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Ten books by black authors you need to read this month


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October is Black History Month, and here at TNS we thought we would celebrate by sharing these amazing books by black authors that everyone needs to read, if you haven't already. 

Tomi Adeyemi. Image: Luigi Novi.

1. The Hate U Give-Angie Thomas

Given that the movie is coming out this month, now would be the perfect time to pick up Angie Thomas' hit YA novel: inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. The Hate U Give follows Starr as she attempts to navigate the aftermath of her best friend Khalil being shot by the police. The book has made waves since its release due to the honest and matter of fact way it deals with police brutality towards African-Americans, so definitely a must read for Black History Month.

2. Children of Blood and Bone-Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone is an epic fantasy novel following an all-black cast of characters (a real rarity in fantasy!) as they fight to return magic to their land. I read this book this year and it's one of my favourite books of 2018, it's a super exciting adventure story with really flawed and complex characters and such an awesome magic system. Fantasy fans will eat this one up!

3. Noughts and Crosses-Malorie Blackman

Noughts and Crosses is the first of a five book series (the fifth book comes out next year), in a world where racism is reversed, Crosses (black people) are the ruling class and Noughts (white people) are treated as inferior. The story follows Sephy, a Cross, and Callum, a Nought, childhood friends who fall in love despite the prejudices of their society and have to deal with the fallout which comes from that. This book is one of my absolute favourites, I reread it a couple of years ago and it's still just as powerful now as it was then,

4. Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race-Reni Eddo-Lodge

Reni Eddo-Lodge's viral blog post about racism led to a smash hit book released last year on the same topic. In her book, Eddo-Lodge explores different issues surrounding race; white dominance, white privilege, white feminism and the links between class and race. An an absolute must-read.

5. The Colour Purple-Alice Walker

One of the most famous books written by a black author, The Colour Purple follows three African American women living in Georgia in the 1930s and the struggles they face in an increasingly unequal society. Alice Walker was the first ever black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with this book in 1983.

6. Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance-Barack Obama

If you find yourself missing Barack Obama (as many of us do...), then you can always pick up his memoirs. Written before he was even a senator, let alone President, this book will remind you of better times, while reading the life story of a very inspiring man.

7. Who Fears Death-Nnedi Okorafor

As Nnedi Okorafor's sci-fi fantasy novel has been optioned for TV by HBO, with George RR Martin executive producing, this would be the perfect time to become familiar with her novel. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of Sudan where the light skinned Nuru oppress the dark skinned Okeke and the protagonist is a mixed race girl (the product of rape of her mother by a Nuru man) who goes on a quest to defeat her father.

8. Dear Martin-Nic Stone

Dear Martin is another Black Lives Matter book, but this time from a male perspective. Dear Martin follows teen Justyce McAllister who starts writing a journal to Dr Martin Luther King Jr as a way of dealing following an incident of police brutality.

9. Hidden Figures-Margot Lee Shetterly

It stands to reason that in Black History Month, you might want to read some real black History, so with that in mind, Hidden Figures, a book written by a black woman about real black women who made a very real contribution to the Space Race in the 1960s, would be the perfect book to try. And if you like, you can watch the really great movie afterwards!

10. The Belles-Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles is a recent YA release which is set in a world called Orleans, where everyone is "grey" (ie ugly) and they can only be made beautiful by the Belles, women who have control over Beauty. The story follows Camellia who wants to be the chosen Belle to the Queen of Orleans but in her fight to be chosen, has to make a difficult choice whether to save her life and protect the status quo or risk untold danger by reviving the ill princess of Orleans.  

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