February is Black History Month, which means a lot of readers strive to be even more thoughtful about picking up books by black authors. While I think it’s important to diversify our reading all year, I do love seeing so many readers celebrate the work of Black writers from around the world. If you’re looking for some fantastic books for Black History Month, these are the 15 books I recommend most frequently, ranging from essential classics to brand new releases. But even if you don’t have a chance to fit these into your reading life in February, I hope you’ll pick one up later this year. I promise you, these won’t disappoint!
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. For an epic love story, a glimpse into Nigerian culture, and a fresh perspective on race in America.
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. For a brutally honest and heartbreakingly vulnerable portrait of female friendship in 1970s Brooklyn.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. For a first-hand account of the atrocities of American slavery penned in the most beautiful writing imaginable.
Beloved by Toni Morrison. For an unflinching story of motherhood, courage, and redemption, and the one book I think should be required reading for all humans.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. For a poetic and personal look at what it means to be a black man in American today.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. For an ensemble cast of fascinating, passionate, and courageous women of color set (mostly) in modern London.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. For a century-spanning story that examines the global effects of the transatlantic slave trade alongside the healing power of family bonds.
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. For anyone who wants to do the deep, difficult work of shedding harmful behaviors and becoming an antiracist advocate.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett. For an in-depth examination about how choices and circumstances unite to make us the people we are.
My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. For a darkly funny tale of sisterhood, lust, and, of course, murder.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. For a brutal but gorgeous story about the bonds of friendship and the will to survive set in the Jim Crow south.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. For a whip-smart and talented teenage heroine who knows what she wants and doesn’t hold back.
Passing by Nella Larsen. For a novel of envy, obsession, and ambition set in the Harlem Renaissance.
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. For an unexpected and highly original story of loneliness, sisterhood, and the lasting impact of toxic family bonds.
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. For Esche, a clever and vulnerable teen protagonist who will break your heart and defy your expectations.