96 Books Sharing the Joy, Love, and Adventures of Black Lives

Posted by Suzanne on July 24, 2020


While books about anti-racism are trending on Goodreads and dominating the bestseller lists right now, some of our favorite Black authors are also inspiring us to broaden our reading. Bestselling YA author Nic Stone recently shared on Instagram:

“So while you’re reading those books about racism, please also read books about explicitly black people—especially black kids—just being human. Doing things humans are allowed to do in our imaginations: falling in love, dealing with illness, navigating time travel, questioning other aspects of their identities, saving their country, fighting with their parents.” 

Bestselling romance author Jasmine Guillory is also encouraging readers to explore more books:

“Racism is not the only thing to know about what it means to be Black. Our joys, our sorrows, our love, our grief, our struggles to fit in, our families, our accomplishments and our triumphs—these things also matter. Black children matter, and not only the ones killed before their time...To recognize Black lives as ones to celebrate, empathize with and care about, here’s your antiracism work: read more fiction by and about Black people,” she wrote in an essay in TIME

We’re here to help. We did a deep dive into some of the most popular genres on Goodreads to showcase highly rated books by Black authors you may have missed. You’ll find love stories, battles between good and evil, and lessons in leadership—sometimes all in one book.
 

Mystery & Thriller

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Science Fiction 

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Fantasy 

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Romance 

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Contemporary Young Adult

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Young Adult Fantasy 

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Middle Grade

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Memoirs

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Essays

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Comments Showing 1-39 of 39 (39 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Hazel Bee (new)

Hazel Bee My favorites are Tristan Strong and Alexia Gordon.


message 2: by TMR (new)

TMR These are fantastic picks.


message 3: by Gabriela (new)

Gabriela This is the content I want to see!


message 4: by Christine (new)

Christine Really love that quotation from Nic Stone. Looking forward to reading some of these recommendations! :)


message 5: by Julia (new)

Julia For the Young Adult Fantasy section I also recommend "The Good Luck Girls" by Charlotte Nicole Davis.


message 6: by Bint (new)

Bint Arab For Fantasy/Sci-Fi consider books by Octavia E. Butler.

~bint


message 7: by Caryn (new)

Caryn Another addition to the tween/teen books, The Crash (A Minecraft Novel) by Tracey Baptiste (2018).


message 8: by Kristen (new)

Kristen I recommend "Only Black Girls In Town" for Middle Grade fiction! Was great :)


Enchantedsleeper What about Akata Witch? (Young Adult Fantasy)


message 10: by kitty ♡ (new)

kitty ♡ i was looking for a recommendations list like this!!


kittykat (Jo Tortitude) I Absolutely adore this no matter who the authors and the books are because black authors can and do write much so more than about the struggles of being black.

I'd love to see similar selections from other marginalised groups too to double down on the fact that it is not just a single demographic that writes all different types of GREAT books in all different genres. We also need to see more of these books included on the 'standard' lists much more regularly too and not just as entries on 'diversity' lists.


Melissa (YA Book Shelf) I would recommend This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow. It's by a Black author, and one of the MCs is Black. I really loved that book when I read it last year.


message 13: by Angela (new)

Angela I love Binti so much. I want to make more people read it but I'm afraid they'll tell me they didn't like it and then I'll have to cut them off from my life. D:

The City We Became is next on my TBR. :3

And, to add a suggestion, if you're into YA urban fantasy, I really loved Ashia Monet's The Black Veins.


message 14: by Maryam (new)

Maryam Is just me or should they have included the 2 books Angie Thomas wrote; The Hate U Give and On The Come Up?


Kate (Feathered Turtle Press) Maryam wrote: "Is just me or should they have included the 2 books Angie Thomas wrote; The Hate U Give and On The Come Up?"

I think those are pretty well known and they're trying to encourage people to explore further is all.


message 16: by nitya (new)

nitya YESSSS ❤️


message 17: by Maegen (new)

Maegen Really happy to see one of Karen Lord's books on here :) Her "The Best of All Possible Worlds" is an excellent and enjoyable science fiction novel :)


message 18: by Aaron (last edited Jul 24, 2020 11:03PM) (new)

Aaron Vaughn The Haunting of Hip Hop by Bertice Berry blurs the line between the spiritual and the paranormal. The novel is a poignant yet empowering cautionary tale that speaks to generations.

The Haunting of Hip Hop

The Haunting of Hip Hop by Bertice Berry


message 19: by Random (new)

Random Maegen wrote: "Really happy to see one of Karen Lord's books on here :) Her "The Best of All Possible Worlds" is an excellent and enjoyable science fiction novel :)"


Redemption in Indigo is one of my all time favorite books ever. I adore that type of story telling, I guess because I grew up listening to people telling stories.

I am looking forward to The Best of All Possible Worlds
I have it, but haven't gotten to it yet.

Just finished the Rosewater trilogy and it was also a pretty good series with, I feel, some really good characters.

Anything by N.K. Jemisin is worth the read. I am just starting The City We Became in audio today. The start of it, at least in audio, is the short story The City Born Great and then the rest of the book goes from there.

BTW - for those who like audiobooks, the narrator of the first part is really excellent. I need to hunt down more of her work.

I'm surprised Octavia E. Butler didn't make the list.


message 20: by Maegen (new)

Maegen Random wrote: "Maegen wrote: "Really happy to see one of Karen Lord's books on here :) Her "The Best of All Possible Worlds" is an excellent and enjoyable science fiction novel :)"


[book:Redemption in Indigo|70..."


I definitely want to read Redemption in Indigo, it looked like fun. I hope you enjoy The Best of All Possible Worlds! :) And yes, I agree, N.K. Jemesin is an excellent writer. She did a lot of stuff with world building in The Fifth Season that I really liked.


message 21: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Daniell The grip series and kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan. The River Wilde series by Dylan Allen


message 22: by TMR (new)

TMR These are all so good.


message 23: by Catty (new)

Catty I always considered myself a diverse reader, picking up various recommendations from various genres over the last years. This June I really questioned myself and checked if it is true: Over the last 6 years I only read one (!!!) book by a black author. As this list shows, black authors write across a multitude of genres, so I was happy within my own (mostly white) blubble without realizing it.

This made me wanting to read only black authors until the end of the year; so far I have been majorly hooked up by Alyssa Cole's "Relucant Royals" series and I am looking forward to many more.


message 24: by kittykat (Jo Tortitude) (last edited Aug 08, 2020 08:02AM) (new)

kittykat (Jo Tortitude) Catty wrote: "I always considered myself a diverse reader, picking up various recommendations from various genres over the last years. This June I really questioned myself and checked if it is true: Over the last 6 years I only read one (!!!) book by a black author. As this list shows, black authors write across a multitude of genres, so I was happy within my own (mostly white) blubble without realizing it.

This made me wanting to read only black authors until the end of the year; so far I have been majorly hooked up by Alyssa Cole's "Relucant Royals" series and I am looking forward to many more. "


You ARE a diverse reader, just not racially diverse. Diverse means different in general and this means so many things, but has been apportioned to describe non white peoples in society far too often in my opinion.

But you are not alone in your bubble. I would also ask you how many are by other POC authors or even indigenous authors from the various continents?

Because of the lack of marketing overall, other than the two or three 'trendy' people of any given moment in each genre of literature, the vast majority of black, indeed any POCs writing in mainstream publishing just get ignored once their book is released, which is an incredible shame and as many have said before me, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One thing is to consider more indie authors, especially in romance. I was surprised to see so many indie romance authors on this list as GR is normally woeful at including indie author in any genres in these blog posts! 😍Kennedy Ryan😍 is mostly indie and Rebekah Wetherspoon, Stephanie Nicole Norris, Alexandria House, Sharon C. Cooper, Christina C. Jones, are all indies and there are many more excellent examples to be had. And both Alyssa Cole and Talia Hibbert started out as indies (self publishing and small indie presses), with only Talia's last two books being trad pubbed - she was fairly prolific as an indie author before that - and is the only non American (I think) on the romance list - she is a Brit.

As for Alyssa Cole, she is a one in a million because not only does she rock at contemporary romance like her Royals series, she has also written romantic suspense, historical romance of various time periods including the civil rights era in the US and medieval Scotland!, queer romance (MM & FF) both historical and contemporary, YA dystopian romance, sci-fi romance... and across full length novel, novella and short story form too. She is a master across the spectrum of romance and also has a standalone thriller (not a romance) due out later this year.

Anyone on SM, especially Twitter should try to follow a handful of POC authors, but especially romance authors as they in particular are huge proponents of promoting not just their own books but those of their peers and friends and that is a fantastic way to find more new authors to read.


kittykat (Jo Tortitude) Looking over these books again, I have to give it up to GR for a change because even within each genre the books picked are so diverse in range. In particular, it was nice to see a couple of cozies included in the Mystery/Thriller section and a couple of older titles (Imaro, 1981 and My Soul To Keep - which crosses over to horror - from 1997) in the Fantasy section.


message 26: by Louise (new)

Louise I wish The Shadow King or some other book by Maaza Mengiste was on here


message 27: by The Celestial (new)

The Celestial Archive HEY! Where's Black Leopard, Red Wolf?


message 28: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Great list! I just added several books to my TBR.

I would also suggest The Voting Booth, by Brandy Colbert. It's a YA book with politics and romance: very timely!

A graphic novel I really enjoyed lately is Bingo Love, by Tee Franklin. This one is a love story that begins with two teen girls who fall in love in the 1960's and are separated by their families, but find each other again later in life.


kittykat (Jo Tortitude) Nicko wrote: "HEY! Where's Black Leopard, Red Wolf?"

It's there.


message 30: by ADPreadsYA (last edited Aug 08, 2020 09:33PM) (new)

ADPreadsYA Angela wrote: "I love Binti so much. I want to make more people read it but I'm afraid they'll tell me they didn't like it and then I'll have to cut them off from my life. D:

The City We Became is next on my TBR..."


I agree!! I went in blind and blazed thru all 3 in 3 sittings.


message 31: by Carla (new)

Carla Alonso I'm excited to read many of this books!


message 32: by Jim (new)

Jim I watched a documentary about MLK, Jr. last week with my wife. What is happening in the US now, and the problems still needing solutions, have not changed at all from the 60's. One could say that my attitude is being less than hopeful, but I would say it is being honest. A dream deferred is no dream at all...


message 33: by Gary (new)

Gary I loved The Women of Brewster Place, by Gloria Naylor, a book of stories about the lives of several Black women living in a run-down apartment block in New York. Great stuff.


message 34: by Makalah (new)

Makalah Cleo Wade's poetry books!


message 35: by Hadiyah (new)

Hadiyah Love this list!


message 36: by StellaDavis (new)

StellaDavis Virgil Now you have done it!!! Really done it!! This is fab!! Just what i have been looking for! Wish i could bookmark just this section, so i could just jump right back to where i left off. I need a poster of this list! I know you will be adding to it! Right!!? I am gonna start with Rebel by Beverly Jenkins.


kittykat (Jo Tortitude) StellaDavis wrote: "... I am gonna start with Rebel by Beverly Jenkins. "

I recently read my first Beverly Jenkins and it was pure fun from start to finish and is so rarely ever mentioned which is such a shame... I highly recommend this great story of a Lady Train and Bank Robber!!!
Wild Sweet Love by Beverly Jenkins


message 38: by Bree (new)

Bree Wash Thank you!


message 39: by Tracie (new)

Tracie I read Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall after seeing this article. I loved it! I'm so glad to have found a new author, and I can't wait to read the next book. It was great on audio.


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