family and into the opportunity of a lifetime.

The Kamogawa Food Detectives Book Cover

The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai

Down a quiet backstreet in Kyoto exists a very special restaurant. Run by Koishi Kamogawa and her father Nagare, the Kamogawa Diner serves up deliciously extravagant meals. But that’s not the main reason customers stop by . . .The father-daughter duo are ‘food detectives’. Through ingenious investigations, they are able to recreate dishes from a person’s treasured memories – dishes that may well hold the keys to their forgotten past and future happiness. The restaurant of lost recipes provides a link to vanished moments, creating a present full of possibility.

River Mumma by Zalika Reid-Benta

Issa Rae’s INSECURE with a magical realist spin: RIVER MUMMA is an exhilarating contemporary fantasy novel about a young Black woman who navigates her quarter-life-crisis while embarking on a mythical quest through the streets of Toronto.

When Grumpy Met Sunshine by Charlotte Stein

A steamy, opposites-attract romance with undeniable chemistry between a grumpy retired footballer and his fabulous and very sunshine-y ghostwriter.

The Golem of Brooklyn - By Adam Mansbach

The Golem of Brooklyn by Adam Mansbach

The dazzlingly imaginative, ferociously funny story of an art teacher, a bodega clerk, and a five-thousand-year-old clay crisis monster, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

Adult – Nonfiction

The Black Box Book Cover

The Black Box: Writing the Race by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

A magnificent, foundational reckoning with how Black Americans have used the written word to define and redefine themselves, in resistance to the lies of racism and often in heated disagreement with each other, over the course of the country’s history.

Be A Revolution - Book Cover

Be a Revolution by Ijeoma Oluo

From the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of So You Want to Talk About Race and Mediocre, an eye-opening and galvanizing look at the current state of anti-racist activism across America.

Fourteen Days Book Cover

Fourteen Days Ed. by Margaret Atwood and Douglas Preston

Set in a Lower East Side tenement in the early days of the COVID-19 lockdowns, Fourteen Days is an irresistibly propulsive collaborative novel from the Authors Guild, with an unusual twist: each character in this diverse, eccentric cast of New York neighbors has been secretly written by a different, major literary voice—from Margaret Atwood and Celeste Ng to Tommy Orange and John Grisham.

Burma Sahib

Burma Sahib by Paul Theroux

From the acclaimed author of THE MOSQUITO COAST and THE BAD ANGEL BROTHERS comes a riveting new novel exploring one of English literature’s most beloved and controversial figures—George Orwell—and the early years as an officer in colonial Burma that transformed him from Eric Blair, the British Raj policeman, into Orwell the anticolonial writer.

The Great Divide by Cristina Henríquez

An epic novel of the construction of the Panama Canal, casting light on the unsung people who lived, loved, and labored there, by Cristina Henríquez, acclaimed author of THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS.

The Backyard Bird Chronicles Book Cover

The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan

Tracking the natural beauty that surrounds us, The Backyard Bird Chronicles maps the passage of time through daily entries, thoughtful questions, and beautiful original sketches. With boundless charm and wit, author Amy Tan charts her foray into birding and the natural wonders of the world.

There's Always This Year Book Cover

There’s Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension by Hanif Abdurraqib

A Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1990s, Hanif Abdurraqib witnessed a golden era of basketball, one in which legends like LeBron James were forged and countless others weren’t. His lifelong love of the game leads Abdurraqib into a lyrical, historical, and emotionally rich exploration of what it means to make it, who we think deserves success, the tension between excellence and expectation, and the very notion of role models, all of which he expertly weaves together with intimate, personal storytelling.

Wild Girls Book Cover - Watercolor art of mountains with sunset in the background

Wild Girls: How the Outdoors Shaped the Women Who Challenged a Nation by Tiya Miles

An award-winning historian shows how girls who found self-understanding in the natural world became women who changed America.
Harriet Tubman, forced to labor outdoors on a Maryland plantation, learned from the land a terrain for escape. Louisa May Alcott ran wild, eluding gendered expectations in New England. The Indigenous women’s basketball team from Fort Shaw, Montana, recaptured a sense of pride in physical prowess as they trounced the white teams of the 1904 World’s Fair. Celebrating women like these who acted on their confidence outdoors, Wild Girls brings new context to misunderstood icons like Sacagawea and Pocahontas, and to underappreciated figures like Native American activist writer Zitkála-Šá, also known as Gertrude Bonnin, farmworkers’ champion Dolores Huerta, and labor and Civil Rights organizer Grace Lee Boggs.

"Blood Memory" by Dayton Duncan book cover

Blood Memory: The Tragic Decline and Improbable Resurrection of the American Buffalo by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns

The epic story of the buffalo in America, from prehistoric times to today—a moving and beautifully illustrated work of natural history inspired by the PBS series “American Buffalo”.

The American buffalo—our nation’s official mammal—is an improbable, shaggy beast that has found itself at the center of many of our most mythic and sometimes heartbreaking tales. The largest land animals in the Western Hemisphere, they are survivors of a mass extinction that erased ancient species that were even larger. For nearly 10,000 years, they evolved alongside Native people who weaved them into every aspect of daily life; relied on them for food, clothing, and shelter; and revered them as equals

Crossings by Ben Goldfarb

Crossings: How Road Ecology is Shaping the Future of the Planet by Ben Goldfarb

An eye-opening and witty account of the global ecological transformations wrought by roads, from the award-winning author of Eager.

Some 40 million miles of roadways encircle the earth, yet we tend to regard them only as infrastructure for human convenience. While roads are so ubiquitous they’re practically invisible to us, wild animals experience them as entirely alien forces of death and disruption. In Crossings, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb travels throughout the United States and around the world to investigate how roads have transformed our planet.

Graphic Novels

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Book 2 by Emil Ferris

Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, MY FAVORITE THING IS MONSTERS BOOK TWO is the eagerly awaited conclusion to the most acclaimed graphic novels of the past decade. Presented as the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes as she tries to solve the murder of her beloved and enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold.

Zodiac a Graphic Memoir by Ai Weiwei and Elettra Stamboulis, Art by Gianluca Constantini

In this beautifully illustrated and deeply philosophical graphic memoir, legendary artist Ai Weiwei explores the connection between artistic expression and intellectual freedom through the lens of the Chinese zodiac.

Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang, Art by LeUyen Pham

Graphic novel superstars Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham join forces in this heartwarming rom-com about fate, family, and falling in love.
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Youth

We Dream a World by Yolanda Renee King Book Cover

We Dream a World by Yolanda Renee King; Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell

The granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King delivers a stirring tribute to her grandparents that speaks to children everywhere about her hopes for a new future.

The Book That Almost Rhymed by Omar Abed, illustrated by Hatem Aly

Every great adventure needs a hero—or two! This playful take on storytelling and equity proves that two tellers can make a rhyming tale twice as nice.

Something Someday - Book Cover

Something, Someday by Amanda Gorman; Illustrated by Christian Robinson

“You’re told that
This won’t work,
But how will you know
If you never try?”

Presidential inaugural poet and #1 New York Times bestselling author Amanda Gorman and Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor winner Christian Robinson have created a timeless message of hope. With intimate and inspiring text and powerfully stunning illustrations, Something, Someday reveals how even the smallest gesture can have a lasting impact.

Wild Places: The Life of Naturalist David Attenborough by Hayley Rocco; Illustrated by John Rocco

An inspiring and accessible picture book biography of the beloved naturalist, broadcaster, and documentarian David Attenborough—stunningly illustrated by a Caldecott Honoree. As a boy, David loved exploring the wild places near his home in England, collecting fossils, rocks, and newts. When he grew older, he got a job in television, where he had an idea for a new kind of show: He would travel to wild places all over the world to film animals in their natural habitats. Over the span of seven decades, David’s innovative documentaries have been treasured by millions of people.

Meet Me on Mercer Street Book Cover

Meet Me on Mercer Street by Booki Vivat

Aspiring artist Kacie spends most of her time on Mercer Street with her best friend, Nisha, people-watching and doodling whatever is happening in their neighborhood. But when she comes back from a summer away, the local corner store is boarded up, the adults in town are all on edge, and Nisha is nowhere to be found! Everything is changing, and Kacie’s not sure what to do about it. Especially without Nisha to help her.

Max in the House of Spies Book Cover

Max in the House of Spies by Adam Gidwitz

The first book in a duology, Max in the House of Spies is a thought-provoking World War II story as only acclaimed storyteller Adam Gidwitz can tell it—fast-paced and hilarious, with a dash of magic and a lot of heart.

Cosmic Collisions - Asteriod vs Comet Book Cover

Cosmic Collisions: Asteroid vs. Comet by Dr. Marc J Kuchner and illustrated by Matt Schu

What happens when two massive hunks of hurtling space debris slam into each other? Welcome to round one in the Cosmic Collisions series—an exciting children’s debut from an expert astrophysicist.

Ancestor Approved by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Ancestor Approved edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Featuring stories and poems by:
Joseph Bruchac
Art Coulson
Christine Day
Eric Gansworth
Carole Lindstrom
Dawn Quigley
Rebecca Roanhorse
David A. Robertson
Andrea L. Rogers
Kim Rogers
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Monique Gray Smith
Traci Sorell,
Tim Tingle
Erika T. Wurth
Brian Young

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.

Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).

They are the heroes of their own stories.

Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith

In this beautifully reimagined story by NSK Neustadt Laureate and New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek), Native American Lily and English Wendy embark on a high-flying journey of magic, adventure, and courage to a fairy-tale island known as Neverland…

Young Adult

The Bad Ones by Melissa Albert

After her estranged best friend goes missing and she herself starts losing time, Nora digs into a creepy local legend.

Sky’s End by Marc J. Greyson

Plummet into a kill-or-be-killed competition where a scrappy underdog hell-bent on revenge must claw his way to the top in this thrilling YA fantasy debut. Exiled to live as a Low, sixteen-year-old Conrad refuses to become heir to his murderous uncle. But Meritocracy is a harsh and unforgiving rule on the floating island of Holmstead, and when his ailing mother is killed by monstrous gorgantauns, Conrad cuts a deal to save the only family he has left. To rescue his sister from his uncle’s clutches, Conrad must enter the Selection of the Twelve Trades.

So Let Them Burn by Kamilah Cole

In the aftermath of a war, two magical sisters contend with divine magic and dragon-riding invaders in this Jamaican-inspired fantasy.

This Day Changes Everything Book Cover

This Day Changes Everything by Edward Underhill

In 24 hours, two queer teenagers go from strangers to friends to maybe more as they embark on a scavenger hunt around NYC.

The Girl The Ring & The Baseball Bat Book Cover

The Girl, the Ring, & the Baseball Bat by Camille Gomera-Tavarez

Three New Jersey teens obtain magical items that will purportedly solve all their problems in this entrancing magical-realism novel by Camille Gomera-Tavarez.

My Throat an Open Grave by Tori Bovalino

Leah Jones has no hope for a future outside of Winston, Pennsylvania. She’s on the verge of dropping out of high school, barely balancing her job at the gas station with her duty to care for her baby brother, Owen. But when Owen is taken by the Lord of the Wood, Leah must face the dangers of the wood to write a song that will win Owen back—and the truth of how her life went so very wrong.

Shut Up, This Is Serious by Carolina Ixta

An unforgettable YA debut about two Latina teens growing up in East Oakland as they discover that the world is brimming with messy complexities, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Erika L. Sánchez.

Escaping Mr. Rochester Book Cover

Escaping Mr. Rochester by L.L. McKinney

This captivating take on JANE EYRE gives Bertha more attention as she and Jane plot to flee Thornfield Hall and the oppressive Mr. Rochester.

Audiobook

All Creatures Great and Small - Audiobook Cover

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot; Read by Nicholas Ralph

The highs and lows of being a vet in the Yorkshire Dales are perfectly captured in James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small which contains If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet.

#Crime Time Audiobook Cover

#CrimeTime by Jeneva Rose and Drew Pyne; Read by Samantha Desz, Piper Goodeve, Kevin R. Free, Gary Tiedemann, Chris Andrew Ciulla, Phil Thron, Nancy Linari,, Abelardo Campuzano, Jennifer Damiano, Peter Berkrot and P.J. Ochlan

The first audio original from Jeneva Rose, the author of blockbuster bestseller THE PERFECT MARRIAGE, #CRIMETIME is a full-cast mystery written with her husband, Drew Pyne, perfect for fans of Only Murders in the Building and Finley Donovan Is Killing It.

The Lost Van Gogh by Jonathan Santlofer; Read by Edoardo Ballerini

For years, there have been whispers that, before his death, Van Gogh completed a final self-portrait. Curators and art historians have savored this rumor, hoping it could illuminate some of the troubled artist’s many secrets, but even they have to concede that the missing painting is likely lost forever. But when Luke Perrone, artist and great-grandson of the man who stole the Mona Lisa, and Alexis Verde, daughter of a notorious art thief, discover what may be the missing portrait, they are drawn into a most epic art puzzles.

West Heart Kill Audiobook Cover

West Heart Kill by Dann McDorman; Read by Robert Petkoff

A unique and irresistible murder mystery set at a remote hunting lodge where everyone is a suspect, including the erratic detective on the scene—a remarkable debut that gleefully upends the rules of the genre.

The Wonderful World of James Herriot Audiobook Cover

The Wonderful World of James Herriot: A Charming Collection of Classis Stories by James Herriot; Read by Anna Madeley

The perfect listen for fans of All Creatures Great and Small, this is a charming collection of classic stories from James Herriot’s much-loved books, with insights into his life and work from his children Rosie and Jim.

The Distance Between Us Audiobook Cover

The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition by Reyna Grande; Read by Alejandra Reynoso

Award-winning author Reyna Grande shares her personal experience of crossing borders and cultures in this middle grade adaptation of her memoir.

Coretta: The Autobiography of Mrs. Coretta Scott King by Coretta Scott King; Read by January LaVoy

Adapted from her adult memoir, this is the autobiography of Coretta Scott King—wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (the King Center), and twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist. This audiobook features sound design and special effects to enhance your enjoyment of Coretta: The Autobiography of Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Listen out for the sounds or protest, change, and a life well lived.

Poetry

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman; Illustrated by Christian Robinson

On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Her poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” can now be cherished in this special gift edition, perfect for any reader looking for some inspiration. Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this remarkable keepsake celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.