Black Books to Read All Year Long
February is Black History Month, and to celebrate we invited some of our favorite Black bookish influencers to share a book recommendation by a Black author. Check out these recommendations and give our featured influencers a follow!
Ahtiya | @bookinitwithahtiya
I am a native New Yorker currently teaching ELA to middle schoolers as I build up my Etsy shop cliente and expand into other entrepreneurial avenues. I’ve been an avid reader since I was a child and always have a book with me in some format. My favorite genres include Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and Contemporary Romance, and I’ve been exploring my taste in Horror, as well. I don’t genre-discriminate, though; I’ll read just about anything if the plot interests me!
Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert is one of my favorite books of all time because of how it deftly mixes hilarity, the fake dating trope, and depression and anxiety representation without missing a beat. My reading experience with this book was cathartic and filled with bellyaching laughs, as well as moments of contemplation and simply feeling seen. Take A Hint, Dani Brown is a gem of a book.
Kat | @booksenvogue
I’m just a MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) grad student and book cosplayer sharing my favorite titles with representation online. When I’m not studying, you can find me either reading aloud to my new puppy, Yemaya, or researching my ancestry. I read for self-care, and I aspire to one day serve as your go-to neighborhood librarian aiding in your reading enjoyment.
Because there aren’t enough novels that deal with infertility and pregnancy loss in the Black community, I highly recommend Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins. This fantasy book read like a contemporary story I was eager to believe and filled with the magical healing I was in denial about needing.
Cayla | @bookitqueen
Hi everyone, my name is Cayla! From the time I was a kid, I’ve always looked forward to library trips where I could find books with characters who looked like me. I love highlighting books by Black authors and books that may not be popular at the time while tapping into 90s nostalgia. Outside of reading, I enjoy sending snail mail, cruising with my partner, and collecting enamel pins!
I love recommending The City We Became by Three-Time Hugo Award-Winning Author N.K. Jemisin to folks! The premise and characters are so fascinating to me that I constantly think about who would represent cities around the world. When I first read it during the pandemic, I couldn’t stop thinking or talking about it, and there’s a newly published sequel, The World We Make!
Deanna | @deannareadsandsleeps
Hi! I’m Deanna, I’m a late 20s girlie, and I love yelling about books! I’ve tried to be a little quieter but this passion of mine is quite serious, so I’ve moved on to acceptance. While I’m down for anything that catches my eye (send me recs please), you can mostly catch me reading fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, manga, and a memoir here or there. Shoutout to naps and iced coffee for keeping me going.
The Fifth Season (Broken Earth Trilogy) by N.K. Jemisin is no secret but I still keep running into readers who haven’t jumped into that world yet! Why!? I’ve never seen characters grow (or break) like this, and along with world-building that’s unlike any other, it’s a tale that’s sat with me for YEARS and I can’t recommend it enough! I’m looking forward to rereading it and destroying myself within its pages once more!
Content warning for The Fifth Season: child death, graphic violence, and genocide.
Bri | @bookstarbri
My name is Bri and I’ve been a bookstagrammer for nearly 2 years! My favorite genres are fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. As well as reading, I love writing and pretty anything having to do with books. Sharing BIPOC books with readers is truly one of my favorite things to do!
A book I recommend to anyone who will listen is The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson. It reshapes Stephen King’s Carrie into a nuanced story with compelling themes and a stunning narrative with a complex cast of characters!
Candace | @shygirlediting
Hi, my name is Candace and I live in a small town. So reading offers a way to explore without leaving the comfort of my home. My favorite genre is thrillers, in Adult and YA. But I have started branching into literary fiction, romance, and historical fiction. When I am not reading you can find me playing a game on my phone, watching a tv show, or watching a movie.
An author that I always recommend is Nora Deloach. Her Mama Detective series is so good. This series is about a woman and her daughter that solves crimes in and around their hometown. My favorite part about these books is the endings. Everyone involved in the case, except the murderer, comes to her house for a home-cooked meal. The ending reminds me of my family on Sundays and the holidays. Sadly, the author is no longer with us, but I am so thankful that she created this series.
Alexia | @bookishends, http://www.bookishends.com/
I’m a beta/sensitivity reader, book blogger, and bookstagrammer that loves highlighting Black and queer books and has a soft spot for anything mythology related.
We Deserve Monuments is one of my new favorites. It’s the kind of book that creeps up on you until you’re at the end and amazed at what you just read. The story is YA with a slow burn mystery, sweet and messy romance, and complicated family relationships.
Reneé | @rensbookishspace
Hi there! I’m Reneé, a Jamaican girl spreading my love for reading. My first loves are thrillers and mysteries but I’ll read just about anything. My platform, RensBookishSpace, was created out of a desire to interact with readers alike and to encourage others to start reading or to read more.
My book recommendation is Island Queen by Vanessa Riley. This book tells the true life story of Dorothy Kirwan, a black woman who rose against the odds and became one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the colonial West Indies. Not only is her story inspiring, it’s a great way to learn about Caribbean history.
Naomie | @naesreadingnook
My name is Naomie and I’m a Haitian-American wife, mom, believer and bookstagrammer. I love reading from diverse authors with views and experiences that are different from mine. I also enjoy reading memoirs and some self-help books that challenge me to be and do better! I’m a bit of a bookaholic and can talk about books for hours if you let me.
I’m recommending the book Playing a New Game A Black Woman’s Guide to Being Well and Thriving in the Workplace by Tammy Lewis Wilborn, PhD. In it, Wilborn gives explicit examples of exactly how we can set boundaries and how to respond when others appear to try to overstep. She talks about how to best gain mental clarity and provides self-reflection exercises— which I personally found to be so helpful in all my relationships at work and even personally.
Aisha | @aishathebibliophile
About me: I am an avid reader and blogger who enjoys critically engaging with books and reading widely. My favourite genres are literary fiction, poetry and short stories, and I am a big fan of reading backlist books.
The book I recommend is The Street by Ann Petry because the writing is stunning, and despite the time it was written, this devastating story holds a lot of relevance to the world we live in today. Its central character is a Black single mother, and we get an insight into navigating what life was like in 1940s America with all the implications and limitations attached to that.
Ashley | @strikingbooks_lover
Hello, my name is Ashley. I’m from Michigan. I’m a mom of a teenager (wish me luck 😂) and have been married to my high school sweetheart for seven years. I love to read thrillers, and my new favorite genre is smut. I’m a big foodie. I love to try different food and restaurants, but nothing beats pizza 🍕
My favorite book is Take Hint Dani Brown. The book is hilarious and pretty steamy. It’s the perfect book to binge on a lazy day.
Sarah | @bookishandblack
Sarah Coquillat is the bookstagrammer behind Bookish and Black. A lifelong reader, Sarah turned to social media as a place to build community and foster conversation around books, particularly those written by and featuring people of color. She has been featured on Girls Night In, TheEveryGirl, and more. You can find her on Instagram, subscribe to her newsletter or listen to her podcast, Bound to Happen.
I’m recommending Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith. It’s a graphic novel that follows four best friends through several connected short story comics. It follows the four women through the ups and downs of their daily lives in the Bronx. The title and the stories come from the theme and thread found in each comic- the experience of Wash Day as a Black woman. The novel uses that experience to give us a window into the lives of each of the women. I don’t typically read graphic novels but as a Black woman, I absolutely loved this story and felt so seen in each of the characters.
Shonte | @mybookscafe_
My name is Shonte and I’m from Guyana. I first developed my love of reading back in high school and I’ve been reading ever since. Genres I like are romance, fantasy and mystery.
A book I recommend: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney. This was one of the best books I read in 2022. It’s fun, nostalgic and inspiring
Amivi | Bookstagram: @amivireads, Booktok: @amivireads
Hi my name is Amivi, I’m a 24 and run a booktok account under the name amivireads. My account primarily focuses on black and sapphic books.
D’Vaughn and Kris Plan A Wedding is one of my favorite black books especially since it has black lesbian representation. This book made me feel so seen because finding books that represent both of my identities can be hard at times.
Marissa | @marissareadsitall
My name is Marissa and I am a 24-year-old teacher and book lover residing in South Florida. My love for books is fueled by my love for learning. I believe we can learn so much about ourselves and others through reading everything from sociological nonfiction to our beloved spicy romances.
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, a short story collection by Deesha Philyaw: These stories are tales of complicated women whose lives are plagued by dissatisfaction. Deesha’s prose is raw, pearl clutching, and calls the reader to consider how our inner desires, spirituality, and the values of the cultures we are raised in intersect to inform our public and private lives.
A literary omnivore and influential Bookstagrammer, Layne applies her vivid creativity for every title we promote by deftly coordinating news coverage and events for authors, writing and editing diverse content for social media, and assisting with Books Forward’s social media engagement initiatives.
As a former special education teacher, Layne firmly believes in the importance of literature and accessibility. This unique point of view is an asset in her publicity efforts as she works to reach readers across various platforms and demographics.
Layne received her Bachelors of Arts in Creative Writing and Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and her Masters of Art in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education. She lives in Philadelphia with her loyal, but sadly illiterate cat, Macaroni.