Patrik Henry Bass of Essence Magazine reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in The Book Reader.

Yes, it is cold outside, which makes this the perfect time to stay inside and enrich your mind with these four phenomenal Black History Month reads.

I love the name Ethel, from Ethel Mertz to the great singer Ethel Waters, and one of my favorite Ethel’s is Ethel Payne.

At long last, this journalistic pioneer, who traveled and covered the world, not to mention sent shivers down the spine of our strongest presidents during press briefings, is getting her due in James McGrath Morris’ absorbing new biography “Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press.”

Another real-life heroine emerges from the margins of history in “Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom” by Lynda Blackmon Lowery. If you have seen the landmark documentary “Eyes on the Prize” or the film “Selma,” you may know the author was the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and in this book for young readers, you'll discover that her own journey is nothing short of astonishing.

With “SOS - Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader,” editors James Smethurst, John H. Bracey Jr., and legendary poet Sonia Sanchez have created a tour-de-force collection of the greatest writers and thinkers from the 1960s to the 1970s, during one of the most electrifying periods in American arts and letters.

Finally, I want to turn to the future with an inspiring young leader. In "The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters," Wes Moore charts his path from the Bronx and Baltimore to becoming a White House fellow and beyond. This is an empowering story with powerful life lessons that demonstrate the universality of everyone's desire to leave a legacy and to live a life with meaning.