45 Body Liberation Books by Black Authors for Black History Month

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As we pursue body liberation and fat liberation, it’s essential to keep listening to the voices that have been leading the way for decades — Black voices.

Black people have done foundational work in so many areas, from modern music to computers to civil rights to fat activism. Those of us who are non-Black activists and learners must ensure that we continue to lift up, center and support Black people in their work and lives.

Literature is one of the beautiful ways that we can do that. When we read works by Black authors we gain benefits such as insights into their experience, normal representation of the Black experience, and get to see inside of their creative minds and let their voice and stories be heard.

But Black voices are more than just learning tools for white people. Black voices need to be not only heard, but celebrated — every day, not just on Black History Month.

Here are 44 books by Black authors, ranging from anti-racist education to memoirs to fat studies to children’s books. Some of these books are fat-positive, some speak frankly about conflicting and difficult feelings about bodies, and others deal with other aspects of life and liberation.

Books on Body Liberation

Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings

Image description: An illustration of a group of white people from the early century in fancy clothes that are gawking, pointing, and laughing at a fat black person
Image description: An illustration of a group of white people from the early century in fancy clothes that are gawking, pointing, and laughing at a fat Black person.

Strings weaves together an eye-opening historical narrative ranging from the Renaissance to the current moment, analyzing important works of art, newspaper and magazine articles, and scientific literature and medical journals―where fat bodies were once praised―showing that fat phobia, as it relates to Black women, did not originate with medical findings, but with the Enlightenment era belief that fatness was evidence of “savagery” and racial inferiority.

This book is essential reading for every liberationist.

Fat Girls in Black Bodies: Creating a New Space of Belonging by Joy Arlene Renee Cox PhD

Image description: A book cover with an illustration of a curvy black girl with big hair. In the hair is the text, "Fat Girls in Black Bodies: Creating Communities of Our Own."
Image description: A book cover with an illustration of a curvy Black girl with big hair. In the hair is the text, “Fat Girls in Black Bodies: Creating Communities of Our Own.”

To live in a body at the intersection of fat, Black, and female is to be on the margins. From concern-trolling–“I just want you to be healthy”–to outright attacks, fat Black bodies that fall outside dominant constructs of beauty and wellness are subjected to healthism, racism, and misogynoir. The spaces carved out by third-wave feminism and the fat liberation movement fail at true inclusivity and intersectionality; fat Black women need to create their own safe spaces and community, instead of tirelessly giving labor to educate, chastise, and strive against dominant groups.

The Body Is Not an Apology, Second Edition: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor

Image description: A naked black person lays on a background of butterfly wings with a sunflower behind their head. The text reads "The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love"
Image description: A naked Black person lays on a background of butterfly wings with a sunflower behind their head. The text reads “The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love”

The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by these violent systems. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites us to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. As we awaken to our own indoctrinated body shame, we feel inspired to awaken others and to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. When we act from this truth on a global scale, we usher in the transformative opportunity of radical self-love, which is the opportunity for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world–for us all.

Your Body Is Not An Apology Workbook: Tools for Living Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor

Image description: Sunflowers and sunflower petals on a sparkly background with rays coming from the center; the text reads "Your Body Is Not An Apology Workbook: Tools for Living Radical Self-Love"
Image description: Sunflowers and sunflower petals on a sparkly background with rays coming from the center; the text reads “Your Body Is Not An Apology Workbook: Tools for Living Radical Self-Love”

Your Body Is Not an Apology Workbook is the action guide that gives them tools and structured frameworks they can begin using immediately to deepen their radical self-love journey–such as Taylor’s four pillars of practice, which help readers dismantle body shame and give them access to a lifestyle rooted in love. Taylor guides readers to move beyond theory and into doing and being radical self-love change agents in the world.

Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness by DaShaun L. Harrison

Image description: Nine black and white images of a black person sitting back in a chair in a hotel room with a white background between them over a black box with text that reads "Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness"
Image description: Nine black and white images of a black person sitting back in a chair in a hotel room with a white background between them over a black box with text that reads “Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness”

In Belly of the Beast, Da’Shaun Harrison–a fat, Black, disabled, and nonbinary trans writer–offers an incisive, fresh, and precise exploration of anti-fatness as anti-Blackness.

Taking on desirability politics, the limitations of gender, the connection between anti-fatness and carcerality, and the incongruity of “health” and “healthiness” for the Black fat, Harrison viscerally and vividly illustrates the myriad harms of anti-fat anti-Blackness. They offer strategies for dismantling denial, unlearning the cultural programming that tells us “fat is bad,” and destroying the world as we know it, so the Black fat can inhabit a place not built on their subjugation.

The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women’s Unruly Political Bodies by Andrea Elizabeth Shaw

Image description: A book cover with a brown background, white text and a picture of a black women sitting around fruit. Her skin is dark and you can not see her face. The text reads "The embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women's Unruly Political Bodies."
Image description: A book cover with a brown background, white text and a picture of a Black women sitting around fruit. Her skin is dark and you cannot see her face. The text reads “The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women’s Unruly Political Bodies.”

Despite the West’s privileging of slenderness as an aesthetic ideal, the African Diaspora has historically displayed resistance to the Western European and North American indulgence in ‘fat anxiety.’ The Embodiment of Disobedience explores the ways in which the African Diaspora has rejected the West’s efforts to impose imperatives of slenderness and mass-market fat-anxiety.

Yoke: My Yoga of Self Acceptance by Jessamyn Stanley

Image description: A black person wearing black underwear sits on the floor looking at the camera on a beige background with a yellow sun behind them; the text reads "Yoke: My Yoga of Self Acceptance"
Image description: A Black person wearing black underwear sits on the floor looking at the camera on a beige background with a yellow sun behind them; the text reads “Yoke: My Yoga of Self Acceptance

Finding self-acceptance both on and off the mat. In Sanskrit, yoga means to “yoke.” To yoke mind and body, movement and breath, light and dark, the good and the bad. This larger idea of “yoke” is what Jessamyn Stanley calls the yoga of the everyday—a yoga that is not just about perfecting your downward dog but about applying the hard lessons learned on the mat to the even harder daily project of living.

Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation by Dalia Kinsey, RD, LD

Image description: Pale blue, medium blue, and yellow circles overlapping on a light blue background with rainbow colored birds shown flying across; The text reads "Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation"
Image description: Pale blue, medium blue, and yellow circles overlapping on a light blue background with rainbow colored birds shown flying across; The text reads “Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation”

Become the healthiest and happiest version of yourself using wellness tools designed specifically for BIPOC and LGBTQ folks. The lack of BIPOC and LGBTQ representation in the fields of health and nutrition has led to repeated racist and unscientific biases that negatively impact the very people they purport to help. Many representatives of the increasingly popular body positivity movement actually add to the body image concerns of queer people of color by emphasizing cisgender, heteronormative, and Eurocentric standards of beauty. Few mainstream body positivity resources address the intersectional challenges of anti-Blackness, colorism, homophobia, transphobia, and generational trauma that are at the root of our struggles with wellness and self-care. 

Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body. by Jessamyn Stanley

Image description: A black person in a sports bra and black shorts poses on a teal yoga mat looking up into the distance; the text reads "Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body."
Image description: A Black person in a sports bra and black shorts poses on a teal yoga mat looking up into the distance; the text reads “Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body.”

Jessamyn Stanley, a yogi who breaks all the stereotypes, has built a life as an internationally recognized yoga teacher and award-winning Instagram star by combining a deep understanding for yoga with a willingness to share her personal struggles in a way that touches everyone who comes to know her. Now she brings her body-positive, emotionally uplifting approach to yoga in a book that will help every reader discover the power of yoga and how to weave it seamlessly into their life.

Memoirs, Essays and Inspirational Books

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Image description: The tines of a fork are shown against a white background and the tines are casting a shadow on the background behind the text, which reads "Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body"
Image description: The tines of a fork are shown against a white background and the tines are casting a shadow on the background behind the text, which reads “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body”

New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.

Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

Image description: White block text on a black background with a stretched letter H reads "Thick" in red script below, more text reads "And other Essays"
Image description: White block text on a black background with a stretched letter H reads “Thick” in red script below, more text reads “And other Essays”

In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom―award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed―is unapologetically “thick”: deemed “thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less,” McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work.

Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinené

Image description: Book cover with a pink background, white stripes, and white text reading " Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible"
Image description: Book cover with a pink background, white stripes, and white text reading ” Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible

From education to work to dating, this inspirational, honest and provocative book recognises and celebrates the strides Black women have already made, while providing practical advice for those who want to do the same and forge a better, visible future.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

Image description: The word "HEAVY" written vertically down the book cover. Includes reviews and awards on the cover.
Image description: The word “HEAVY” written vertically down the book cover. Includes reviews and awards on the cover.

In this powerful, provocative, and universally lauded memoir—winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal and a finalist for the Kirkus Prize—genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon “provocatively meditates on his trauma growing up as a Black man, and in turn crafts an essential polemic against American moral rot” (Entertainment Weekly).

Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim by Leah Vernon

Image description: A picture of a black plus-size woman wearing a hijab and looking fed up with her hands on her hips. She has bright yellow pants on and a metallic long-sleeve purpose bodysuit.
Image description: A picture of a Black plus-size woman wearing a hijab and looking fed up with her hands on her hips. She has bright yellow pants on and a metallic long-sleeve purple bodysuit.

Ever since she was little, Leah Vernon was told what to believe and how to act. There wasn’t any room for imperfection. Good Muslim girls listened more than they spoke. They didn’t have a missing father or a mother with a mental disability. They didn’t have fat bodies or grow up wishing they could be like the white characters they saw on TV. They didn’t have husbands who abused and cheated on them. They certainly didn’t have secret abortions. In Unashamed, Vernon takes to task the myth of the perfect Muslim woman with frank dispatches on her love-hate relationship with her hijab and her faith, race, weight, mental health, domestic violence, sexuality, the millennial world of dating, and the process of finding her voice.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays by Samantha Urby

Image description: A wet kitten hisses at the camera on a yellow background; Black text reads "We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays"
Image description: A wet kitten hisses at the camera on a yellow background; Black text reads “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays”

Whether Samantha Irby is talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making “adult” budgets; explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette (she’s “35-ish, but could easily pass for 60-something”); detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father’s ashes; sharing awkward sexual encounters; or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms (hang in there for the Costco loot!); she’s as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.

Meaty: Essays by Samantha Irby

Image description: An angry looking hedgehog glares to the right on a pink background; black text reads "Meaty: Essays"
Image description: An angry looking hedgehog glares to the right on a pink background; black text reads “Meaty: Essays”

Smart, edgy, hilarious, and unabashedly raunchy New York Times bestselling author Samantha Irby explodes onto the printed page in her uproarious first collection of essays. Irby laughs her way through tragicomic mishaps, neuroses, and taboos as she struggles through adulthood: chin hairs, depression, bad sex, failed relationships, masturbation, taco feasts, inflammatory bowel disease and more. Updated with her favorite Instagramable, couch-friendly recipes, this much-beloved romp is treat for anyone in dire need of Irby’s infamous, scathing wit and poignant candor.

Wow, No Thank You.: Essays by Samatha Irby

Image description: A sad looking rabbit sits with its back paws splayed out in front of it on a green background; black text reads "Wow, No Thank You.: Essays"
Image description: A sad looking rabbit sits with its back paws splayed out in front of it on a green background; black text reads “Wow, No Thank You.: Essays”

Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friendzoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. This is the bourgeois life of a Hallmark Channel dream. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with “tv executives slash amateur astrologers” while being a “cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person,” “with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees,” who still hides past due bills under her pillow.

This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

Image description: A picture of Gabourey Sidibe, in a little blue dress and pink converse with one hand on her hip and one hand, open by her face as she looks up.

In This Is Just My Face, Gabourey Sidibe—the “gives-zero-effs queen of Hollywood AND perceptive best friend in your head” (Lena Dunham)—paints her unconventional rise to fame with full-throttle honesty. Sidibe tells engrossing, inspiring stories about her Bed-Stuy/Harlem/Senegalese family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway, her first job as a phone sex “talker,” and her Oscar-nominated role in Lee Daniels’s Precious.

#VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE: The Fat Girl’s Guide to Being #Brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-in-the-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini by Nicole Byer

Image description: A black person wearing a very light purple wig, sparkly purple sunglasses above the bangs, a purple fur coat and matching bikini and heels squats looking enticingly at the camera on a purple gradient background;the text reads "#VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE: The Fat Girl’s Guide to Being #Brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-in-the-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini"
Image description: A Black person wearing a very light purple wig, sparkly purple sunglasses above the bangs, a purple fur coat and matching bikini and heels squats looking enticingly at the camera on a purple gradient background;the text reads “#VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE: The Fat Girl’s Guide to Being #Brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-in-the-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini”

The actress, comedian, and podcaster extraordinaire’s guide to being a #brave, bikini-wearing badass.

If you’ve ever seen a fat person post a bikini shot on social media, you already know that they are #verybrave, because apparently existing in a fat body in public is #brave. I, Nicole Byer, wrote this book to 1. share my impressive bikini collection and my hot body with the world and 2. help other people feel #brave by embracing their body as it is. In this book, I share my journey to becoming #brave, give you my hot tips and tricks—on how to find the perfect bikini, how to find your own #bravery, and how to handle haters—and serve you over 100 bikini looks.

Loud Black Girls: 20 Black Women Writers Ask: What’s Next? (Slay in Your Lane) edited by Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinené

Image description: Lip shaped flowers on a vine in front of a light blue background. The text reads "Slay In Your Lane Presents: Loud Black Girls: 20 Black Women Writers Ask: What’s Next?"
Image description: Lip shaped flowers on a vine in front of a light blue background. The text reads “Slay In Your Lane Presents: Loud Black Girls: 20 Black Women Writers Ask: What’s Next?”

An important and timely anthology of Black British writing, edited and curated by the authors of the highly acclaimed, ground-breaking Slay In Your Lane. Slay in Your Lane Presents: Loud Black Girls features essays from the diverse voices of twenty established and emerging Black British writers.

Being a loud Black girl isn’t about the volume of your voice; and using your voice doesn’t always mean speaking the loudest or dominating the room. Most of the time it’s simply existing as your authentic self in a world that is constantly trying to tell you to minimise who you are. Now that we’ve learnt how to Slay in our Lanes, what’s next?

Bodyminds Reimagined:(Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction by Sami Schalk

Image description: A black person looks to the left, overlaid with gears and wires and metal feathers on a cityscape background; the text reads "Bodyminds Reimagined: disability, race, and gender in black women's speculative fiction"
Image description: A black person looks to the left, overlaid with gears and wires and metal feathers on a cityscape background; the text reads “Bodyminds Reimagined: disability, race, and gender in black women’s speculative fiction”

In Bodyminds Reimagined Sami Schalk traces how black women’s speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds—the intertwinement of the mental and the physical—in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability. Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, Schalk demonstrates that this genre’s political potential lies in the authors’ creation of bodyminds that transcend reality’s limitations. She reads (dis)ability in neo-slave narratives by Octavia Butler (Kindred) and Phyllis Alesia Perry (Stigmata) not only as representing the literal injuries suffered under slavery, but also as a metaphor for the legacy of racial violence. The fantasy worlds in works by N. K. Jemisin, Shawntelle Madison, and Nalo Hopkinson—where werewolves have obsessive-compulsive-disorder and blind demons can see magic—destabilize social categories and definitions of the human, calling into question the very nature of identity. In these texts, as well as in Butler’s Parable series, able-mindedness and able-bodiedness are socially constructed and upheld through racial and gendered norms. Outlining (dis)ability’s centrality to speculative fiction, Schalk shows how these works open new social possibilities while changing conceptualizations of identity and oppression through nonrealist contexts.

Anti-Racism and Black Lives Matter

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Image description: A baby blue book cover that has the text "So You want to talk about race" on the front.
Image description: A baby blue book cover that has the text “So you want to talk about race” on the front.

In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America. Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy–from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans–has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about.

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele

Image description: The background looks like a painting with splats of red, orange, and blue. There is white text above with the book title and black text for the author.

In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Patrisse’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin.

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph

Image description: Many different patterns and colors form a mosaic of a black person on an abstract background. The text reads "The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person"
Image description: Many different patterns and colors form a mosaic of a black person on an abstract background. The text reads “The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person”

Writing from the perspective of a friend, Frederick Joseph offers candid reflections on his own experiences with racism and conversations with prominent artists and activists about theirs—creating an essential read for white people who are committed anti-racists and those newly come to the cause of racial justice.

When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson

Image description: Bold block text on a red background; the text reads "When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America"
Image description: Bold block text on a red background; the text reads “When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America”

A groundbreaking work that exposes the twisted origins of affirmative action.

In this “penetrating new analysis” (New York Times Book Review) Ira Katznelson fundamentally recasts our understanding of twentieth-century American history and demonstrates that all the key programs passed during the New Deal and Fair Deal era of the 1930s and 1940s were created in a deeply discriminatory manner. Through mechanisms designed by Southern Democrats that specifically excluded maids and farm workers, the gap between blacks and whites actually widened despite postwar prosperity. In the words of noted historian Eric Foner, “Katznelson’s incisive book should change the terms of debate about affirmative action, and about the last seventy years of American history.”

Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie

Image description: A black person wearing a hooded jacket and red gloves holds up a yellow sign that reads "Black Women, Girls & Trans Folks Get Locked  Up & Shot Down Too" on a purple background. The text above reads "Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color"
Image description: A Black person wearing a hooded jacket and red gloves holds up a yellow sign that reads “Black Women, Girls & Trans Folks Get Locked Up & Shot Down Too” on a purple background. The text above reads “Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color”

Invisible No More is a timely examination of how Black women, Indigenous women, and women of color experience racial profiling, police brutality, and immigration enforcement. Placing stories of individual women—such as Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Dajerria Becton, Monica Jones, and Mya Hall—in the broader context of the twin epidemics of police violence and mass incarceration, it documents the evolution of movements centering women’s experiences of policing and demands a radical rethinking of our visions of safety—and the means we devote to achieving it.

Fiction and Novels

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Image description: A black background with blue shapes like fish, keys, birds, apples, and a plane. Pink writing on top reads "Such a Fun Age."
Image description: A black background with blue shapes like fish, keys, birds, apples, and a plane. Pink writing on top reads “Such a Fun Age.”

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young Black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” and the complicated reality of being a grown-up. It is a searing debut for our times.

Silver Sparrow: a novel by Tayari Jones

Image description: Pink and orange background with light grey feathers. Black text on top reads "Silver Sparrow a novel Tayari Jones."
Image description: Pink and orange background with light grey feathers. Black text on top reads “Silver Sparrow a novel Tayari Jones.”

With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle.

Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families—the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode. This is the third stunning novel from an author deemed “one of the most important writers of her generation” (the Atlanta Journal Constitution).

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Image description: An artistic image of two women's faces created with different shapes, and colors that are blending together.
Image description: An artistic image of two women’s faces created with different shapes, and colors that are blending together.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern Black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her Black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Love in Color: Mythical Tales From Around the World Retold by Bolu Babalola

Image description: A illustration of a black couple that are booth leaning in about to kiss. One has their arm on the other. There are beautiful colors of yellow, orange, and teal.
Image description: A illustration of a Black couple that are both leaning in about to kiss. One has their arm on the other. There are beautiful colors of yellow, orange, and teal.

In her debut collection, internationally acclaimed writer Bolu Babalola retells the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology with incredible new detail and vivacity. Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, Babalola also reimagines Greek myths, ancient legends from the Middle East, and stories from long-erased places.

With an eye towards decolonizing tropes inherent in our favorite tales of love, Babalola has created captivating stories that traverse across perspectives, continents, and genres.

The Shadow King: A Novel by Mazza Mengiste

Image description: An outlined shadow of a who has a gun strapped around him. Behind him there is a solidier carrying a gun, a bird, and colourful lines.
Image description: An outlined shadow of a Black person who has a gun strapped around him. Behind them there is a soldier carrying a gun, a bird, and colourful lines.

Set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King takes us back to the first real conflict of World War II, casting light on the women soldiers who were left out of the historical record. At its heart is orphaned maid Hirut, who finds herself tumbling into a new world of thefts and violations, of betrayals and overwhelming rage. What follows is a heartrending and unputdownable exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

Image description: An artistic image of a sunset that has lines of faces within the different colours of teal, blue, and white.
Image description: An artistic image of a sunset that has lines of faces within the different colours of teal, blue, and white.

With a lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Robert Jones, Jr., fiercely summons the voices of slaver and enslaved alike, from Isaiah and Samuel to the calculating slave master to the long line of women that surround them, women who have carried the soul of the plantation on their shoulders. As tensions build and the weight of centuries—of ancestors and future generations to come—culminates in a climactic reckoning, The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love.

Black Buck by Masteo Askaripour

Image description: An illustration of a black hand holding a black coffee cup with colorful writing of the words "Black Buck a novel by Mateo Askaripour" on it.
Image description: An illustration of a Black hand holding a black coffee cup with colorful writing of the words “Black Buck a novel by Mateo Askaripour” on it.

An unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the thirty-sixth floor.

Children’s Books

Natalie’s Hair Was Wild! by Laura Freeman

Image description: An illustrated picture of a young black girl who is looking up at her big curly hair.
Image description: An illustrated picture of a young Black girl who is looking up at her big curly hair.

Natalie’s hair is really wild—and she likes it that way! A host of friendly animals agree, and they move right in. At first it’s just butterflies and birds that take up residence atop Natalie’s head, but soon there are zebras, elephants, even a tiger! With all the roaring and squawking and snorting and burping, poor Natalie can hardly sleep. She needs to find someone to help coax those critters out . . . but who? Inspired by the author’s own childhood adventures with her hair, this playful fantasy will delight all girls and boys who resist having their tresses tamed.

Hair Like Mine (Kids Like Mine) by LaTashia M. Perry

Image description: Book Cover with an illustration of a young black girl looking up towards her big curly black hair. With text that reads, "HAIR LIKE MINE"
Image description: Book cover with an illustration of a young Black girl looking up towards her big curly black hair. With text that reads, “HAIR LIKE MINE

Hair Like Mine is a fun and easy read following a little girl who doesn’t like that her naturally curly hair looks different from the other kids around her. On her quest to find someone with hair like hers, she soon realizes we are all unique and special in our own way.

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

Image description: an illustrated picture of a young black girl that is looking straight ahead and has big curly hair and is wearing a purple headband and yellow shirt. Above her in purple text is the title "I Am Enough."
Image description: an illustrated picture of a young Black girl that is looking straight ahead and has big curly hair and is wearing a purple headband and yellow shirt. Above her in purple text is the title “I Am Enough.”

This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

Lullaby (For a Black Mother) a poem by Langston Hughes

Image description: An illustration of a black woman holding her baby. She is looking down to her baby and her baby is looking up at her. She is wearing a white top.
Image description: An illustration of a Black woman holding her baby. She is looking down to her baby and her baby is looking up at her. She is wearing a white top.

“My little dark baby, / My little earth-thing, / My little love-one, / What shall I sing / For your lullaby?” With a few simple words as smooth as a song, the poet Langston Hughes celebrates the love between an African American mother and her baby. The award-winning illustrator Sean Qualls’s painted and collaged artwork captures universally powerful maternal moments with tenderness and whimsy. In the end, readers will find a rare photo of baby Hughes and his mother, a biographical note, further reading, and the complete lullaby. Like little love-ones, this beautiful book is a treasure.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

Image description: An illustration of a Black father lookiing up to his young daughter. His daughter’s hair is big and curly and hovering over both of them.

Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy. 

Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair — and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.

Firebird by Misty Copeland

Image description: A picture of a dancer wearing a red outfit with wings trailing behind that is jumping in the air and doing a dancers pose in the sky with one leg back and her arms back.
Image description: A picture of a dancer wearing a red outfit with wings trailing behind that is jumping in the air and doing a dancers pose in the sky with one leg back and her arms back.

In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–an every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.

Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers’s best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere.

Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee

Image description: A young child is surrounded by toilet paper that she has pulled from the roll and spread out all over the bathroom. She has a mysterious look on her face as she sit in the pile.
Image description: A young child is surrounded by toilet paper that she has pulled from the roll and spread out all over the bathroom. She has a smug look on her face as she sit in the pile.

Go back to bed,
baby, please, baby, please.
Not on your HEAD
baby baby baby, please!

Vivid illustrations from celebrated artist Kadir Nelson evoke toddlerhood from sandbox to high chair to crib, and families everywhere will delight in sharing these exuberant moments again and again.

What is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack

Image description: An image of a black mother looking down at her young son with her hand on his heart.
Image description: An image of a Black mother looking down at her young son with her hand on his heart.

“Misery loves company,” Mama says to James Otis. It’s been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they’re blessed. One Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service– the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple’s “love box,” but what does he have worth giving?

With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack–with stunning illustrations by Harrison–delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

Baby Blessings: A Prayer for the Day You Are Born by Deloris Jordan

Image description: A black man is holding his baby up above his head as they both smile at each other. He is wearing green and the baby is in a blue onesie.
Image description: A Black man is holding his baby up above his head as they both smile at each other. He is wearing green and the baby is in a blue onesie.

This touching story from bestselling author Doloris Jordan celebrates the blessings new parents wish for their babies all through their lives. With a strong emphasis on the bonds families share, the inspirational text is accompanied by exquisite art from renowned illustrator James E. Ransome. From infancy to adulthood, there is always a place for Baby Blessings.

Antiracist Baby Picture Book by Ibram X. Kendi

Image description: A black baby with their hair in two buns wearing a dinosaur onesie is in a yellow baby carrier attached to a bearded black person on a blue background. The text reads "Antiracist Baby"
Image description: A black baby with their hair in two buns wearing a dinosaur onesie is in a yellow baby carrier attached to a bearded black person on a blue background. The text reads “Antiracist Baby”

From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist comes a new 9Ă—9 picture book that empowers parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves, now with added discussion prompts to help readers recognize and reflect on bias in their daily lives.

Take your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby’s nine easy steps for building a more equitable world.

With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.