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Five Black Authors and Novels to Read This Month

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kennesaw chapter.

It’s Black History Month, everyone! In the spirit of celebrating and uplifting Black people all February, I wanted to highlight some amazing Black authors and their novels. Originally, I wanted to focus on just one author and one book. But why? Why do that when I can highlight more? This month, we’re supporting and encouraging Black people — especially Black women. Black people have made incredible contributions to the arts in the past and are continuing to do so today. These authors showcase Black stories, feature all Black (or mostly Black) characters, and shed light on very important topics while remaining entertaining, engaging, and encouraging their readers to be the best versions of themselves (regardless of race). Allow me to introduce them to you.

Nic Stone & Dear Martin

Nic Stone is an African American writer from Atlanta. She writes mainly for young adults, but I think that her debut novel, Dear Martin, is a great example of one that can and should be read by everyone. The novel is about a young Black teenager that has an unfortunate and violent encounter with a police officer. To work through his emotions and thoughts surrounding it and his life, he turns to Dr. Martin Luther King and writes letters to him detailing his deepest feelings and asking important moral/ethical questions. The novel is rather short but gut-wrenching and eye-opening. In my and a lot of other readers’ opinions, it’s a must-read. Nic Stone also has an amazing catalog of novels that she’s written, showcasing black people and other black stories, that you may want to look out for as well.

Tomi Adeyemi & Children of blood and bone

Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian American author, speaker, and teacher. She’s also a Harvard honors graduate, and her novel(s) are award-winning. The first time that I heard about her was when I discovered Children of Blood and Bone. I am a huge fan of any novel in the Sci-fi, fantasy, YA novels. But, there aren’t many that depict Black characters and this one does — heavily. Not only that, but it’s also intensely engaging and incredibly well written. It’s the first book in Adeyemi’s Orisha trilogy. The books are fantastic, especially this first one, and Tomi Adeyemi is a fantastic creative in her own right. I really hope that you give her and her work a chance this month!

Femi Fadugba & The Upper world

Femi Fadugba is, unfortunately, the only male author on my list today. But, I thought it only fitting to add him because not only is he a phenomenal Black author, but he has also signed with Netflix for a The Upper World movie adaptation! We’re celebrating Black people doing big things all Black History Month, so I had to showcase Fadugba’s work here. I believe that he’s from London. And he’s achieved incredible things in the field of Science — he’s published work in Quantum Physics. His novel, The Upper World, is a fantasy novel that features a young Black man and a sort of twist on time travel/time manipulation. It’s incredibly engaging and Fadugba’s experience in Science makes it all the more gripping.

Brandy Colbert & Black Birds in the sky

Brandy Colbert is yet another award-winning Black author. She, like many of the authors on this list, targets her novels towards teenagers and other young adults, but Black Birds in the Sky is exactly the type of book that we need right now. It brings the “history” to this Black History Month article. Black Birds in the Sky is a nonfiction novel — the only one on this list. And it tells the story of the history and legacy of the Tulsa Race Massacre. There isn’t much that we know about this event or what exactly happened, but Colbert attempts to answer those questions and shed some light on that dark day in her book. I don’t want to lie to you, it’s a bit of a heavier read. But it’s also an important one. It’s worth it to me, and I hope that it will be to you too.

Tiffany D. Jackson & Grown

Tiffany D. Jackson is a New York Times Bestselling Author and an NAACP Image-Award nominee. She may be one of the most popular Black writers/creatives on this list. But I’m going to talk about her anyway. This amazing woman has multiple award-winning novels, is still coming out with more, has a degree from Howard University, and has experience in the TV and Film industry. She actually does it all. She’s my hero. You should definitely check out her other novels. But, Grown, is a fiction novel that comments on rape culture, misogyny, and showcases the power of a young Black woman and her voice. I don’t want to spoil too much, but let’s just say that there’s a murder and things/people are not always what they seem — especially not behind closed doors. This goes without saying, but I highly recommend it!

These books and these authors don’t just tell Black stories, they also help us – all of us – put things into perspective. They help us understand each other better, support each other better, and I think that the overall goal is to help us move forward together better. This Black History Month and this year, we’re speaking up for and supporting Black people — all month and all year. Reading these books and supporting these authors is a great place to start, regardless of race. They don’t all focus on heavy or dark topics. And the ones that do, don’t do that all of the time. They help us understand ourselves and our history. (Even the fantasy novels are rooted in, influenced by, or have glimpses of cultural/historical or otherwise relatable things.) I know these texts aren’t as celebratory as you’d hope or think. But in a way, they also are. I hope that you give them the chances that they deserve to show you how great they are.

Hi, I’m Jazmine! I am an English Education major at Kennesaw State University. I am also a writer for HC at KSU. Follow me on Instagram! (@jazminenxcole)