10 Must-Read Books by Black Authors Your Bookstore Should Carry

February is Black History Month, and for some students this gives a boost of inspiration to seek to learn more about Black culture. Many may not be aware of the vast and rich variety of literature by Black authors, from novels to non-fiction to poetry. These stories are an excellent feature for your bookstore this month – and throughout the year!

1 – Beloved by Toni Morrison

“This “brutally powerful, mesmerizing story” (People) is an unflinchingly look into the abyss of slavery, from the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner.” (Amazon)

2 – The Color Purple: A Novel by Alice Walker

“A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.” (Amazon)

3 – Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

“In this deeply compelling novel and epic milestone of American literature, a nameless narrator tells his story from the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. Originally published in 1952 as the first novel by a then unknown author, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century.” (Amazon)

4 – The Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead

“Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, this #1 New York Times bestseller chronicles a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South” (Amazon)

5 – Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

“In one of the greatest American classics, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity—told “with vivid imagery, with lavish attention to details … [a] feverish story” (The New York Times).” (Amazon)

6 – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“In her debut novel, Angie Thomas creates what might be one of the decade’s most vivid voices in YA fiction. Though the appalling scenario depicted here is sadly familiar, Thomas’s clear and honest writing moves beyond sound bites to represent the real people and communities behind the headlines.” — Shelf Awareness (starred review)


7 – The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

“Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.” (Amazon)

8 – Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

“Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.” (Amazon)

9 – Becoming by Michelle Obama

“Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.” (Amazon)

10 – How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

“Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.” (Amazon)

What books are you recommending? Leave us a comment and share your favorite black authors!

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