February is Black History Month and to celebrate, we suggest adding these eight noteworthy new releases by black writers to your must-read list. From debut authors and highly anticipated YA fiction to cultural commentary and gripping biographies, make room for these books on your shelf in 2019.
Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi
This inventive and original tale weaves the archetypes of fairy tales and family narratives into a dark and delicious story. Londoners Harriet and her daughter Perdita bake their famous gingerbread using a recipe from Harriet’s homeland—a place never seen but long-held in Perdita’s imagination. Highlighted with moments of magical realism and told in Oyeyemi’s lyrical style, this story will delight fans of the bestselling author.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
We’ve been waiting for this one. Following up the blockbuster The Hate U Give, Thomas returns with another dynamic, complex young protagonist in Bri, a 16-year-old aspiring rapper whose father was an underground hip hop legend before he died. With her mother facing job loss and the family on the brink of homelessness, Bri’s determination to succeed can no longer just be about personal glory.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
From the award-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings comes a dark fantasy tale featuring a notorious hunter called Tracker, who finds himself inadvertently part of a strange group searching for a missing boy. As they make their way through ancient cities and wild lands, the group encounters creatures intent on thwarting their mission—and ensuring their destruction.
Reclaiming Our Space by Feminista Jones
From the “Tweets to the Streets,” activist and blogger Feminista Jones takes a look at the way black women are changing the dialogue around race, justice and feminism through social media. Part social commentary and part call-to-action, Jones explores the conversations happening online, the black women responding to them and how they are impacting the cultural landscape.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
This debut from Anissa Gray offers a heartbreaking, poignant and at times brutally honest look at how families function under the weight of dysfunction. Althea had always taken care of her younger sisters, even if her tough love style was sometimes hard to live under. So when Althea and her husband are accused of a serious crime and her sisters must now take care of Althea’s children, the sisters’ difficult legacy must finally be confronted.
We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
In the not-so-distant future, racially charged violence and discrimination is at dangerously tolerated highs in America and a man raising his bi-racial son is willing to do whatever he must to protect him. A risky medical procedure could be the answer, but in order to afford it, the father must be willing to give away not only his pride, but also his legacy. This sharp dystopian satire promises to be as insightful as it is cutting.
The World According to Fannie Davis by Bridgett M. Davis
A fascinating tale of unconditional love and the unconventional conditions under which her mother made a (damn good) living, Bridgett Davis introduces us to Fannie Davis, a woman who would do whatever she had to to provide a good life for her family in Detroit in the 1960s and 70s. For the charismatic Fannie, that meant running one of Detroit’s most successful numbers games—a lottery-like gambit that skirted the edges of legality.
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi
Featuring short fiction by Jason Reynolds, Renee Watson and other notable authors, this anthology takes an insightful, diverse look at coming-of-age as a black teen in America. Showcasing a diverse range of points-of-view, young readers will find honesty and connection in the nearly twenty stories.