10 Books to Celebrate Literacy

What are you reading for National Literacy Month?

Honor the importance of literacy with these books about the joys of reading!

September is the perfect time for bibliophiles to celebrate their love of reading. September 8 is International Literacy Day, with the entire month of September being National Literacy Month. These two events honor reading literacy and raise awareness for communities without immediate access to these needs. There are many ways to get involved, among the easiest being checking out a book from your local library!

Here are ten books that celebrate books, reading, and literacy.


The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Winner of several awards, including the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, this children’s book tells the true story of Lewis Michaux and how he founded the National Memorial African Bookstore. Told from his son’s perspective, Lewis Michaux Sr., The Book Itch depicts the bookstore’s famous visitors like Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Langston Hughes. This informative book also discusses how Michaux Sr.’s store became a center for civil rights.

How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander; Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander and Caldecott honoree Melissa Sweet team up to create a reflective picture book for young readers. How to Read a Book challenges viewers beyond skimming the text page by page. Instead, Alexander and Sweet encourage readers to fully engage with the book and take their time through the story. Thought-provoking prose and entertaining illustrations help readers understand the process of indulging in a book and the emotions we feel from a story.

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard; Illustrated by Oge Mora

Mary Walker was born into slavery in 1848 before being freed at fifteen. Mary accomplished several life milestones as an adult: getting married, raising children, and working various jobs. Living to 114, she was the last living member of her family, but she still didn’t know how to read. However, that all changed by the time she turned 116. In this powerful and inspirational story, young readers can span history from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s while learning that it’s never too late to learn how to read.


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Young Adult

Mark My Words: The Truth Is There in Black and White by Muhammad Khan

Fifteen-year-old Dua Iqbal has always had a curious personality, contributing to her journalist dreams. When her school merges with another to form an Academy, she uses the opportunity to develop a rival newspaper and expose controversial stories within her education system. Dua’s investigations eventually escalate to questioning whether or not to get involved. However, when her classmates are accused of selling drugs when she knows who the real perpetrators are, Dua risks it all to speak up.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

In Rainbow Rowell’s instant literary classic Fangirl, Cath and Wren are twin sisters who are big fans of the Simon Snow series. This means reading, more reading, writing fanfiction, and cosplaying as their favorite characters. Even so, as the two sisters prepare for college, Wren falls out of fandom culture. At the same time, Cath continues holding onto Simon Snow. Can Cath navigate her new college lifestyle without Wren? Can she fully embrace independence if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award, The Poet X has become a modern young adult masterpiece. Xiomara Batista is a fierce and determined adolescent growing up in Harlem. Feeling unheard, she finds refuge in the pages of her leather notebook, where she details her thoughts and feelings. When Xiomara is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she has to choose between following her mami’s wishes or letting her voice speak through her poetry.


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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

A recommendation of Dolly Parton’s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a historical fiction novel detailing the real packhorse librarians of Appalachia. Cussy Mary Carter is one of these traveling librarians, delivering books to her beloved Appalachian community. Cussy is also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike anyone else’s. Not all of Cussy’s community members support the library project or her family, forcing her to confront challenging prejudices.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

A modern literary classic of the best-selling author Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore follows the lives of two miraculous characters. Kafka Tamura runs away at fifteen after learning about his father’s morbid prophecy. Meanwhile, lost cat tracker Nakata finds their life turned upside down with the appearance of strange events. Cats begin to talk, fish fall out of the sky, and a mysterious forest houses unaged soldiers from WWII. Mythical and surrealist, Murakami’s magnum opus explores several themes that encourage readers to broaden their imagination.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

It’s January of 1946, and London is recovering from the devastation of WWII. Amid this, writer Juliet Ashton searches for her next book subject. When she receives a letter from a man she’s never met who resides on the island of Guernsey, she finds herself entranced with his friends and the eccentric world he lives in. What Juliet discovers is a literary society that developed out of a need for an alibi after breaking curfew during Germany’s occupation of Guernsey, along with a found family she never knew she needed.

The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw

Ruth Shaw shares hilarious, charming, and heartbreaking stories of her two tiny bookshops in the remote deep south of New Zealand. Her memoir tells tales of her various patrons, favorite books, and bittersweet life moments. Among these are her experiences sailing through the Pacific, being held up by pirates, and working at Sydney’s Kings Cross. By the end of her story, Shaw will enhance bibliophiles’ love of reading and a need to visit the bookseller’s two shops.



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