Everything from memoirs to beach reads.

By Emily VanSchmus
Updated January 16, 2021
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This year I’ve made extra effort to read more and I'm making a conscious effort to expand my reading list to include more diverse voices. With Black History Month approaching, there's no better time to commit to adding Black authors to your reading list—but keep in mind it's not something that should be limited to the month of February. Whether you’re looking for a moving memoir or a thought-provoking beach read, this list can help you find your next book.

These are some of my favorite books from strong Black female authors and a few I've recently added to my "to read" list. Order a few from your local book store or reserve them at your local library this week. All of these picks can be ordered online and shipped directly to your home, but we highly recommend buying from your local Black-owned bookstores.

blue and pink book cover of such a fun age
Credit: Courtesy of Target

'Such a Fun Age' by Kiley Reid

When a white social media influencer asks her Black nanny to take her toddler to the local market, chaos ensues when the nanny is accused of kidnapping the little child. What happens next in this New York Times bestseller is a powerful explanation of race and privilege in modern America. 

Buy It: Such a Fun Age, ($15, Target)

blue and yellow book cover of an american marriage
Credit: Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones

Celestial and Roy are happily married newlyweds, until Roy is arrested and sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit. As she comes to terms with what has happened, Celestial turns to Andre, her childhood friend (and best man at their wedding). When Roy is suddenly released after serving 5 years in prison, will Celestial still be waiting for him? This moving pick from Oprah’s Book Club is the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the winner of the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. 

Buy It: An American Marriage, ($16, Barnes & Noble)

black and pink book cover of ordinary light
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'Ordinary Light' by Tracy K. Smith

In this powerful memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith highlights the importance of race, faith, and family have had on her life. This book will help you learn about what it’s like to grow up as a Black woman in America.

Buy It: Ordinary Light, ($14, Target)

book cover of becoming by michelle obama
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'Becoming' by Michelle Obama

Former First Lady Michelle Obama paints a vivid picture of life on the South side of Chicago and details her journey to the White House in a moving and impactful way. When you’re done reading this instant bestseller, stream the new Netflix documentary by the same name. 

Buy It: Becoming, ($12, Target)

blue and white book cover of the proposal
Credit: Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

'The Proposal' by Jasmine Guillory

When Nikole walks into a Dodgers game with her relatively new boyfriend, the very last thing she expects is for him to propose. The next-to-last thing she expects is to fall for the stranger who saves her from the awkward public spectacle, but that’s exactly what happens in this classic summer romance. This is the second book in a series of novels featuring intertwined friend groups by the best-selling author. 

Buy It: The Proposal, ($15, Barnes & Noble)

book cover of the book hidden figures
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'Hidden Figures' by Margot Lee Shetterly

If you’ve already seen the film Hidden Figures, the New York Times bestseller is still worth a read. It highlights the previously untold story of three Black female mathematicians who changed history with their contributions at NASA in the sixties. 

Buy It: Hidden Figures, ($10, Target)

book cover that says year of yes in red
Credit: Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

'Year of Yes' by Shonda Rhimes

If you turn on the TV on Thursday nights, chances are you’ll see one of Shonda Rhimes’ shows. The creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder doesn’t shy away from social issues on her shows, and her book is a refreshingly frank and honest account of the struggles and triumphs she’s encountered as a Black female creative. 

Buy It: Year of Yes, ($16, Barnes & Noble)

white book cover that says the hate u give in black
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'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas

In this award-winning novel, sixteen-year-old Starr Carter watches as her best friend Khalil is shot and killed by a police officer. When the incident makes national headlines, Starr must speak up to fight for what is right. This powerful book will make you think critically about the current racial inequality in America. 

Buy It: The Hate U Give, ($14, Target)

pink, purple, and yellow sunburst on the front of a book that says the sun is also a star
Credit: Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

'The Sun Is Also a Star' by Nicola Yoon

When Natasha and Daniel have a chance encounter on a busy New York City street, neither of them expect the moment to turn into an epic love story—but it does. This bestseller was turned into a movie by the same name last fall. 

Buy It: The Sun Is Also a Star, ($17, Barnes & Noble)

blue, red, and yellow book cover of the girl with the louding voice
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'The Girl with the Louding Voice' by Abi Dare

This New York Times bestseller tells the story of Adunni, a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who is determined to get an education, whatever the cost. When she is sold to a local man who buys her as his wife, she runs away to find a better life, but can't escape the knowledge that what happened to her was not an isolated incident. Adunni decides to use her "loudening voice" to tell her story in an attempt to make a powerful change. 

Buy It: The Girl with the Louding Voice, ($23, Target)

light pink book cover that says I almost forgot about you in black text
Credit: Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

'I Almost Forgot About You' by Terry McMillan

When Georgia Young quits her job as an optometrist, her family and friends think she’s crazy to leave her successful career. But what Georgia finds on her journey toward happiness is far better than the life she left behind. If you're looking for an inspiring and uplifting story about making the most of your life, pick up a copy of this book.

Buy It: I Almost Forgot About You, ($17, Barnes & Noble)


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