Welcome back to three to read! Black History Month is a time to educate and understand the history behind famous Black people that have made an impact on the world. In the literary world, it’s just the same. Except, of course, we get inspirational words and creative worlds that cause us to reflect on our own lives.
It should be noted that Black History Month is not the only time you should be reading Black authors. Of course, February is a time we recognize their voices the most, but the problem with that is, February is the shortest month of the year. Is it by coincidence? Maybe. No matter the case, this is a time to read up on the experience of what it means to be a Black person in 2023 and also show the creative art that is inside these writers. Black History Month is not enough time, so please, read these books and similar ones all year round.
Now that my mini rant is over… let’s get started!
How to Be A (Young) Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi and Nic Stone
Ibram X. Kendi partners up with Nic Stone to show us the different generations of how one could become an antiracist. Kendi famously wrote How to be an Antiracist with adults in mind, while this newer counterpart helps young adults and teenagers to make an active impact against racism. Of course, you do not have to be young to read this book, but kids ages 12 and up will find this best suitable as they grow up in a world filled with diverse voices. This book helps empower teens and young adults alike to create a world that best suits all and to make their own path in the world. It helps answer the concerns the youth may have.
Growing up as a Black and Mexican young girl was a bit difficult. This book would have helped many of my classmates and me to identify the differences between someone teasing and someone being racist. I’ve read some entries of Kendi’s previous works, so I know for sure this will reflect within his personal life while also giving reasons why this is important in today’s society.
Coffee Shop Read
The Blacker the Berry
by Wallace Thurman
Read & Co Classics have republished Wallace Thurman’s The Blacker The Berry. In this, we get an intro to Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s poem, If I had Known.
The story is about Emma Lou Morgan’s struggle against racism. In the world’s eyes, her skin was too black. Emma must live in a world that scorns and shames her, not because she’s a black woman but because she is too black. Within her own community– her family, friends, and loved ones reject her. With nothing holding her back, Emma Lou leaves her hometown and seeks love and acceptance during the Harlem Renaissance.
At the time it was first published, it was extremely controversial. It was the first novel to shed light on colorism within the black community. Thurman visually shows what all shades of discrimination can look like. You will hurt, feel, and love the way Thurman describes Emma Lou’s turn of tragic to hopeful journey.
The Monsters We Defy
by Leslye Penelope
Clara Johnson has a gift. She can talk to spirits. It’s a gift that has helped her in her darkest moments, but now it’s a curse that has let her be horribly entangled within the spirit world. Unexpectedly a powerful spirit offers her freedom, so without a thought, Clara accepts. Her only task is to steal the magical ring from the richest woman in the District.
Can Clara really do this alone? No, instead she forms an unusual team: a handsome jazz musician that can hypnotize using his musical talents, and an old actor that can change his face. But time is against them– as the spirit world is breaking into the human one!
Fantasy, historical fiction, fun, exhilarating twists and turns… Excuse me how can you not want to take a peek at Leslye Peneleope’s book? It’s a rare sight to see a POC woman character that’s well-fleshed out with an amazing plot strapped around her. We need more exposure for fantasy-written writers with black female leads, and this one should be the first on your TBR!
We hope you enjoyed our picks for the week! Want to check out more three-to-reads? Click here!