Top 10 Books by Black Authors to read for Black History Month

Top 10 Books by Black Authors to read for Black History Month


Here is a top 10 list of books to read for Black History Month, all written by Black authors. These books all have excellent stories featuring a diverse set of Black characters. Some of these books do include trigger warnings (TW) listed below the book title.

1. Open Water (2021)

Open Water: Nelson, Caleb Azumah: 9780802157942: Books

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Author: Caleb Azumah Nelson

Genre: Urban fiction/ Romance

TW: none

Favorite Quote: “You ache. You ache all over. You are aching to be you, but you’re scared of what it means to do so.”

“Open Water” is a beautiful story that reads like poetry and celebrates Black creativity. In this novel, we follow two Black artists in South East London as they navigate vulnerability and safety in love. This novel discusses topics such as race and masculinity and is a wonderful introduction to Nelson’s works and the urban fiction genre.

 2. The Brown Sisters Trilogy (2019-2021)

The Brown Sisters - 3 book series

Author: Talia Hibbert

Genre: Romance/ Humor

TW: none

Favorite Quote: “I told you before, that there are different ways to fail. Imperfection is inevitable. That’s life. But it doesn’t sound to me like you failed at all, Eve. It sounds like your dream broke, and you’ve been picking up shattered pieces, and blaming yourself when your hands bleed.”- Act Your Age, Eve Brown

This hilarious trilogy features three sisters discovering self-love and ultimately romance. This is an interconnected series, meaning you do not need to read the books in order of release date or need to read them all to get full understanding. This trilogy is genuinely hilarious and will have you laughing out loud. Hibbert included plus size main characters with various sexual orientations. I read these books out of order and thoroughly enjoyed them nonetheless, my favorite being the third book:” Act Your Age, Eve Brown.”


 3. If Beale Street Could Talk (1974) If Beale Street Could Talk: 9780307275936: Baldwin, James: Books

Author: James Baldwin

Genre: Urban fiction 

TW: Police brutality, mention of sexual assault

Favorite Quote: “People love different people in different ways.”

“If Beale Street Could Talk” is set in the 60s and 70s, this love story shares the tale of the young struggling couple, Fonny and Tish, when Fonny suddenly gets accused of rape by the corrupt police force in Harlem. Baldwin’s writing is magnificent and this story has truly changed me. This novel exemplifies the racism and injustice in 1960s America, showing us the gruesomeness beautifully contrasting with the pure love story of Fonny and Tish. Highly recommend.

4. Legendborn (2020)

Legendborn (1) (The Legendborn Cycle): 9781534441606: Deonn, Tracy: Books -

Author: Tracy Deonn

Genre: Fantasy

TW: none

Favorite Quote: “Don’t make your life about the loss. Make it about the love.”

One of my favorite novels… ever. Deonn’s debut novel “Legendborn” is stellar and includes such a diverse cast of characters. We focus on a 16 year old girl, Bree Matthews, who just lost her beloved mother as she transitions to a new school for bright students. Here she discovers her ancestry and true self, and, of course, strange and magical things start to happen. This book is what got me into the genre of fantasy. It is such a wonderful story of self appreciation and acceptance.

5. Notes on Grief (2021)

Notes on Grief: Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi: 9780593320808: Books

             Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

             Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir

             TW: none

             Favorite Quote: “Grief is a cruel kind of education. You learn how ungentle mourning can be, how full of anger. You learn how glib condolences can feel. You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping for language.”

This is Adichie’s love letter to the one she lost; her father. This novel is a beautiful account of grief and how it changes everything. The author describes how she felt she could have said more or done more before her father passed. This is a timeless story written for our generation discussing such a painfully universal experience. 

6. Recitatif (1983)

Recitatif by Toni Morrison | Goodreads

 Author: Toni Morrison

 Genre: Short story/Fiction

TW: none

 Favorite Quote: “Difficult to ‘move on’ from any site of suffering if that suffering goes 

unacknowledged and undescribed.”

This was my first Toni Morrison novel, however I can not wait to dive further into her catalog. “Recitatif” discusses race like I have never read before. This story follows two childhood friends whose races are hidden from the audience, although they play crucial roles in their lives and experience. However, we know one is White and one is Black. Morrison asks very intriguing questions in this short story, making her audience analyze their place in the world and question our need to feel whole in a group to see who we truly are. Really interesting short story that I believe is very valuable.

7. Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel (2022)

Long Way Down | Book by Jason Reynolds, Danica Novgorodoff | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

Author: Jason Reynolds

Genre: Young Adult/Fiction

TW: Gun violence 


They weren’t meant to be broken.

They were meant for the broken

to follow.”

Heartbreaking novel, especially including graphics, this novel does not shy away from the truth. Almost the entire novel is set in an elevator where the main character, Will, comes face to face with gun violence through people he has lost in his personal life. This is a very touching story. I read this in one sitting and couldn’t think of anything else the rest of the day.  

8. Grown (2020)

Grown: 9780062840356: Jackson, Tiffany D: Books -

Author: Tiffany D. Jackson

Genre: Mystery/ Psychological fiction

TW: Sexual assault, drugs, mental illness

            Favorite Quote: “What a woman wears or doesn’t wear doesn’t give anyone the right to touch them. Well, you know he’s had a rough childhood. Abandoned by his mom, didn’t know his father, raised by his grandma who passed. We’ve all BEEN through a lot but that don’t give you no excuse to abuse girls.”

“Grown” is a mystery that reveals what goes on behind the limelight. It features our lead 17 year old Enchanted Jones, an aspiring artist, as she navigates her dream of becoming a famous singer. She scores an audition with a famous R&B singer and he promises he can make her dreams come true, however, things quickly do not turn out the way Enchanted expected. This is a heavy story with heavy subjects/topics, fortunately Jackson handles it with care.

9. Seven Days in June (2021) Seven Days in June: 9781538719107: Williams, Tia: Books

Author: Tia Williams

Genre: Romance

TW: drug/alcohol abuse, self-harm, child neglect

Favorite Quote: “How do you finish a love story that you…you never wanted to end?”

Deep and heavy romance follows two authors that have secretly been writing about and to each other. When childhood friends reunite, they must face their past trauma and attraction to each other. Williams writes amazing chemistry that jumps off of the pages, this love story is so believable and has a special place in my heart. For the romance girlies out there this is the perfect book. 

10. Content Warning: Everything (2022)

Content Warning: Everything by Akwaeke Emezi - Copper Canyon Press

   Author: Akwaeke Emezi

   Genre: Poetry

   TW: Abuse, self-harm

  Favorite Quote: “and what a death what a death to not be loved by me anymore”

My final pick is Emezi’s debut collection of poetry and, wow, is it incredible. They beautifully capture the struggle of identity and suffering. These poems are obviously, as Emezi tells you in the title, more disturbing and heavy but it is balanced out with beautiful imagery and honesty. Akwaeke Emezi is an upcoming author to watch!

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