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7 Books By Black Women To Add To Your Summer Reading List

May 17, 2018

The days are getting longer and longer, which means there are more daylight hours to spend outside, hanging out with friends, or stretched out on the beach with a mesmerizing novel. From nonfiction to fantasy, we’ve collected a list of books you’ll want to add to your vacation reading list.

1. The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America

by Tamara Winfrey Harris

What's wrong with black women? Not a damned thing—according to Tamara Winfrey Harris.

 

The Sisters Are Alright should be a mandatory read for black women and girls everywhere. If you’ve got any nieces, cousins or friends between the ages of 8-18, please recommend this book to them! It delves into marriage, motherhood, health, sexuality and beauty and will give them the tools they’re going to need to cope in this society. Instead of being a depressing book that harps on about anti-black woman propaganda and harsh stereotypes that black women withstand, Tamara Winfrey Harris offers solutions to the problem and suggests that black women are not obligated to simply “take” the harassment. Instead, we can rise above it. “We have facets like diamonds,” she writes. “The trouble is the people who refuse to see us sparkling.”

2. The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women

by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, Angela Burt-Murray

Written by three successful African American executives, this book is a must-have for any black woman who is looking to improve their leadership skills and navigate the business world. As a black woman, you have to straddle the line between avoiding being typecast as the “angry black woman” while still not allowing others to walk all over you and manipulate you. Brown, Haygood and Burt-Murray will show you how to do just that without compromising your self-worth.

3. All the Joy You Can Stand: 101 Sacred Power Principles for Making Joy Real In Your Life by Debrena Jackson Gandy

This one is an oldie but a goodie, and it’s not just a regular self-help book either! While mainstream self-help books can be helpful, few of them offer practical tips that cater to the unique experiences of African-American women. We have to ask nuanced questions like: How can I learn to love myself when my image is constantly misrepresented and underrepresented in the media? What does black joy look like? How can I get more out of life? Well, All the Joy You Can Stand answers all those questions and more. This book will be a gift to your spirit. Remember, black joy is revolutionary.

4. The Hate U Give 

by Angie Thomas

There’s some serious buzz around Angie Thomas’ debut novel, The Hate U Give. John Green, the author of The Fault In Our Stars, predicted that it was destined to become a classic of young adult literature. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the novel tells the story of a 16-year old girl named Starr, who finds herself torn as she attends an predominantly white upper middle-class high school, but lives in a poor neighborhood. Her entire world is shaken when she witnesses a police officer tragically shoot her unarmed best friend, Khalil.

5. We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True 

by Gabrielle Union
I’m a big fan of Gabrielle Union. She’s been in dozens of films that I’ve loved (Bring It On, 10 Things I Hate About You, Good Deeds, etc.). When I heard that she’d come out with a tell-all book about her life and how she dealt with trauma, stigma, and colorism in Hollywood, I rushed to read her book! Needless to say, We’re Going To Need More Wine did not disappoint. If you’re looking for a perfect beach read or just want to catch some sun in your backyard, this is the perfect book to read while doing so.

6. Akata Witch 

by Nnedi Okorafor
Ever feel the need to escape from the real world and rest in the solace of an imaginary world of magic? Akata Witch is the perfect escape read! Although it’s a middle grade book, it can certainly be enjoyed by older audiences. The novel tells the story of twelve-year-old Sunny who was born in New York and now lives in Aba, Nigeria. She discovers that she has magical powers and is plunged into a secret magical society that hunts down others who use their powers for evil.

7. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
by Vashti Harrison

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History features forty incredible black women in American history. Perfect for young black women who want to see heroes who look just like them, the book educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations that highlight both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash.

"Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law."

 

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