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Best Books by Black Authors

Discover the most celebrated works by black authors, as revered on leading book blogs and publications. Each book on this list has been consistently recognized for its impact and storytelling, with rankings based on frequency of recommendations.

Recommendations from 45 articles, Barack Obama, Rihanna, Selena Gomez and 131 others.
100 books on the list
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Beloved book cover
Toni Morrison - 2004-06-08 (first published in 1987)
Goodreads Rating
Explore the haunting and innovative world of a former slave in this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Sethe may have escaped to Ohio, but memories of the beautiful yet tragic Sweet Home still hold her captive. A destructive ghost and a mysterious teenage girl, both named Beloved, only add to the weight of her past. Discover how Sethe navigates the horrors of slavery and the consequences it has on her family in this unforgettable classic.
Recommended by
Shonda RhimesAmy Cuddy
My Sister, the Serial Killer book cover
My Sister, the Serial Killer
Oyinkan Braithwaite - 2018-11-20
Goodreads Rating
In this blackly comic novel, Korede is constantly cleaning up after her sister Ayoola, who has a tendency to "dispatch" her boyfriends in self-defense. Korede loves her sister, but when Ayoola starts dating the doctor Korede has feelings for, she's forced to choose between them. Will she protect her sister or the man she loves?
Recommended by
Meena Kandasamy
The Color Purple book cover
The Color Purple
A Novel
Alice Walker - 2019-12-10 (first published in 1982)
Goodreads Rating
In this modern classic, Alice Walker depicts the lives of African American women in early 20th-century rural Georgia. The story follows Celie and Nettie, two sisters separated as girls who sustain their loyalty and hope in each other through a series of letters spanning 20 years. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. With deep compassion and beautiful writing, this Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner is a must-read journey towards redemption and love.
Their Eyes Were Watching God book cover
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston - 2006-05-30 (first published in 1937)
Goodreads Rating
Follow Janie Crawford on her journey of self-discovery, as she navigates through the challenges of being a black woman in the 1930s. Through three marriages and a journey back to her roots, Janie seeks to become her own person and find true identity.
The Vanishing Half book cover
The Vanishing Half
A Novel
Brit Bennett - 2020-06-02
Goodreads Rating
Identical twin sisters grow up together in a small, southern black community and later choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. One sister secretly passes for white, while the other raises her black daughter in the same southern town they once escaped. As their daughters' storylines intersect, Brit Bennett weaves together multiple strands and generations of this family, exploring the lasting influence of the past on a person's decisions, desires, and expectations. A riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing.
Invisible Man book cover
Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison - 1995-02-01 (first published in 1952)
Goodreads Rating
This groundbreaking novel tells the journey of an unnamed protagonist navigating through the racial divide, shedding light on the effects of bigotry on both victim and perpetrator. With a voice that captures the full range of the American language, the story takes us from the Deep South to Harlem, throwing our own reality into harsh relief. Suspenseful and sardonic, Invisible Man is an audacious and dazzling masterpiece that redefines American literature.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings book cover
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou - 1993-11-01 (first published in 1969)
Goodreads Rating
This poignant memoir follows Maya and her brother as they are sent to live with their grandmother in a small Southern town, facing abandonment and prejudice. After a traumatic incident and years of struggle, Maya learns to liberate herself through self-love, the support of others, and great literature. Poetic and powerful, this book is a timeless standout in the genre of memoir.
Between the World and Me book cover
Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates - 2015-07-14
Goodreads Rating
This thought-provoking work delves into American history and presents a powerful new framework for understanding the nation's current crisis. Through personal narratives and reimagined history, the author addresses the falsehood of "race" and its damaging effects on black men and women. Written as a letter to his son, this emotionally charged book sheds light on the past, confronts the present, and offers a hopeful vision for the future.
Homegoing book cover
Yaa Gyasi - 2016-06-07
Goodreads Rating
Discover the sweeping and emotionally powerful story of two half-sisters born in 18th-century Ghana, whose destinies diverge as one is married to an Englishman and lives in luxury while the other is sold into slavery and shipped off to America. Homegoing follows the families of both sisters through generations, capturing with stunning immediacy the impact of historical forces on their lives. From the slave trade and British colonization to the Civil War and Great Migration, this exquisite novel by a major new voice in contemporary fiction is not to be missed.
Transcendent Kingdom book cover
Transcendent Kingdom
A novel
Yaa Gyasi - 2020-09-01
Goodreads Rating
A Ghanaian family in Alabama grapples with addiction, grief, and faith in Yaa Gyasi's stunning novel. Gifty is a neuroscience candidate studying depression and addiction following her brother's fatal overdose. As she seeks answers in science, she also confronts her childhood faith in the evangelical church. Transcendent Kingdom is a moving portrayal of a family's struggle with mental illness and their search for love and salvation. Gyasi's exceptional writing makes this a powerful follow-up to her acclaimed debut.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
The Street by Ann Petry
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
Talia Hibbert's Brown Sisters Book Set by Talia Hibbert, Adjoa Andoh, Ione Butler, Harperaudio
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Finding Me by Viola Davis
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia
How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones
You Can't Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead
Hunger by Roxane Gay
The Wishing Pool and Other Stories by Tananarive Due
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby
How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith
Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb
The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin
Hope and Glory by Jendella Benson
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Disappearing Acts by Terry McMillan
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Don't Cry for Me by Daniel Black
We Are a Haunting by Tyriek White
When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
Lone Women by Victor LaValle
Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow
Maame by Jessica George
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
It's Not All Downhill From Here by Terry McMillan
Decent People by De'Shawn Charles Winslow
Citizen by Claudia Rankine
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Naughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
Recitatif by Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Above Ground by Clint Smith
More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth
I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
Grown by Tiffany D Jackson
Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
The New Black Vanguard by Antwaun Sargent
Another Country by James Baldwin
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré