This post is a bit different to my previous ones, but reading has always been a big part of me and I love sharing this with others. If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably know this already.
My father had always encouraged us as children to read, but me moreso. That might have been because I actually enjoyed it and pestered him to buy me many books as a child. Although I didn’t always get my own way, there were times I would come home from school to find a book gifted to me by him. Those were the sort of things that would make my week.
So, in honour of black history month in the UK (I mean, every month is black history month, but we roll with it) I thought I won’t just recommend any book, but books that have been authored by black writers.
It’s not news that black authors have not gotten the same coverage as white authors – and I use the word authors because I’m discussing books but this poor representation is not just limited to authors, but the publishing industry in general.
Not to get too statistical here, but analysis* shows that in 2019, 76% of publishing staff were white , 7% were Native American, 6% were Hispanic/Latin/Mexican, 5% were black African/American and then 3% were bi-racial. You know what’s even more interesting is that the statistics were the same in 2014… with all this change and transformation that recent years have brought us, isn’t it a surprise to see that things aren’t actually changing for the ethnic minorities?
Although my reach on this blog might be small, I want to celebrate black talent and not just for the stereotypical sports or the music but that TALENT at its core. I hope that if you do ready any of these books that you enjoy them just as much as I did.
1. THE HATE U GIVE (THUG)
THUG is a book that I completely adored and fell in love with from the first page. Its main protagonist is sixteen year old Star whose world is made up of two types – a suburban high school life in a predominantly white neighbourhood and a life in a poor neighborhood. Things get even more complicated when she witnesses the murder of her best friend by a Police officer.
The writing will have you immersed in all of the characters, and it brought me to tears. If you know me, I don’t just cry at any book or any movie – like it really has to take a lot. But there was something that struck every chord in me with this book and I loved it.
It’s been made into a movie which I haven’t actually seen but have heard really great things about so if you’re more of a watcher you can check that out.
2. CLAP WHEN YOU LAND
This book puts you in the mindset of two women who are both a secret to each other. It explores very powerfully, grief, loss, awkward familial relationships and the bond that ties them together. I think there’s something that anyone and everyone can relate to in this book as it reminds us of our teenage years and the times that we were learning and growing.
3. GHOST BOYS
You might have heard of the first two books, but this book is a gem that I’ve not seen publicized in many places despite the awards it has received. It captivates your from the first page with the death of a young boy, Jerome, who was fatally shot by a police officer who thought he had a gun. This story is reminiscent of the real-life story of Tamir Rice and reminds of us of another young boy, Emmet Till, who was wrongfully murdered at a young age. The book transitions between Jerome’s time being alive and his time existing as a ghost along with all the other boys who had died in a similar way to him.
4. DEAR MARTIN
Dear Martin is another book that I loved with our male protagonist Justyce who after an unpleasant encounter with a police officer starts writing letters to Dr Martin Luther King Jr. This story unpacks a lot of frustration and questions that not only young black people have, but black adults. Nic creates characters and uses them as voices for the many incidents that have occurred in this world and really sucks you into the world of Justyce.
5. SING, UNBURIED, SING
Now, this is a book that I have only just started, but I am currently enjoying. This books takes you on a journey where the past and the present meet, where life and death collide with a pressing weight. Although I can’t tell you about the whole book in general, I can say that so far Jesmyn’s writing is poetic and they hold a special ability to convey emotions in just the right ways.
I hope you enjoyed some of these recommendations just as much as I did. If you’ve ready on of these books or have any recommendations of your own feel free to drop me a comment 🙂
**Reference for statistics: Found here