Happy Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa has just begun! This holiday is often overshadowed by the swarm of Christmas carols and New Year’s festivities, so here are a few book recommendations to help put this historical African holiday in the spotlight it deserves. These books can be enjoyed at any age, and it can enlighten any reader about what Kwanzaa is about, its history, and what it stands for. Happy reading!

Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture by Maulana Karenga

Written by the creator of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture provides a thorough understanding of the views and values of Kwanzaa, its historic origins and cultural background, and its cultural meaning to millions of Africans who celebrate it through the worldwide African community.

Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition by Keith A. Mayes

Since 1966, Kwanzaa has been celebrated as a black holiday tradition—an annual recognition of cultural pride in the African-American community. But how did this holiday originate, and what is its broader cultural significance? Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition explores the political beginning and later expansion of Kwanzaa, from its start as a Black Power holiday to its current place as one of the most mainstream of the black holiday traditions.

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Kwanzaa: With Candles, Community, and the Fruits of the Harvest by Carolyn B. Otto

Celebrate Kwanzaa continues the spectacular Holidays Around the World series by focusing on this African-American holiday, which falls during the festive, gift-giving season and is celebrated by families, communities, and schools throughout America. With succinct, lively text and beautiful photographs, the book celebrates African-American culture and helps us to understand and appreciate this special holiday. Over the course of seven days, families and friends come together to light the candles that symbolize their past and future—and their unity.

A Kwanzaa Fable by Eric V. Copage

In this surprising and heartwarming story, the owner of a street-corner snack shop teaches Jordan, a 13-year-old who recently lost his father how to apply the seven principles of Kwanzaa to the challenges of daily life. Readers of all ages will come to cherish this book, and will revisit its message that the strength and love that resides in the African-American holiday is ever present.

Kwanzaa Folktales by Gordon Lewis

This collection of original folktales illuminates the seven principles of Kwanzaa: faith, creativity, collective work and responsibility, purpose, unity, self-determination, and cooperative economics. In Kwanzaa Folktales, the various tales express the ageless value of Kwanzaa’s principles in captivating, meaningful stories for children and adults alike to enjoy and reminisce.

Book Gifts for Non-Book Lovers

Photo by Kari Shea via Unsplash

The holiday season is right around the corner. That means dinner parties, visiting relatives, and last-minute gift searching for your friends and family. Buying gifts for people can be one of the most difficult tasks, especially when they don’t like to read. Don’t fret! We know a few books that even non-book lovers will love.

  1. S is for Southern by Editors of Garden and Gun, David DiBenedetto                           This is an A-to-Z guide for all things Southern. Whether it be humidity or boiled peanuts, this book has encapsulated many of the peculiarities of southern life. What’s the best part, you may ask? The illustrations, of course! This book is an encyclopedia of southern living and a great addition to any coffee table.
  2. National Geographic Night Vision: Magical Photographs of Life After Dark                   Everybody knows National Geographic for their photography of anything and everything. Their pictures are always stunning, well curated, and captivating. This book is specifically photos of the world after the sun goes down. Just flipping through the table of contents will tell any reader exactly what they’ll get out of this book: Energy, Harmony, Mystery, and Wonder.
  3. The Art of Harry Potter by Titan Books                                                                                               Anyone that has read or seen the Harry Potter franchise knows just how incredible it is. There’s magic, romance, mind-blowing fight scenes, magic, mythical creatures, and did I mention magic? This book takes you through that world once again with a collection of art from the series. It includes anything that a Harry Potter fanatic could want. Go ahead and pick up a copy of this for your next gift. You’ll thank us later.
  4. How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith                                     Searching for something a little more interactive than a coffee table book? Then look no further! This book is for anyone wanting to adventure out into the world and gain a new perspective about the place they inhabit. It’s filled to the brim with activities for you to analyze your environment not only as a scientist, but as an artist too. Help someone get their feet on the pavement and discover something new just outside their doorstep by making this one of your gifts for this holiday season.

Gift giving can be intimidating when you don’t know how to buy for someone. We hope that these books will help you find something for the ones that don’t even have a bookshelf.

Got any other good book suggestions for non-book lovers? Leave a comment or visit us at FacebookTwitter, or Instagram to tell us!

Books to Gift Your College Grad

Have a friend or family member that is graduating from college this fall? Still haven’t found the perfect gift for them? This is both a time of change and of new beginnings for an almost graduate, so they need all the help that they can get.  A book can be a wealth of knowledge and stress reliever that will be desperately needed in the coming months. We have a couple of book suggestions that could be the perfect fit for your college grad.

  1. Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson                                                                                            The whimsical and philosophical adventures of Calvin and Hobbes are a classic. You can be 6 or 84 and still learn something from this series. These two fun-loving characters provide a comical, witty, and new perspective on any topic that comes to mind. College grads can turn to this for life advice or just something to laugh at after a stressful day. The final line of the series is something that they can definitely resonate with. You don’t know where you’re going. You have no clue, but “it’s a magical world out there. Let’s go exploring.”
  2. Grow the F*ck Up by John Kyle                                                                                                    This provocative title is the jump start that some recent grads may need to kick it into high gear. There are some things we don’t know, and it’s too embarrassing to admit it, but this book can tell you without having to ask it. Learn how to jump start a car, change a smoke detector, and how to actually iron your cloths. A plus is that there are pictures included in the book, so if you cannot figure it out just by reading, they got you covered.
  3. Happy Little Accidents: The Wit & Wisdom of Bob Ross                                                                If you have watched an episode of Bob Ross’ show, then you probably know him for being great at painting, soft-spoken, and sprinkling some everyday wisdom into his TV specials. These tidbits of advice can be great for the psyche of an overwhelmed college grad. It is light-hearted, enlightening, and helpful in your greatest of existential crisis needs.
  4. Lean In For Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg                                                                                  This book is the one stop shop for all your work-related needs. Chalked full of information from business gurus, this a read that you do not want to skip out on. The real world can be daunting and full of questions that may not have been answered in the classroom, but this book was made to help bridge the gap. Think about this book when you are deciding between what gift to get at your nearest bookstore.

Whether they know it or not, recent graduates need a little guidance after college. It’s a daunting world out there, so we hope that some of these books will help to be on the path to success. Congrats to everyone who made it this far!

Have any other suggestions for a post-college grad book? Leave a comment or visit us at FacebookTwitter, or Instagram to tell us!