Our Black History Book Recommendations

Our Black History Book Recommendations

As we progress through Black History Month, here are a few books with black authors/characters for this month.
Wisdom’s Recommendations: ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ and ‘The Taking of Jake Livingston’
Wisdom’s Recommendations: ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ and ‘The Taking of Jake Livingston’

Children of Blood and Bone

In the world of fiction, there are tons of mythology-centered books, but one mythology that remains mostly untouched is African mythology. In Tomi Adeyemi’s debut fantasy novel Children of Blood and Bone, 16-year-old Zélie Adebola is a young woman determined to bring back magic to her oppressed kingdom, which used to be teeming with magic. Throughout the book, she goes through a journey of great danger, yet the greatest danger of all may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi contains a stunning fantasy world that is inspired by West African tribes and mythology, which makes for an excellent read for those who enjoy both the enemies-to-lovers trope and the fantasy genre.

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

The Taking of Jake Livingston is a YA novel described as similar to Jordan Peele’s Get Out, and when reading it, it matches that description but with so much more.

The book follows Black medium Jake Livingston, who sees dead people everywhere, with the dead playing their last moments on a loop. In addition to those horrors, Jake goes to a school where he is also at the mercy of racist teachers. But his high school life changes when it becomes a game of survival, as he has to fight off a vengeful ghost who comes after his life, having bigger plans for Jake than he knows.

Not only is it a story of Black horror but of Black gay romance with Jake Livingston, a gay Black teen who finds himself in a romance with the arrival of a new Black student — the handsome Allister. “The Taking of Jake Livingston” is a spine-chilling and horrifying YA read that will scare you again and again while reading.

Sadie’s Recommendations: ‘White Teeth’ and ‘Such A Fun Age’
Sadie’s Recommendations: ‘White Teeth’ and ‘Such A Fun Age’

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

White Teeth follows two friends — Samad Iqbal and Archie Jones — and their families. The book spans many decades, focusing on different members of both families and the different trials and tribulations of their lives. It grapples with themes of family, friendship, and cultural identity.

This incredible multigenerational novel was, surprisingly, Zadie Smith’s first book, cementing herself as a phenomenal writer. This hilarious yet incredibly poignant book is an excellent read for anyone who needs help recognizing the comedy of daily life or understanding what their identity means to them.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age is about a young Black woman named Emira who is falsely accused of kidnapping the white child she babysits while shopping with her at the grocery store. The entire incident is filmed by a white bystander who encourages Emira to release the video. 

The book touches on white guilt, colorism, white saviors, fetishization, and more. It does a great job going in depth into very multifaceted and complex issues while still creating a space for the characters to establish themselves and their personalities. It’s a great read and provides insights into many different perspectives.

Claire’s Recommendations: The Blackwoods and And Dont Look Back
Claire’s Recommendations: The Blackwoods and And Don’t Look Back

The Blackwoods by Brandy Colbert

The Blackwoods follows the Blackwood family, one of the most famous Black families in Hollywood. When the matriarch of the family, Blossom Blackwood, passes away, it changes everything. This book follows Hollis and Ardith, her great-granddaughters, and the events following her death. One has lived in the spotlight her entire life and the other has chosen to keep her life private. When family secrets come to light, Colbert tells a thrilling story where everything is up in the air.

Brandy Colbert’s thriller novel is a tribute to the groundbreakers of Black Hollywood. It provides deep emotional insights and acknowledges race, class, and gender. I would recommend this book to any mystery lover, as it follows the dark secrets of their grandma’s famous life.

And Don’t Look Back by Rebecca Barrow 

In And Don’t Look Back, you’ll read a thrilling novel about seventeen-year-old Harlow and her mother, Cora. The pair have been hiding from her mother’s unknown secret and a hidden enemy for years. But when her mother is fatally injured and Harlow is forced to leave her behind, Cora mysteriously tells her to find a specific deposit box at a bank in a town nearby. She’s now left with money, a deed to a house she’s never heard about, a newspaper clipping about a missing girl, and a picture of her mother as a teenager with two random girls. She now has the choice of finding out the mystery of what happened or to continue running.

This is Rebecca Barrow’s fifth and most recent book. She’s written an incredibly thrilling story about a young teenage girl left with so many questions. This story holds onto plot twists until the very end of the book, making it perfect for mystery lovers. Barrow has shown again what a great writer she is, and honestly, I would recommend any of her books!

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