Top 10 Book Recommendations for Black History Year!!!

Black History Month may be over, but this is just the beginning of Black History Year 2022!!!

Books I’m Currently Reading

  1. Hood Feminism, by Mikki Kendall
    1. A Chicago South Side native just like me. Kendall speaks her truth about the quote and quote feminist movement and how the realities of Black women cannot be pushed aside if any real progress is to be made. 
    2. As a young Black woman who is finding my way through this society that undervalues me, and Black women both like and unlike myself, her words bring validation and inspiration. With topics ranging from the dangers of Respectability Politics to how Gun Violence impacts Black women, every chapter offers a wealth of knowledge and wisdom for years to come. 
    3. Quote: “It’s not silencing, or bullying, or toxic, to refuse to make anyone else’ comfort more important than our lives or the lives of our children”. (p.10)
  2. How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
    1. My second recommendation is HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST by Ibram X. Kendi. Kendi combines excerpts from his own lived experiences with a variety of resources to educate readers on a popular lie, being quote and quote “not racist”, 
    2. He tells the truths of the variety of forms racism takes in our society, and how antiracism confronts them. 
    3. Every chapter begins with both RACIST and ANTIRACIST definitions of the main topics, which makes it easier to understand the differences between the two. 
    4. BTW, This book was recommended to me by a commenter on TikTok and I am eternally grateful. 
    5. Quote: “Assimilationists believe in the post-racial myth that talking about race constitues racism, or that if we stop identifying by race, then racism will magically go away.”

Books I Read in 2021 (This Next Category are books…)

  1. How It Went Down, Kekla Magoon 
    1. Magoon tells the story of the shooting of fictional character Tariq Johnson, a Black teenager shot and killed by a white man. An interesting point from this book is that the characters themselves tell us what happened, through what they think happened. From witnesses to family members, strangers and friends, everyone has something to say
    2. We get to know who Tariq was through everyone’s eyes, but also who the other characters really are. 
    3. There are even discussion questions at the end if you’re looking for some practice with critical thinking and literary analysis. 
    4. This book is geared towards high schoolers, but don’t let this deter you, a good read is a good read.
    5. Quote: “My son wasn’t perfect, but he was mine. The world isn’t a perfect place, but he should still be in it”. (p. 162)
  2. The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo
    1. With this book Acevedo creates a narrative through a collection of poems by the main character, an Afro-Latina, named Xiomara Batista. Xiomara is a high schooler trying to find her voice and create her own destiny as she balances her growing womanhood and desire for freedom with family values and cultural practices. 
    2. I have so many tabs in this book since I won’t dare bend these pages. Her relationship with her twin, father, best friend, priest, teacher, and especially her mother have shaped her into who she is and guide her towards who she wants to become. 
    3. Quote: “My brother was birthed a soft whistle: quiet, barely stirring the air, a gentle sound. But I was born all the hurricane he needed to lift—and drop—those that hurt him to the ground.” (p.45, More About Twin)
  3. On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
    1. My fifth recommendation is ON THE COME UP BY ANGIE THOMAS, author of THE HATE U GIVE.  Our leading lady is Brianna Jackson, aka Bri, aspires to be a rapper. However, the road to her dream is not an easy one. Her family, friends, school, and soon the world all have their own beliefs about who she is and who she should want to be. 
    2. I found Bri to be scarily realistic and I actually took a few breaks because certain events hit me THAT hard. She’s just a kid trying to make it in this world full of poverty, and anti-Black bias on the news and in our classrooms. 
    3. Quote: “It’s hard to say this is a protest. So many of my classmates who look like me are rocking to a beat that’s not even playing… This is a mini concert. This is war.” (p.233)

Books I’ll Read in 2022

  1. Concrete Rose, by Angie Thomas
    1. Our next category includes books I plan to read later this year. Starting with CONCRETE ROSE, by Angie Thomas. You may have noticed I’m a fan (haha). The story takes place in Garden Heights, just like The Hate U Give and follows Maverick Carter, a 17-year old gang member who’s just found out he’s a father. This young man wants to be an amazing father, and I look forward to seeing how he triumphs over the obstacles that come his way. 
    2. The reason I am recommending a book I haven’t read, is to encourage you to be my book buddies! Being able to chat with others about the books you read is an incomparable experience, it truly is. Okay, moving along!
    3. Quote: The non-spoiler-y quote is “For all the roses growing in concrete. Keep Blossoming.” 
  2. Barracoon, by Zora Neale Hurston
    1. Zora Neale Hurston has been a huge inspiration for me, not just because she’s an amazing author but because she was a cultural anthropologist. If you weren’t aware, the field, as with most, is founded in white supremacy so those of African descent were seen as inferior and unworthy of having their stories documented for future generations. 
    2. Zora challenged this, using her skills as a writer to not only share these stories, but to record them phonetically, meaning in the dialect of those whose stories she told. In this case, Barracoon shares the tales of Cudjo Lewis, the last enslaved man brought to the Americas. This is a historical text and was treated as such in its creation. 
    3. The book itself was even redesigned to look old, with pages looking like they were torn from a book.
    4. Quote: From ALice Walker who loved Zora so, “ Those who love us never leave us alone with our grief. At that moment they show us our wound, they reveal they have medicine.” (foreword)

Books to Re-Read

  1. The Color Purple, Alice Walker 
    1. Speaking of Alice Walker, the next recommendation is THE COLOR PURPLE. This is included in the category “Book I Need to Re-Read”. 
      1. A tale of two sisters, Celie and Nettie, told through their letters (both to God, and to each other). 
      2. This novel is a classic, winner of the Pulitzer Prize (in fiction 1983) and the National Book Award (fiction in 1983). 
      3. Similar to the works of Zora Neale Hurston, The dialogue in the color purple reflects the dialect of the characters, aka, they use AAVE , african american vernacular english also known as Ebonics. 
      4. I will warn you that this book can be triggering from page one, with themes of SA (sexual assualt), and DV (domestic violence), Apparently I can be DMmemonitized if I say certain words aloud so, yeap. 
      5. Quote: “God is different to us now…more spirit than ever before, and more internal. Most people think he has to look like something or someone…but we don’t.” (pp.257)
  2. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told by Alex Haley
    1. Another classic is, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told by Alex Haley (the author of another classic Roots). The novel begins with the words of the Daughter of Malcom X, and goddaughter of Alex Haley, Attallah Shabazz, speaking on the impact her father made on the lives of all Black people, all Americans, her family, and herself. 
    2. Despite Malcolm X being a central figure in the Civil Rights Movement, the general population doesn’t know much about him. What better way to learn such an important piece of American History than through his life story?
    3. Quote: “We both agreed [Macolm X and an unnamed African Leader] that American society makes it next to impossible for humans to meet in America and not be conscious of their color differences. And we both agreed if racism could be removed, America could offer a society where rich and poor could truly live like human beings” (pp.378)

One of My Fave Books

  1. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
    1. The last category is One of My Favorite Books, which is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book changed my perspective on what Black literature can look like.
    2. My favorite books have always been by Black women, but the characters were always much older than me. A mother or grandmother, and I could not easily relate to their experiences. But Starr was different. 
    3. Our leading lady, Starr Carter, is a teenage girl caught between two worlds. The Black neighborhood she grew up in and calls her home and her preppy, rich white kid school in the suburbs. She’d been managing well enough, until she meets up with an old friend, Khalil, whose life is tragically lost due to a fatal shooting by a white police officer.
    4. The media covering his death, right Khalil off as a quote and quote“criminal”, the officer who killed Khalil has the full support of the police department who refuse to investigate, everyone wants Starr to tell the world what really happened.
    5. To find out who Starr is, and how she finds the courage to stand up for what she believes in, you need to read The Hate U Give
    6. And now, a spoiler-free quote: “Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.” Angie Thomas, the inside cover of my copy.

Thank you so much for watching! I would like to make it clear that these books all contain events that can be triggering, so please be mindful of your boundaries.

If you have any book recommendations make sure to comment those down below! If you’ve read any of the books I’m  recommending let me know what you think. Bye!!!

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