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5 Books by Black Authors You Need to Read

If you’re anything like me, you have an ever growing list of books you just HAVE to read (even if you have 10+ unread books sitting on your shelf). In light of Black History Month, I challenge you to check out some of these books by African American writers. SO many mainstream novels feature predominantly white characters and stories, so getting some different perspectives is a must! If you’re looking for some more representation in the stories you’re reading, take a look at who’s writing the stories you’re reading.


1.Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

This West-African inspired tale written by Tomi Adeyemi features magic, love, and of course plenty of adventure. It takes place in a fictional world ruled by a monarchy that banished magic and killed those who practiced it. The main character, Zélie, might be the last hope to save the magic her nation knows and loves. But can she do it? Find out if Zélie has what it takes in this scintillating novel.


2. Becoming by Michelle Obama

While her husband usually gets most of the attention, former First Lady and bona-fide boss babe Michelle Obama takes readers inside her world in her memoir. She talks of her upbringing, her tireless work as a businesswoman and the struggles of motherhood. She also takes readers behind the scenes of her life in the White House. I mean we all know Michelle Obama is an icon, so might as well read up on her amazing life story.


3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

This book of poetry is a ~classic~ so if it doesn’t already occupy a space on your shelf, it really should! Through her raw, emotional and real writing Maya Angelou reflects on her journey through life. She offers keen, unique insight that is a must read for everyone and anyone.


4.  Pride by Ibi Zoboi

This book retells the iconic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice but from an Afro-Latina perspective. It follows two sisters as they struggle with the realities of life in their gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood. Not only does Pride deal with issues of race and culture in a modern day America, it also intertwines these topics with a story of young love (and the stress of college apps, relatable, right?). Do yourself a favor and add this one to your book list.


5. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxane Gay

Not That Bad is a collection of short stories written by various women and edited by Roxane Gay. It highlights rape culture, as well as the many problems women face when they decide to come forward. The doubt cast on them, the blame placed on them and the shame projected onto them all take center stage in this emotional read.


Black History Month is a fantastic, designated way to celebrate black history and achievement. But remember, there are plenty of examples of black excellence that you can see and appreciate every single day of the year. You can start by reading some of these amazing books. I mean after all, what’s one more book to add to the “Must Read” list?


Erin Kleber

Wisconsin '21

Erin is majoring in Political Science and Communication Arts, with a certificate in Criminal Justice. She is a proud co-president of HC Wisconsin, and has been a member since her freshman year. When she's not writing or spending time with her HC gang, you can find her reading a good book, spending time up north, or cheering on the Badger football team. 
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