Love is in the air this month, and not just because Valentine’s day is right around the corner. February is also National Library Lovers’ month. Show a little love to an invaluable community resource this month and support a library near you!

Not sure how? Visiting your local library to check out a book or two is a great place to start, and luckily, we aren’t sending you there empty-handed. Focused on eco-fiction and nonfiction climate narratives, our February reading list celebrates the work of BIPOC authors who are often written out of mainstream media. It is critical to engage with these perspectives to gain a holistic understanding of the range of relationships people have to the natural world, and to amplify voices that are often silenced. Whether you are looking for your next collection of thought-provoking essays to discuss at book club, an engrossing story to curl up on the couch with, or a picture book to share with a child or grandchild, there is something on our February reading list for everyone. Borrow, don’t buy this month, and swing by your local branch to pick up one of these titles!

A Darker Wilderness–Erin Sharkey

Focused specifically on the Black American experience, Erin Sharkey curates essays from Black writers and environmental thinkers that are lyrical, personal, theoretical, and unafraid to leave some of their probing questions unanswered. The collection pushes the boundaries of nature writing by exploring the politics of nature and the role it plays in our lives and the lives of Black folks across the United States. Rooted in the theme of nature rather than time and place, the essays in this collection explore stories that span centuries, covering thousands of miles.

All We Can Save–Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson

The fight against climate change can only be impactful if it is inclusive. Nowhere is this made more evident than in All We Can Save, an anthology of essays, poetry, and art by some of the women who are leading the fight against climate change. This collection highlights all that has been done to the earth while simultaneously affirming that there is value in continuing the fight. An inspiring reminder that we must not grow complacent and give up on our collective future, this collection is a rich and unique read for anyone looking to broaden their perspective and amplify voices that are often missing from climate discourse.

Braiding Sweetgrass–Robin Wall Kimmerer

In this nonfiction title, Kimmerer merges her professional experience as a botanist with her indigenous background as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation to explore the gifts and lessons that the natural world has to offer us. Kimmerer emphasizes the importance of our give and take with the natural world; this reciprocal relationship is a central theme throughout the book. Braiding Sweetgrass is a fantastic read for those who resent and reject the notion that the world would be better without humans in it.

The Home Place–J. Drew Lanham

A poignant reflection on place, belonging, and self, in The Home Place, Lanham forges connections between his understanding of the rural American South as his home and the long history of oppression rooted in the same land. Delving into the contradictions of his identity as they interact with the place he lives and loves, Laham paints a complex picture of what it means to be a Black man in predominantly white fields, both professional and physical. Whether you’re grappling with the concept of home and belonging, are a fiend for nature writing, or just appreciate brilliantly poetic prose, The Home Place is a must-read.

Parable of the Sower–Octavia E. Butler

Often considered one of the first major climate fiction titles, Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower begins in the year 2024 when climate change and socioeconomic inequality have destabilized life in the United States, leading to extreme violence, drug use, and environmental degradation. Following an attack on her community, the novel’s protagonist, Lauren Oya Olamina, sets out on her journey to Northern California accompanied by two other survivors, spreading her ideological belief, “Earthseed”. The haunting connections between Butler’s work and our present-day reality make this a chilling read for anyone interested in dystopian fiction.

Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya–Donna Jo Napoli

This illustrated book tells the true story of Wangari Muta Maathai, often known as “Mama Miti” who was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Mama Mitti founded the Green Belt movement in Kenya, encouraging women to plant trees as a form of empowerment and a way to combat deforestation and environmental degradation. Accompanied by beautiful, bright-colored illustrations, Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya is engaging and inspiring and is sure to empower the young readers you share it with.

Harlem Grown–Tony Hillery

Harlem Grown tells the story of an urban community farm which grew out of an abandoned lot dubbed “the haunted garden” by students from the local school. With the help of these students, Tony Hillery turned the lot into a functioning community farm where the students could grow fresh produce and bring it home to share with their families. An important story of community organizing with undertones that touch on sustainability, Harlem Grown is the perfect book to teach the youngsters in your life about how transformative and impactful a single idea can be.

Now that you’re armed with our February reading list, we encourage you to borrow, not buy, this month and show your local library some extra love. Let us know what you decide to read by sharing your library books on social media with the hashtag. #NexampLLM