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Books written by Black authors to discover during Black History Month

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

Though we should be diversifying our “to be read” list all year round, what better time to start than February as we enter Black History Month. Here is a list of 10 books from a variety of genres written by Black authors that you should add to your TBR this month.

  1. Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual” by Luvvie Ajayi Jones (Wellness)

Luvvie Ajayi Jones’ “Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual” is a brilliant wellness book teaching its readers how to not let fear run their lives. Jones’ witty voice throughout the book makes it a lighthearted read, but her honesty and personal experiences with fear inspire the reader how to gain the courage to use their voice.

  1. Black Cake” by Charmaine Wilkerson (Contemporary fiction)

“Black Cake” by Charmaine Wilkerson is a story of two estranged siblings discovering their mother’s hidden past, all connecting back to the recipe for her Caribbean black cake which she left as her inheritance to them when she passed. The book was also turned into a Hulu TV series released in November 2023, with Adrienne Warren and Ashley Thomas starring as the two siblings.

  1. The Violin Conspiracy” by Brendan Slocumb (Mystery)

“The Violin Conspiracy” combines author Brendan Slocumb’s interests of music, particularly the violin, with his love of mystery novels. The main character finds out his old family violin was stolen on the eve of the world’s most prestigious classical music competition, just after discovering that it’s actually incredibly rare and priceless. A ransom note for five million dollars is left in the place of the violin. The main character spends the rest of the book doing anything and everything to get his precious instrument back and prove his musical talent.

  1. Intercepted” by Alexa Martin (Romance) 

If you’re obsessed with the Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce relationship or want to live vicariously through WAGs (wives and girlfriends of professional athletes), you have to read Alexa Martin’s NFL romance books. Though an interconnected stand-alone series, Martin recommends starting with “Intercepted,” then reading “Fumbled,” “Blitzed” and “Snapped.” “Fumbled” even features a male main character named TK, who was directly inspired by Travis Kelce. These books are not just romance books — they also explore deeper themes, including the role of the #BlackLivesMatter movement in professional sports. 

  1. The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett (Historical fiction)

You have no doubt heard of or at least seen the cover of “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. This book won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction in 2020 and was named in several other lists of best books of that year. Set in the 1940s-90s, the story follows two twin sisters living in the fictional town of Mallard, Louisiana as two light-skinned Black women. Covering issues such as colorism, racial passing and domestic abuse, Bennett does an incredible job at diving into themes that are still very prevalent today.

  1. The Tradition” by Jericho Brown (Poetry)

Any fan of poetry has to pick up “The Tradition” by Jericho Brown. The book explores traditions within our daily lives as well as the breaking of them, along with the general themes of resistance, Black bodies and privilege. It is truly a work of art. But don’t just take my word for it, Brown was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2020 for this collection of poems.

  1. Cherish Farrah” by Bethany C. Morrow (Thriller)

Looking for a slow-burn “social horror” with a strong female main character that is sure to keep you wanting more after every page? Then “Cherish Farrah” by Bethany C. Morrow is the book for you. The main character Farrah is a young Black girl who manipulates her way into the lives of her Black best friend’s white, wealthy, adoptive family when her own family hits a rough patch. Strange things start happening and the question of who is really in control in Farrah’s life becomes unclear. Alongside the unexpected twists and turns in the plot, the book also includes commentary on the modern issues of race and class.

  1. A Master of Djinn” by P. Djèlí Clark (Fantasy)

With many recently published fantasy books being set in medieval Western Europe, “A Master of Djinn” by P. Djèlí Clark provides a fresh perspective to the fantasy world, set in Cairo, Egypt in 1912. The main character is a young woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities who is called to investigate a murderer and imposter with strong magic abilities. This book’s steampunk vibe is paired with lovable and witty characters and a well thought out plot. 

  1. Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth about Where I Belong” by Georgina Lawton (Memoir)

For a deep memoir about self discovery and the intricacies of race, “Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth about Where I Belong” by Georgina Lawton is a must-read. In the book Lawton describes what it was like growing up in a white family and white neighborhood with no explanation or acknowledgement as to why she was Black. She then goes on to tell stories of finding her sense of self after leaving her home in England and living in Black communities in the US, the UK, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam and Morocco.

  1. Small Worlds” by Caleb Azumah Nelson (Domestic fiction)

Caleb Azumah Nelson’s “Small Worlds” explores father-son relationships through a first-generation Londoner born to Ghanaian immigrant parents. The novel is categorized as a domestic fiction as it follows the very ordinary and relatable life of the son who decides to follow his love of music instead of the traditional path of getting a university degree. This decision radically changes the family dynamic, and the book explores this generation’s relationship with the people closest to them.

Sophia Rocha

American '25

Sophia is a Brazilian-American junior at American University majoring in international studies and minoring in Spanish and marketing. Her interests include social media, journalism, and the Latinx community. Outside of school and work, she likes to read in her free time.