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Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  4,653 ratings  ·  868 reviews
An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.

Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging can stick with readers the rest of their lives--but it doesn't co
Hardcover, 201 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Ballantine Books
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  4,653 ratings  ·  868 reviews

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Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, race
"Myths tell us what those like us have done, can do, should do. Without myths to lead the way, we hesitate to leap forward." ~N.K. Jemisen, Dreaming Awake

We read for many reasons. We read to find adventure. We read to escape our problems. We read to learn about others. We read to learn new things. We read to be entertained. Perhaps most of all, we read to know we are not alone. A well-written book can show us who we are and can make us feel we belong.

It was a joy to read Well-Read Black Girl: F
I remember the time my teacher placed a copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in my hands. I identified strongly with young Maya. Through her walk a sense of power was infused in me. I felt that I could endure. Just the idea that a little brown girl's voice held that much power. I remember shortly after that Dr. Angelou came to visit my local library. She towered over the patrons yet she always managed to embrace everyone at their own level. Even at that young age I understood that I was in th ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love reading books about reading. It’s always inspiring to hear about what books loomed large in a person’s life. And it’s doubly exciting when those looking back are authors giving insight to the texts that spurred them to write their own stories. I also genuinely respect the way women are able to connect with one another in a way men can’t, (won’t?). It’s really something to see. I’m envious.

Glory Edim has created a phenomenon that started with conversations around a tee shirt she was wearin
What a brilliant concept and gem of a book! A thoughtful partner gave Glory Edim a T-shirt for her birthday that said "Well Read Black Girl" and listed her favorite authors like Morrison, Walker, Angelou etc. The T-shirt garnered attention when lots of women wanted one too and it spawned a book club (Well Read Black Girl) in NYC. Edim (founder of said book club) poses a question:
"When did you first see yourself in literature?"
Thus are the ingredients of the book. Fifteen current Black female au
Stacie C
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve always been a voracious reader. My mother used to read me bedtime stories at night and as soon as I learned how to read, more often than not you would find me with a book in my hands. There are two books that stand out that were an obvious reflection of me and my family: The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton and Pass It On: African American Poetry by Wade Hudson. Those two books had Black people on the covers, Black people on the pages and were about Black people. Those were the two boo ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Glory Edim asked a handful of black women writers when they first saw themselves in literature, and this essay collection includes their answers. I listened to the audio which I would not recommend. It would have been great if the contributors had narrated their own essays, but they're all read by the editor, making some of it feel a bit repetitive an hard to separate out. Also it's much harder to mark up an audiobook and there's just no way to read this without adding to your TBR list! I've alr ...more
Korrie’s Korner
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-voices
This book was inspiring. This book was hope. This book was encouragement down deep that I didn’t realize I needed. This book, a collection of essays, heart changing essays, written by various black women writers showed the importance of seeing ourselves in literature.

“Reading allows us to witness ourselves. Being a reader is an incredible gift, providing me with a lens to interpret the world. Most important, it has invigorated my imagination and allowed me to choose which narratives I want to ce
Being a reader is an incredible gift, providing me with a lens to interpret the world. Most important, it has invigorated my imagination and allowed me to choose which narratives I want to center and hold close.

What a brilliant collection of essays by black women. I love books about books, readers and writers and Well-Read Black Girl covered all three. I admire so many of the writers who contributed to this collection, it is no wonder I devoured this book because I wanted to know more about
Bree Hill
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those gems I’m grateful I picked up. This is a collection of black women sharing their stories of finding authors who inspired them to become writers and finding works where they finally saw characters who looked like them.

I loved reading these ladies’ stories. Highly recommend the audiobook if you can get your hands on it. Also throughout the book are recommendations so have a paper and pen handy.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this. I'm buying hardcopies for my daughter's. ...more
Tiffany Tyler
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book perfectly captures what it feels like to be a black girl that loves books and the difference they can make in your life...I can’t wait for everyone to experience this one!!!
Kate Olson
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aoc, adult-reads, essay
✨ literary spark
This essay collection is pure gold, my reading friends. An anthology of works about books and reading by some of the most prominent Black female writers today, these essays divulge a vast array of texts that inspired and shaped each author.
As a school librarian I have always firmly believed that there is no childhood canon that will reach all children, necessitating wide-ranging collections available to all. This book solidified that belief.
We have no idea what work will conne
3.25 Stars

Seems appropriate that my first read of the year is #diversespines book of the month Well Read Black Girl by Glory Edim. I enjoyed this collection of essays that mirrored some of my own experiences growing up as a lover of books. I must say the two essays that stood out the most were Gabourey Sidibe’s “Gal: A Hard Row To Hoe” and N. K. Jemisin’s “Dreaming Awake.” They were both brutally honest and funny.
chantel nouseforaname
Beautiful. There's magic in finding yourself. There's something powerful about seeing your face in the stories around you on television, in film, in the media, in books, etc.

It's a privilege that's not generally afforded to people of colour, but we're snatching it left, right and center. We're telling our own stories and there are so many OGs/legends who shared their/our stories for our pleasure, so that we could have a place. They carved out a space for us, the Toni Morrisons, the Nikki Giovan
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m so glad I finally picked this up from my bookshelf, because my reading slump was soooo deep! This collection has taken me out of my slump and imbibed me with new inspiration.

This anthology is a wonderful ode to Black sisterhood and to reading. Each contributor’s take on reading/writing/existing as a Black woman in this world felt like journal entries laden with affirmations to the reader and themselves. To have so many established writers contributing in this collection is an honor I’m sure
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review to come.
Joshunda Sanders
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to re-read my galley again, which I took some time to do this weekend, before I wrote a review because I wanted to remember and savor all of the goodness of this anthology, which for Black women & girl readers is replete with testimony and witness, healing and recognition, a booklist to last you for a good long while and more than that, even. More maybe than I can express here, so I'll write more certainly as someone who has her own story of a life shaped by finding Black women writers ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to #netgalley and #randomhousepublishing for giving me my first ARC, Well-Read Black Girl! This book is the epitome of why representation matters. Well-Read Black Girl is an anthology of essays by black women writers. All of the women represented in the book share a common love for reading at an early age, and the lack of representation in books with girls who look like them. Well-Read Black girl is very timely and necessary. Thanks to the wonderful women who contributed to this book and ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love every single thing about this book, from the book lists, to the personal stories, to the IRL book clubs. Glory you have created something wonderfully magical, a repository for everyone but especially for women of color to easily find ourselves and see reflections of ourselves in the written word.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
 “Well- Read Black Girl” is an anthology of essays by various authors such as Tayari Jones (An American Marriage ), Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming ), Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing ) and many others. This book was an amazing experience of Black Girl Magic.

As a self proclaimed " Well- read Black Girl" myself, I could relate to many of the stories that were told throughout. This book really made me reflect back on some of my own reading habits as well as think back to the how, why,  a
Nicole O
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a much needed anthology of stories from prominent black women writers. Never before have I thought to ask myself when, how or why I fell in love with books, or when I first saw myself within the pages of a story or novel. This collection dives head first into these questions, with each essayist writing about the works and people that have influenced them the most in both their lives and their careers. I guarantee you will walk away from this book with an intimidating (in a good way) ...more
A book about reading books with essays written by Black female authors and how they found representation in literature. This anthology had been thinking about my reading life when I was younger and I wish I was exposed to more authors who looked like me and shared similar experiences of a Black girl coming of age in America. Instead I spent my time reading VC Andrews, Dean Koontz, Christopher Pike and Sweet Valley High.

The only thing wrong with this book is that I don’t know when I will have the
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Reading for me was a vehicle for self-exploration when real life wasn't safe." -Dhonielle Clayton

Well-Read Black Girl is a fascinating collection of essays edited by Glory Edim, who created the Well-Read Black Girl community. These essays are by women from different walks of life who all adore reading. They talk about when they first found themselves in books, authors and books they connected with, and how reading changed their lives. If you are a book lover, your hear will be touched by hearin
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love reading books about reading. I especially enjoyed this one as it brought together stories from Some of our best black authors. It shines a light on the importance of hearing these voices regardeless of race, age or gender. The essays were creative and original. It was a treat to read some of my favorite authors like Tayari Jones, some I had not read in awhile such as Rebecca Walker and a few new names I’ll be sure and pick up!
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amv
Loved everything in this collection! It’s about books, the reading experience, finding self in stories or writing them if they don’t exist, and celebrating black women. And there are suggested reading lists🤓!!! Added so much to my TBR and will be returning to this collection in the future for my own education. Definitely worth reading! 5 stars
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Reading about what books sime of my favorite authors enjoyed or what books inspired them was fascinating. I felt like I was chatting with each author over a drink while they talked about their love of books and how the written word helped them deal with the obstacles they faced. ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Initially, when I learned of this book I thought it was a gathering of fiction by some of today's most prolific African-American women writers. To my surprise, the book instead consisted of prolific women writers of color writing about the books that influenced them early in their careers and beyond. Although all of the essays were wonderful and include some of today's most touted writers including Jesmyn Ward, Tayari Jones, and Jaqueline Woodson, a few stood out to me. Veronica Chambers story o ...more
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This essay collection defined, magnified and gratified what it means to be a well- read black girl with such exuberance. Each author found a unique way to express their love of books and how this has sculpted them as women, readers and writers. Allowing readers to remember and reflect on their own love story with books and how it evolved over time. Recapturing authors and stories such as V.C Andrews, Judy Blum, the Bernstein Bears and Sweet Valley brought back so many memories that has shaped my ...more
Richelle Robinson
I need all brown bookworms to read this anthology. I need all bookworms to read this anthology. You won’t regret it at all. This anthology reminded me of my younger book worm self and I found myself nodding along as I read. This book also gives you plenty of recommendations for several genres written by black authors which I loved as well. Some of the authors in this anthology I have read before and some are new to me. I did like some stories more than others but overall I enjoyed this anthology ...more
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. When anyone asks for book recommendations, this will now be my go to b/c it proves a plethora of book recommendations. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my top 10 list of favorite books (some which are noted in this anthology) but this here encompasses almost all the great black woman authors. This is absolutely a book for the well read black girl or those who inspire to become one. I’d highly recommend this book.
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An Interview with Glory Edim, Founder of Well-Read Black Girl 1 7 Jan 13, 2019 09:08AM  

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Glory Edim is the founder of Well-Read Black Girl, a Brooklyn-based book club and digital platform that celebrates the uniqueness of Black literature and sisterhood. In fall 2017 she organized the first-ever Well-Read Black Girl Festival. She has worked as a creative strategist for over ten years at startups and cultural institutions, including The Webby Awards and the New York Foundation for the ...more

Articles featuring this book

Perhaps we're biased, but we believe books are the perfect gift for any occasion. And it doesn't have to be stressful...
81 likes · 23 comments
“The literary establishment continues to privilege work that’s just a touch removed, “refined” they would call it. Writers who tone down their anguish, their rage, their nontraditional, “deviant” choices are perceived as more skilled, more worthy of critical acclaim. This often has a lot to do with racism and sexism, and the stories we are “allowed” to tell as people of color.” 4 likes
“Black girls could not be too confident, too loud, too smart. Fat girls could be cute but not beautiful, could be the funny sidekick or wise truth-teller in school plays, never the leading role or love interest.” 3 likes
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