What better way is there for a book blog to celebrate Black excellence than to highlight Black authors who’ve written about the Black experience? None! My personal feelings about Black History Month aside, here are some of the funniest, most beautiful, and most emotionally charged books about the Black experience that everyone should put on their reading list!
The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
“We mistook violence for passion, indolence for leisure, and thought recklessness was freedom.” – Toni Morrison
Nobel Laureate and recipient of the American Medal of Freedom, Toni Morrison works her magic telling the story of eleven-year-old Pecola, a Black girl who prays for blue eyes. Morrison weaves together a child’s yearning, the fear of Blackness, and the toxicity of beloved whiteness for a truly powerful story.
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurtson
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurtson
In perhaps her most powerful novel, Zora Neale Hurtson explores what it is to be a Black woman in the early 1900s. Although set nearly a century ago, this novel continues to resonate with Black women in the reflection of their lived experiences.
How to be Black – Baratunde Thurston
“Oh, I’m following President Obama on Twitter. I like my black history in 140 characters or less.” – Baratunde Thurston
This powerful and completely hilarious attack on the media’s whitewashing of Blackness and Black culture is a must-read for anyone who knows a thing or two or wants to learn a thing or two about what it is to be Black in the modern world.
Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson
“But on paper, things can live forever.
On paper, a butterfly
never dies.” – Jacqueline Woodson
In beautiful verse, Jacqueline Woodson tells her story. She explores what it was like to grow up as a Black girl on the coattails of Jim Crow, revealing an incredibly and emotionally charged story that any Black girl or boy or whathaveyou can relate to.
Push – Sapphire
“How that is so I don’t know. How Mama and Daddy know me sixteen years and hate me, how a stranger meet me and love me.” – Sapphire
This book not only sheds light onto the invisible illiterate poor, but it shows the journey of one young Black woman getting her education and finding the power in being able to write her own story, and really make it her own for the first time.
Obviously, there are hundreds of books I could have put on this list. What’s your favorite book about the Black experience? What are you reading this Black History Month?