Paint splatter accent Nationals Philanthropies Black History Month Reading List

February 28, 2023

For the past two years, during the month of February, Nationals Philanthropies has shared a reading list of recommended titles that staff has appreciated to understand better the history of the Black experience in America. This year, in the spirit of Nationals Academy Core Value “Continue to Learn,” mentors and classroom staff have recommended titles geared toward young readers to Scholar Athletes.

As Brave As You
By Jason Reynolds

Recommended by Andrew Bradshaw, Nationals Youth Baseball Academy mentor

“I chose this book because Jason Reynolds is a fantastic writer for young people, and he is a black DC native. As Brave as You is a coming of age story which touches on not only black identity but also its intersection with urban/rural and intergenerational experiences, all while the characters grapple with various meanings of bravery and social-emotional growth.”

Change Sings
By Amanda Gorman

Recommended by Morgan Roberts, Nationals Youth Baseball Academy mentor

“This book teaches children that anything is possible when you join together and work as one. It emphasizes that anyone – regardless of age, gender, skin color, or background – has the power to make a difference, and even a small change can make a big impact. I chose this book because these are lessons that the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy strives to teach its Scholar Athletes each day. Scholar Athletes are empowered to be the change they want to see in themselves, their communities, and the world, and this book embodies what it means to do just that. On top of it all, the book was written by the youngest presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history. Amanda Gorman is also a passionate advocate for the environment, racial equality, and gender justice. Young readers will find this book very inspiring – not only reading about how young people can create change but knowing that it was written by someone who did it in real life.”

Superheroes Are Everywhere
By Kamala Harris

Recommended by Marsha Williamson, Nationals Youth Baseball Academy classroom coordinator

“This book is not only authored by a member of African-American history but it empowers youth to recognize that a hero can be anyone willing to take a stand. It allows them to look within and realize that they too can have a profound impact in their homes, communities, and world.”

By Walter Dean Myers

Recommended by Derica Carty, Nationals Youth Baseball Academy classroom coordinator 

“The book has won many awards for its honest depiction of the justice system for young Black boys. You can be in the right place but at the wrong time, and it can have a major impact on your life.”

On the Come Up
By Angie Thomas

Recommended by Desha Jenkins, Nationals Youth Baseball Academy classroom coordinator 

“This book gives you insight into a young African American female trying to bring her dad’s past as her present of becoming an underground rapper. The key takeaway is to not let anyone judge you by your [skin] color or appearance because everyone is capable to do whatever their heart is set on!”

C is for College
By Shamelle & Neils Ribeiro-Yemofio

Recommended by Brian Alexander, Nationals Philanthropies Managing Director, Organizational Performance

“This is an inspirational book that helps young Black girls and boys understand how to decide if college is right for them, and how to plan and prepare at a young age.”