Books That Uplift Black Voices
Celebrate Black History Month with these captivating stories masterfully weaved together by these stellar authors. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but these books are a great place to start if you’re looking for reads that spotlight joy, community, and success. These stories redefine what success can look like and show possibilities of rediscovering who you are after your life gets uprooted. From rekindling a love that left a woman heartbroken in Seven Days to making a comeback from an injury that left a pro-athlete adrift from his dreams in Walking Miracle, let’s celebrate these Black Voices beyond this month.
Ellis Bailey Johnson wanted his summer to be filled with hanging out with his friends, listening to music, and playing his harmonica. Instead, he has to help his dad’s latest project: to open the world’s first chocolate chip cookie store. In six weeks, they have to perfect their recipe, shape up a run-down storefront, and bring in customers. But those six weeks turn rocky as nothing goes to plan and family secrets start to surface. Partly based on Shawn Amo’s own experiences, this debut novel sings the joy of self-discovery, unconditional love, and community.
This Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick follows Eva Mercy, a single mom and bestselling erotica writer. At a literary event, she unexpectedly meets Shane Hall, a reclusive, award-winning novelist. Sparks fly, but what no one else knows that that fifteen years ago, the two spent one week madly in love. They may be pretending not to know each other, but their chemistry is undeniable. They’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books throughout the years. They reconnect over the next seven days, but Eva’s wary of the man who broke her heart and needs some questions answered before he disappears.
On a rainy night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark pulls over to ask a man, standing by the edge of a bridge, to join her for a cup of coffee. He agrees to come back to her house and shares his name—Emmett. Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for him over the course of an emotionally charged weekend. She realizes that he isn’t the only one who needs to heal. They both harbor secrets. This vibrant novel alternates between Tallie and Emmett’s point of view, bringing us closer and closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge and the hard truth Tallie has been dealing with since her marriage ended.
In Piedmont, North Carolina, community outrage rises as a new initiative brings students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly white high schools on the west. On one side is Jade, Gee’s ambitious mother who’s determined to give her son the tools to survive America as a sensitive, anxious young Black man. On the other side is Lacey May, Noelle’s headstrong white mother who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but white. When Gee and Noelle join the school play that’s meant to help bridge the new and old students, their paths collide and their families begin to form tangled ties that will shape the trajectory of their adult lives.
Ryan Shazier was living his best life as the All-American at Ohio State and All-Pro linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game has given him so much, but when he gets injured, he’s forced to redefine success not by tackles or sacks but by purpose and faith. We see him overcome childhood alopecia and scoliosis and his journey to his dreams of playing college and professional football. Walking Miracle is a story of Ryan’s comeback and is a love letter to the power of positive thinking.
Yasmen and Josiah Wade thought their love was supposed to last forever. But blow after blow, they found that love alone couldn’t save their marriage. They find a new rhythm co-parenting their two kids and running their thriving business together. But they’re always drawn back to each other like magnets and begin wondering if they’re truly ready to let go of their past.
Emily Hoang is a writer and editor, who is obsessed with haunted houses, ghosts, and dreams. More info can be found on her website.