A selection of fiction and nonfiction books written by Black authors.
This list is far from exhaustive and we are always open to including new titles. If you have recommendations for books by Black authors to add, please contact us.
Many of the titles present here are about race and racism, however this list is intended to showcase Black voices across a whole range of subjects and genres. For more books about race and racism specifically, please see our Antiracist Reading list.
Also note that demand for these titles is exceptionally high right now, so our stock levels are constantly changing. For any book currently not in stock, we will fulfill your order as soon as possible, usually within one to two weeks.
- by Rodney Diverlus
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The killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 by a white assailant inspired the Black Lives Matter movement, which quickly spread outside the borders of the United States. The movement's message found fertile ground in Canada, where Black activists speak of generations of injustice and continue the work of the Black liberators who have come before them.
Until We Are Free contains some of the very best writing on the hottest issues facing the Black community in Canada. It describes the latest developments in Canadian Black activism, organizing efforts through the use of social media, Black-Indigenous alliances, and more.
"Until We Are Free busts myths of Canadian politeness and niceness, myths that prevent Canadians from properly fulfilling its dream of multiculturalism and from challenging systemic racism, including the everyday assaults on black and brown bodies. This book needs to be read and put into practice by everyone." --Vershawn Young, author of Your Average Nigga: Performing Race, Literacy, and Masculinity and co-author of Other People's English: Code Meshing, Code Switching, and African American Literacy
Silvia Argentina Arauz - Toronto, ON
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson - Toronto, ON
Patrisse Cullors - Los Angeles, CA
Giselle Dias - Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON
OmiSoore Dryden - Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
Paige Galette - Whitehorse, YK
Dana Inkster - University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB
Sarah Jama - Hamilton, ON
El Jones - Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS
Anique Jordan - Toronto, ON
Dr. Naila Keleta Mae - University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON
Janaya Khan - Los Angeles, CA
Gilary Massa - York University, Toronto, ON
Robyn Maynard - University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
QueenTite Opaleke - Toronto, ON
Randolph Riley - Halifax, NS
Camille Turner - York University, Toronto, ON
Ravyn Wngz - Toronto, ON
- by Charlene Carruthers
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A manifesto from one of America's most influential activists which disrupts political, economic, and social norms by reimagining the Black Radical Tradition.
Drawing on Black intellectual and grassroots organizing traditions, including the Haitian Revolution, the US civil rights movement, and LGBTQ rights and feminist movements, Unapologetic challenges all of us engaged in the social justice struggle to make the movement for Black liberation more radical, more queer, and more feminist. This book provides a vision for how social justice movements can become sharper and more effective through principled struggle, healing justice, and leadership development. It also offers a flexible model of what deeply effective organizing can be, anchored in the Chicago model of activism, which features long-term commitment, cultural sensitivity, creative strategizing, and multiple cross-group alliances. And Unapologetic provides a clear framework for activists committed to building transformative power, encouraging young people to see themselves as visionaries and leaders.
- by Jericho Brown
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WINNER OF THE 2020 PULITZER PRIZE FOR POETRYFinalist for the 2019 National Book Award
"100 Notable Books of the Year,"The New York Times Book Review
One Book, One Philadelphia Citywide Reading Program Selection, 2021
"By some literary magic--no, it's precision, and honesty--Brown manages to bestow upon even the most public of subjects the most intimate and personal stakes."--Craig Morgan Teicher, "'I Reject Walls':A 2019 Poetry Preview" for NPR
"A relentless dismantling of identity, a difficult jewel of a poem."--Rita Dove, in her introduction to Jericho Brown's "Dark" (featured in theNew York Times Magazine in January 2019)
"Winner of a Whiting Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Brown's hard-won lyricism finds fire (and idyll) in the intersection of politics and love for queer Black men."--O, The Oprah Magazine
Named aLit Hub "Most Anticipated Book of 2019"
One ofBuzzfeed's "66 Books Coming in 2019 You'll Want to Keep Your Eyes On"
The Rumpuspoetry pick for "What to Read When 2019 is Just Around the Corner"
One ofBookRiot's "50 Must-Read Poetry Collections of 2019"
Jericho Brown's daring new bookThe Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown's poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we've become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown's mastery, and his invention of the duplex--a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues--is testament to his formal skill.The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while reveling in a celebration of contradiction.
- by Tiffany Jewell
Young adult softcover
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Recommended by Oprah's Book Club, ESSENCE, We Need Diverse Books, ellentube, Brit + Co, PureWow, Teen Vogue, Time, New York, USA TODAY, and TODAY.com
Also available: This Book Is Anti-Racist Journal, a guided journal with more than 50 activities to support your anti-racism journey
Who are you? What is racism? Where does it come from? Why does it exist? What can you do to disrupt it? Learn about social identities, the history of racism and resistance against it, and how you can use your anti-racist lens and voice to move the world toward equity and liberation.
"In a racist society, it's not enough to be non-racist--we must be ANTI-RACIST." --Angela Davis
Gain a deeper understanding of your anti-racist self as you progress through 20 chapters that spark introspection, reveal the origins of racism that we are still experiencing, and give you the courage and power to undo it. Each lesson builds on the previous one as you learn more about yourself and racial oppression. An activity at the end of every chapter gets you thinking and helps you grow with the knowledge. All you need is a pen and paper.
Author Tiffany Jewell, an anti-bias, anti-racist educator and activist, builds solidarity beginning with the language she chooses--using gender neutral words to honor everyone who reads the book. Illustrator Aurélia Durand brings the stories and characters to life with kaleidoscopic vibrancy.
After examining the concepts of social identity, race, ethnicity, and racism, learn about some of the ways people of different races have been oppressed, from indigenous Americans and Australians being sent to boarding school to be "civilized" to a generation of Caribbean immigrants once welcomed to the UK being threatened with deportation by strict immigration laws.
Find hope in stories of strength, love, joy, and revolution that are part of our history, too, with such figures as the former slave Toussaint Louverture, who led a rebellion against white planters that eventually led to Haiti's independence, and Yuri Kochiyama, who, after spending time in an internment camp for Japanese Americans during WWII, dedicated her life to supporting political prisoners and advocating reparations for those wrongfully interned.
Learn language and phrases to interrupt and disrupt racism. So, when you hear a microaggression or racial slur, you'll know how to act next time.
This book is written for EVERYONE who lives in this racialized society--including the young person who doesn't know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life, the kid who has lost themself at times trying to fit into the dominant culture, the children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn't stand up for themselves, and also for their families, teachers, and administrators.
With this book, be empowered to actively defy racism and xenophobia to create a community (large and small) that truly honors everyone.
- by Eternity Martis
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A powerful, moving memoir about what it's like to be a student of colour on a predominantly white campus.
A booksmart kid from Toronto, Eternity Martis was excited to move away to Western University for her undergraduate degree. But as one of the few Black students there, she soon discovered that the campus experiences she'd seen in movies were far more complex in reality. Over the next four years, Eternity learned more about what someone like her brought out in other people than she did about herself. She was confronted by white students in blackface at parties, dealt with being the only person of colour in class and was tokenized by her romantic partners. She heard racial slurs in bars, on the street, and during lectures. And she gathered labels she never asked for: Abuse survivor. Token. Bad feminist. But, by graduation, she found an unshakeable sense of self--and a support network of other women of colour.
Using her award-winning reporting skills, Eternity connects her own experience to the systemic issues plaguing students today. It's a memoir of pain, but also resilience.
- by Kiley Reid
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A Best Book of the Year:
The Washington Post o Chicago Tribune o NPR o Vogue o Elle o Real Simple o InStyle o Good Housekeeping o Parade o Slate o Vox o Kirkus Reviews o Library Journal o BookPage
Longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize
An Instant New York Times Bestseller
A Reese's Book Club Pick
"The most provocative page-turner of the year." --Entertainment Weekly
"I urge you to read Such a Fun Age." --NPR
A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times.
- by Ibram X. Kendi
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The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.
Some Americans insist that we're living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America -- it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.
As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial inequities.
In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.
- by Jason Reynolds
Young adult hardcover
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The #1 New York Times bestseller and a USAToday bestseller!
A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism--and antiracism--in America
This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.
Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas--and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
Download the free educator guide here: https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Stamped-Educator-Guide.pdf
- by Albert Woodfox
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FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN GENERAL NONFICTION
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN NONFICTION
Named One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2019
Named the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year
Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, Publishers Weekly, BookBrowse, and Literary Hub
Winner of the BookBrowse Award for Best Debut of 2019
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Solitary is the unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement?in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana?all for a crime he did not commit. That Albert Woodfox survived was, in itself, a feat of extraordinary endurance against the violence and deprivation he faced daily. That he was able to emerge whole from his odyssey within America's prison and judicial systems is a triumph of the human spirit, and makes his book a clarion call to reform the inhumanity of solitary confinement in the U.S. and around the world.
Arrested often as a teenager in New Orleans, inspired behind bars in his early twenties to join the Black Panther Party because of its social commitment and code of living, Albert was serving a 50-year sentence in Angola for armed robbery when on April 17, 1972, a white guard was killed. Albert and another member of the Panthers were accused of the crime and immediately put in solitary confinement by the warden. Without a shred of actual evidence against them, their trial was a sham of justice that gave them life sentences in solitary. Decades passed before Albert gained a lawyer of consequence; even so, sixteen more years and multiple appeals were needed before he was finally released in February 2016.
Remarkably self-aware that anger or bitterness would have destroyed him in solitary confinement, sustained by the shared solidarity of two fellow Panthers, Albert turned his anger into activism and resistance. The Angola 3, as they became known, resolved never to be broken by the grinding inhumanity and corruption that effectively held them for decades as political prisoners. He survived to give us Solitary, a chronicle of rare power and humanity that proves the better spirits of our nature can thrive against any odds.
- by Ijeoma Oluo
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In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America
Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy -- from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans -- has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair -- and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?
In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
"I am in awe of Ijeoma. She is the smartest, most courageous and electrifying young writer on race relations today -- the voice of our times." -Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility
"Simply put: Ijeoma Oluo is a necessary voice and intellectual for these times, and any time, truth be told." -Phoebe Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of You Can't Touch My Hair
- by Desmond Cole
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WINNER OF THE 2020 TORONTO BOOK AWARD
A bracing, provocative, and perspective-shifting book from one of Canada's most celebrated and uncompromising writers, Desmond Cole. The Skin We're In will spark a national conversation, influence policy, and inspire activists.
In his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine, Desmond Cole exposed the racist actions of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times he had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial practice of carding. The story quickly came to national prominence, shaking the country to its core and catapulting its author into the public sphere. Cole used his newfound profile to draw insistent, unyielding attention to the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis.
Both Cole's activism and journalism find vibrant expression in his first book, The Skin We're In. Puncturing the bubble of Canadian smugness and naive assumptions of a post-racial nation, Cole chronicles just one year--2017--in the struggle against racism in this country. It was a year that saw calls for tighter borders when Black refugees braved frigid temperatures to cross into Manitoba from the States, Indigenous land and water protectors resisting the celebration of Canada's 150th birthday, police across the country rallying around an officer accused of murder, and more.
The year also witnessed the profound personal and professional ramifications of Desmond Cole's unwavering determination to combat injustice. In April, Cole disrupted a Toronto police board meeting by calling for the destruction of all data collected through carding. Following the protest, Cole, a columnist with the Toronto Star, was summoned to a meeting with the paper's opinions editor and informed that his activism violated company policy. Rather than limit his efforts defending Black lives, Cole chose to sever his relationship with the publication. Then in July, at another police board meeting, Cole challenged the board to respond to accusations of a police cover-up in the brutal beating of Dafonte Miller by an off-duty police officer and his brother. When Cole refused to leave the meeting until the question was publicly addressed, he was arrested. The image of Cole walking out of the meeting, handcuffed and flanked by officers, fortified the distrust between the city's Black community and its police force.
Month-by-month, Cole creates a comprehensive picture of entrenched, systemic inequality. Urgent, controversial, and unsparingly honest, The Skin We're In is destined to become a vital text for anti-racist and social justice movements in Canada, as well as a potent antidote to the all-too-present complacency of many white Canadians.
- by Tessa Mcwatt
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FINALIST FOR THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD FOR NON-FICTION
Interrogating our ideas of race through the lens of her own multi-racial identity, critically acclaimed novelist Tessa McWatt turns her eye on herself, her body and this world in a powerful new work of non-fiction.
Tessa McWatt has been called Susie Wong, Pocahontas and "black bitch," and has been judged not black enough by people who assume she straightens her hair. Now, through a close examination of her own body--nose, lips, hair, skin, eyes, ass, bones and blood--which holds up a mirror to the way culture reads all bodies, she asks why we persist in thinking in terms of race today when racism is killing us.
Her grandmother's family fled southern China for British Guiana after her great uncle was shot in his own dentist's chair during the First Sino-Japanese War. McWatt is made of this woman and more: those who arrived in British Guiana from India as indentured labour and those who were brought from Africa as cargo to work on the sugar plantations; colonists and those whom colonialism displaced. How do you tick a box on a census form or job application when your ancestry is Scottish, English, French, Portuguese, Indian, Amerindian, African and Chinese? How do you finally answer a question first posed to you in grade school: "What are you?" And where do you find a sense of belonging in a supposedly "post-racial" world where shadism, fear of blackness, identity politics and call-out culture vie with each other noisily, relentlessly and still lethally?
Shame on Me is a personal and powerful exploration of history and identity, colour and desire from a writer who, having been plagued with confusion about her race all her life, has at last found kinship and solidarity in story.
- by Robyn Maynard
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Delving behind Canada's veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, Policing Black Lives traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond. Robyn Maynard provides readers with the first comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and punishment of Black lives in Canada.
While highlighting the ubiquity of Black resistance, Policing Black Lives traces the still-living legacy of slavery across multiple institutions, shedding light on the state's role in perpetuating contemporary Black poverty and unemployment, racial profiling, law enforcement violence, incarceration, immigration detention, deportation, exploitative migrant labour practices, disproportionate child removal and low graduation rates.
Emerging from a critical race feminist framework that insists that all Black lives matter, Maynard's intersectional approach to anti-Black racism addresses the unique and understudied impacts of state violence as it is experienced by Black women, Black people with disabilities, as well as queer, trans, and undocumented Black communities.
A call-to-action, Policing Black Lives urges readers to work toward dismantling structures of racial domination and re-imagining a more just society.
- by Margo Jefferson
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An extraordinary look at privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America by Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
A New York Times Notable Book
Jefferson takes us into an insular and discerning society: "I call it Negroland," she writes, "because I still find 'Negro' a word of wonders, glorious and terrible."
Margo Jefferson was born in 1947 into upper-crust black Chicago. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident Hospital, while her mother was a socialite. Negroland's pedigree dates back generations, having originated with antebellum free blacks who made their fortunes among the plantations of the South.
It evolved into a world of exclusive sororities, fraternities, networks, and clubs--a world in which skin color and hair texture were relentlessly evaluated alongside scholarly and professional achievements, where the Talented Tenth positioned themselves as a third race between whites and "the masses of Negros," and where the motto was "Achievement. Invulnerability. Comportment."
Jefferson brilliantly charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions, while reckoning with the strictures and demands of Negroland at crucial historical moments--the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the falsehood of post-racial America.
- by Layla F. Saad
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The New York Times and USA Today bestseller! This eye-opening book challenges you to do the essential work of unpacking your biases, and helps white people take action and dismantle the privilege within themselves so that you can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.
"Layla Saad is one of the most important and valuable teachers we have right now on the subject of white supremacy and racial injustice."--New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert
Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey, complete with journal prompts, to do the necessary and vital work that can ultimately lead to improving race relations.
Updated and expanded from the original workbook (downloaded by nearly 100,000 people), this critical text helps you take the work deeper by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and including expanded definitions, examples, and further resources, giving you the language to understand racism, and to dismantle your own biases, whether you are using the book on your own, with a book club, or looking to start family activism in your own home.This book will walk you step-by-step through the work of examining:Examining your own white privilegeWhat allyship really meansAnti-blackness, racial stereotypes, and cultural appropriationChanging the way that you view and respond to raceHow to continue the work to create social changeAwareness leads to action, and action leads to change. For readers of White Fragility, White Rage, So You Want To Talk About Race, The New Jim Crow, How to Be an Anti-Racist and more who are ready to closely examine their own beliefs and biases and do the work it will take to create social change.
"Layla Saad moves her readers from their heads into their hearts, and ultimately, into their practice. We won't end white supremacy through an intellectual understanding alone; we must put that understanding into action."--Robin DiAngelo, author of New York Times bestseller White Fragility