#ReadingBlackout: 28 Books by Black Women for Black History Month

#ReadingBlackout: 28 Books by Black Women for Black History Month


This February, in honor of Black History Month, readers are participating in #readingblackout, a movement started by BookTuber Denise D. Cooper that encourages readers to exclusively pick up books by black authors. The Bookish team couldn’t resist joining in, and since we can’t get enough of books written by talented women, we put together a recommendation list featuring 28 books (one for each day of February) written by black women. You’re sure to find a few familiar covers on this list, but we hope you also find some new reads for your TBR pile.

We’d love to hear about the books you’re reading for #readingblackout. Tell us about them in the comments!

We were so taken with Here Comes the Sun, that we named Nicole Dennis-Benn’s debut novel about the other side of paradise as one of our recommended reads of summer 2016.

In The Cutting Season, a thriller set on a historic southern plantation, Attica Locke goes back in time to illuminate the present.

Go undercover with a Union Army spy in Alyssa Cole’s espionage romance set during the Civil War. We recommend this for your book club, or as a solo read.

Roxane Gay is one of the most powerful voices of our times and her memoir Hunger was one of our favorite books of 2017. In it, she describes her relationship to her body with keen insight and fearless honesty.

In Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi writes an extraordinary generational novel which follows the lives of two Ghanaian sisters, one of whom is sold into slavery and brought to the United States.

Prepare to be spellbound by this thrilling sci-fi novella by Nnedi Okorafor, the first in the Binti series.

National Book Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward stuns with this memoir of loss, poverty, and racism.

Jacqueline Woodson’s verse memoir won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2014, and it still shines today as one of the most gorgeous books we’ve ever read.

Jasmine Guillory’s romance is a must-read, especially if your Valentine’s Day plans include curling up with a good book.

Janet Mock does not hold back in her memoir about growing up transgender in America.

Beverly Jenkins’ Old West series is not to be missed. We highly recommend reading them all, starting with Forbidden.

Angie Thomas’ young adult novel was one of the most talked-about books of 2017. Read up and join the conversation.

Brandy Colbert’s young adult novel is one of our favorite reads of 2017 for its honest portrayal of falling in love and discovering who you are.

Be dazzled by Zadie Smith’s debut novel White Teeth, which exploded onto the lit scene in 2001.

We recommend getting your hands on this essay collection (and out of Phoebe Robinson’s hair).

Don’t let Alice Walker’s most famous novel remain on your TBR pile. If you have never read this classic, now is the perfect time.

Inspired by a true crime, Tiffany D. Jackson’s young adult novel will keep you hooked until the very last page.

Rachel Howzell Hall has received much praise for her crime fiction, including for the first book in her Detective Elouise Norton series, Land of Shadows.

Playwright and novelist Penny Mickelbury’s debut mystery novel introduces a beloved character, Lieutenant Gianna Maglione.

Get hooked on N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo-award winning sci-fi series, which kicks off with the The Fifth Season.

Tracey Baptiste will give you goosebumps and have you checking over your shoulder with this book for young readers based on the Haitian folktale “The Magic Orange Tree.”

Being a teenager can certainly feel chaotic at times. In her YA novel, Nalo Hopkinson creates a chaos that is real and threatening to obliterate the entire world of protagonist, Scotch.

Readers looking to be swept up in a romantic tale about a couple given a second chance at love will devour Tee Franklin’s comic.

Octavia Butler’s Kindred, a 1979 novel about time-travel and slavery, remains a popular favorite today. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?

The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks is a must-read collection of poetry by the acclaimed and beloved poet, author, and teacher.

Alaya Dawn Johnson builds a near-future world threatened by a global flu pandemic in her YA novel Love is a Drug. One part conspiracy novel and one part sci-fi, this book will keep you turning pages.

In this astonishing book for young readers, Andrea Davis Pinkney poignantly examines how violence affects children in one Sudanese village.

Readers will sing the praises of Maya Angelou’s powerful classic memoir.


  1. Awesome list! I read Hunger last year. Listening to You Cand Touch Hair now and The Wedding Date is waiting for me at the library. Adding a few more to my TBR list, too!

  2. For the most part, I’ve been reaching back in time for my Black History Month reading. I’ve completed James Baldwin’s, The Fire Next Time that had me in tears, and Jackson, 1964 by Calvin Trillian. I’ve got a few that I’m still reading that I grabbed from the donations pile at the Library where I volunteer. Jackie Robinson, I Never Had it Made as told to Alfred Duckett, Selected Poems of Langston Hughes, Jack Johnson is a Dandy by himself and some that I think are by white authors, yet deal with Black Histories, like The Mob’s Verdict: Silence at the End of a Rope by Henry M. Miller and This Wounded Land by Irving Werstein.

    I set up a set up a for sale shelf full of titles for Black History Month and I know the Library proper did as well.

    Look, I’m lily white, yet that doesn’t mean that I can’t use my love of books and especially non-fiction to learn more about different experiences, different cultures, different histories all year. It makes me a better more aware and empathetic person. There are times that those that read for an escape question my choices as I cry over a powerful or extremely painful passage, that’s not what reading is for me. Sure, it’s an escape, but it’s an escape that builds my understanding of the lives of all people, all colors, and all starting points. We all have a story, some tell it better and get the opportunity to make it public, but that doesn’t change that we all have our own journeys and stories to tell.

Leave a Reply