BLACK VOICES SPECIAL EDITION
Matchbook Marketing has teamed up with Franklin Web Printing to offer this special edition of our print newsletter to amplify the voices of contemporary Black authors across all genres.
Matchbook donated curation and design, and Franklin Web donated staff time and the use of its presses. As a result, we are able to provide this 8-page issue of our newsletter for just the cost of the paper it is printed on and shipping.
To keep costs low, this special edition has singular branding and will not reflect each store. Nevertheless, we expect the issue to increase sales for indie bookstores who distribute it.
Deadline to place orders: SUNDAY, AUGUST 9
Newsletters will arrive in store on approximately August 21. Scroll down to view the issue’s title selections and text.
This curated list highlights contemporary Black authors (first) and their books (second). Our goal is to help readers discover the full body of work of each of the featured authors. Some of the books selected are backlist items, though pulled from just the last couple of years. Of those, most of those authors have forthcoming books, which are also listed in the blurb. In this way, we hope to keep readers engaged with backlist, new, and forthcoming titles, getting to know each author more deeply.
The Nickel Boys
by Colson Whitehead
Elwood Curtis is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake lands him in a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy. In reality, the Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students. More books to check out by two-time Pulitzer Prize winning Colson Whitehead include The Underground Railroad, The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, Apex Hides the Hurt, John Henry Days, and The Intuitionist. Anchor $15.95.
Navigate Your Stars
by Jesmyn Ward
For Tulane University’s 2018 commencement, two-time National Book Award-winner Jesmyn Ward delivered a stirring speech about hard work and respect, inspiring the audience with her meditation on tenacity in the face of hardship. Now, in book form, her words will inspire readers as they prepare for their next chapters in life, whether graduating from college or embarking on a different kind of journey. Don’t miss her other books: Sing, Unburied, Sing, Where the Line Bleeds, The Fire This Time, Men We Reaped, and Salvage the Bones. Scribner $16.
by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, Adjei-Brenyah reveals the violence, injustice, and painful absurdities that black men and women contend with every day in this country. These stories tackle urgent instances of racism and cultural unrest, and explore the many ways we fight for humanity in an unforgiving world. Entirely fresh, and sure to appeal to fans of Colson Whitehead and George Saunders, Friday Black confronts readers with a chorus of emotions, the final note of which, remarkably, is hope. Mariner $14.99.
An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. But as they settle into their life together, Roy is sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Unmoored, Celestial takes comfort in her friend Andre, and becomes unable to hold on to the love that has been her center as Roy’s time in prison passes. But after five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. Also check out Jones’ books Silver Sparrow, The Untelling, and Leaving Atlanta. Algonquin $16.95.
The Vanishing Half
by Brit Bennett
The Vignes are identical twins. But after growing up in a small, southern black community, their lives diverge as adults. One sister lives with her black daughter in the town she once tried to escape. The other passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen when their daughters’ storylines intersect? Brit Bennett produces a story that is a riveting family narrative and an exploration of the American history of passing. Be sure to read Bennett’s The Mothers as well. Riverhead $27.
The City We Became
by N.K. Jemisin
Five New Yorkers must defend their city from an ancient evil in this new novel by Hugo Award-winner N.K. Jemisin. Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and others are new and destructive. New York City has six, and a roiling evil threatens to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it. This is the first book in The Great Cities Trilogy. Other Jemisin books not to miss: The Inheritance Trilogy, How Long ‘til Black Future Month?, The Dreamblood Duology, and The Broken Earth Trilogy. Orbit $28.
by Lauren Wilkinson
It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. So when she’s asked to join a task force aimed at undermining Sankara, the revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, she says yes, even though she admires his work. Marie observes Sankara, seduces him, and ultimately has a hand in bringing him down. But doing so changes everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American. Random House Trade $17.
Deacon King Kong
by James McBride
In September 1969, a cranky old church deacon shuffles into the Cause Houses housing project in Brooklyn, and in front of everybody shoots the project’s drug dealer. The reasons for this violence and its consequences lie at the heart of this funny, moving novel, bringing to life the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops, the church members, and more. Other McBride books: The Good Lord Bird, Five-Carat Soul, Kill ‘Em and Leave, Song Yet Sung, Miracle at St. Anna, and The Color of Water. Riverhead $28.
Trouble Is What I Do
by Walter Mosley
Morally ambiguous P.I. Leonid McGill is back investigating crimes against society’s downtrodden. In this installment of the beloved detective series, 92-year-old Mississippi bluesman Phillip “Catfish” Worry enlists Leonid’s help to reveal the black lineage of a wealthy heiress and her corrupt father. Mosley is the author of more than 43 critically acclaimed books, including The Easy Rawlins Mysteries. His work has been translated into 23 languages and includes literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, and a young adult novel. Mulholland $24.
Ghost Summer: Stories
by Tananarive Due
Whether weaving family life and history into dark fiction or writing speculative Afrofuturism, American Book Award winner and Essence bestselling author Tananarive Due’s work is both riveting and enlightening. In this collection of her short fiction, Due takes us to Grace-town, a small Florida town that has both literal and figurative ghosts; into future scenarios that seem all too real; and provides empathetic portraits of those whose lives are touched by Otherness. Other books by Due: My Soul to Keep, The Good House, and many more. Prime $15.95.
by Jericho Brown
Jericho Brown’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s invention of the duplex—a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues. Other books not to miss: The New Testament and Please. Copper Canyon $29.99.
American Sonnets For My Past and Future Assassin
by Terrance Hayes
In seventy poems, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of American, assassin, and love in the sonnet form. Written during the first 200 days of the Trump presidency, these poems are haunted by the country’s past and future eras and errors, its dreams and nightmares. Inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, and bewildered— the wonders of this collection are irreducible and stunning. Read more by Hayes: How to Be Drawn, Lighthead, Wind in a Box, Hip Logic, Muscular Music, and the essay collection To Float in the Space Between. Penguin $18.
by Danez Smith
Homie is Danez Smith’s magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer, and it can be hard to survive, and even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family—blood and chosen—arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Other collections include Don’t Call Us Dead, Black Movie, and [insert] boy. Graywolf $16.
Bitter Root by David Walker and Chuck Brown, illus. by Sanford Greene
A Fortune for Your Disaster by Hanif Abdurraqib
Still Can’t Do My Daughter’s Hair by William Evans
Honeyfish by Lauren K. Alleyne
The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
The Yellow House by Sarah Broom
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
The Farm by Joanne Ramos
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
The Changeling by Victor Lavalle
Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Comics
My Mother’s House
by Francesca Momplaisir
For fans of Mehsin Hamid, Kate Atkinson, and Jesmyn Ward: a literary thriller about the underbelly of the immigrant American dream and the ripple effect one person’s damages can have on the lives of others—told unexpectedly by a house that has held unspeakable horrors. When Lucien flees Haiti with his wife and their three children to New York City, he hopes for reinvention, wealth, and comfort. What he can’t begin to fathom is that the house is watching, passing judgment, and deciding to put an end to all the sins it has been made to hold. Knopf $26.95.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
by Marlon James
Tracker is known for his skills as a hunter. Engaged to track down a boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker finds himself part of a search group. The band is full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both. Also read A Brief History of Seven Killings and The Book of Night Women. Riverhead $18.
Binti: the Complete Trilogy
by Nnedi Okorafor
In her Hugo- and Nebula-winning novella, Nnedi Okorafor introduced us to Binti, a young Himba girl with the chance to attend the prestigious Oomza University. Binti’s talent for mathematics and her aptitude with astrolabes make her a prime candidate for this interstellar journey. But everything changes when the Medusae attack Binti’s spaceship, leaving her the only survivor…. Among Okorafor’s many books are Who Fears Death, The Book of Phoenix, the Akata books, Lagoon, and Zahrah the Windseeker. Ikenga is her new novel for ages 10+. Daw $17.
by Tochi Onyebuchi
A global dystopian narrative and an intimate family story with devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience. Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down. Other books by Onyebuchi: Beasts Made of Night, Crown of Thunder, and War Girls. Tor.com $19.99.
House of Whispers Vol. 2: Ananse
by Nalo Hopkinson, illus. by Dominike Stanton
The souls trapped in the Dreaming are restless, seeking help to escape their “predeceased” state. Erzulie calls upon the spider-god Anansi to assist in unraveling the truth behind her own history. But can Anansi be trusted with any truths he finds? The Sandman Universe is a new series of books curated by Neil Gaiman; this volume collects House of Whispers #7-12. Nalo Hopkinson is the award-winning author of Brown Girl in the Ring and Midnight Robber; Dominike “DOMO” Stanton is the artist of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Vertigo $16.99.
Morbius Vol. 1: Old Wounds
by Vita Ayala, illus. by Marcelo Ferreira
Morbius is the Living Vampire… but is he more? For years, Nobel Prize-winning biologist Dr. Michael Morbius has looked for a cure for his unique case of vampirism. Now, his salvation may be within reach! But his path to humanity is littered with dangers. Vita Ayala’s other works include The Wilds, Supergirl, Xena: Warrior Princess, Magic: The Gathering: Chandra, Livewire, and Submerged, among others. Forthcoming titles include James Bond: Big Things (co-authored with Danny Lore, Sept. 2020), and Children of the Atom. (Oct.) Marvel $15.99.
Queen of Bad Dreams Vol. 1
by Danny Lore, illus. by Jordi Pérez
When a dream entity known as a figment emerges from a dreamer’s mind, it’s Daher’s job as an Inspector Judge to track them down and make the call: reinsert the figment, or grant them agency in our world. After a powerful figment escapes the dreams of an even more powerful politician’s son, Daher is pulled headlong into an investigation that traces all the way back to the incident that sent dreams, even nightmares, spilling into our reality. Danny Lore’s title James Bond: Big Things (co-authored with Vita Ayala) is forthcoming in Sept. Vault $17.99.
Black AF: America’s Sweetheart
by Kwanza Osajyefo, illus. by Jennifer Johnson and Sho Murase
Eli Franklin is a 15-year-old girl living in Montana—and the most powerful person on the planet. In the aftermath of the world learning that only black people have superpowers, Eli makes her debut as the superhero Good Girl, on a mission to help people and quell the fear of empowered blacks. When a super-terrorist threatens to take everything away, will donning a patriotic costume be enough for her to find acceptance? Other works by Osajyefo include Black Volume 1 and Ignited: Triggered. Black [af]: Widows & Orphans is forthcoming. Black Mask Comics $9.99.
Brown Baby Lullaby
by Tameka Fryer Brown, illus. by A.G. Ford
With Spanish words sprinkled throughout and featuring warm art by NYT bestselling and NAACP Award-winning illustrator A.G. Ford. From sunset to bedtime, two brown-skinned parents lovingly care for their beautiful brown baby: first, they play outside, then it is time for dinner and a bath, and finally a warm snuggle before bed. Tameka Fryer Brown’s picture books include Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day and My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood. A.G. Ford has over 30 published books for children. Farrar, Straus & Giroux BYR $16.99. Ages 2-6.
by Mechal Renee Roe
Boys will love seeing reflections of themselves in this rhythmic book celebrating a diversity of hip black hairstyles. From a ‘fro-hawk to mini-twists and crisp cornrows, boys and their cool, natural hair are celebrated in this read-together picture book. Illustrations of boys with cool curls, waves, and afros grace each page, accompanied by a positive call-and-response affirmation that will make kids cheer. Also by Roe: Happy Hair (author/illustrator) and Superheroes are Everywhere (illustrator). I Love Being Me is forthcoming in Dec. Doubleday BYR $16.99. Ages 3-7.
by Lupita Nyong’o, illus. by Vashti Harrison
Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family or her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything. In this debut picture book, Lupita Nyong’o creates a heartwarming story about colorism and self-esteem. Other books from Vashti Harrison: author/illustrator of Little Leaders/Dreamers/Legends series; illustrator of Hair Love, Cece Loves Science, and Festival of Colors. Simon & Schuster BYR $17.99. Ages 4-7.
Tiara’s Hat Parade
by Kelly Starling Lyons, illus. by Nicole Tadgell
Tiara has a gift for storytelling; her momma has a gift for making hats. When a new store opens that sells cheaper hats, Momma has to set her dreams aside, but Tiara has an idea for helping Momma’s dreams come true again. Author Kelly Starling Lyons grew up in Pittsburgh. She is the award-winning author of several books for children including Ellen’s Broom, a Coretta Scott King illustrator award book, Hope’s Gift, and One More Dino on the Floor. Nicole Tadgell is the award-winning illustrator of more than twenty picture books. Albert Whitman & Co. $16.99. Ages 4-7.
My Rainy Day Rocket Ship
by Markette Sheppard, illus. by Charly Palmer
A stormy afternoon is no match for this little dreamer, who uses everyday household items—a rocket chair, a cardboard box—and a super-duper imagination to whip up a trip around the universe. My Rainy Day Rocket Ship is a salute to the imagination of Black boys who use their minds to transform the mundane into the extraordinary. Also don’t miss Sheppard’s What is Light?. Among the books that Charly Palmer has illustrated are There’s a Dragon in My Closet and Mama Africa. Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster BYR $17.99. Ages 4-8.
Just Like a Mama
by Alice Faye Duncan, illus. by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
Celebrate the heart connection between adopted children and the forever families who welcome them with unconditional love in this powerful picture book from the author of Honey Baby Sugar Child. Duncan’s picture books include biographies of Black artists and moments in American History seldom told. She also writes lyrical stories that celebrate the sustaining power of love between a mother and child. Charnelle Pinkney Barlow is a Georgia-based illustrator and surface designer. Denene Millner Books/ Simon & Schuster BYR $17.99. Ages 4-8.
Bedtime for Sweet Creatures
by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon
It’s bedtime. But Mommy’s little one is not sleepy. / He growls like a bear, he questions like an owl, he tosses his mane like a lion. He hunts for water like a sly wolf, and hides like a snake. Mommy needs to wrangle her sweet creature in bed so that the whole family can sleep. From tigers to squirrels to snakes, the little boy dodges around his bedtime until he is tired enough to finally sleep. His imaginative animal friends eventually join him in curling up for the night. Grimes’ many works include Garvey’s Choice, What is Goodbye?, Bronx Masquerade, and Jazmin’s Notebook. Zunon has illustrated several books, including As Big as the Sky, and Martha and the Slave Catchers. She wrote and illustrated Grandpa Cacao. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky $17.99. Ages 4-8.
Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie Starring Indigo Blume
by Kwame Alexander, illus. by Tim Bowers
On the eve of singing at a festival, Indigo Blume has stage fright. That night, she finds herself in a dream world with the characters of her favorite book, Acoustic Rooster and his Barnyard Band, who invite Indigo to join the group. But then a storm destroys their barn. Can Indigo rally the band to save their home? And will she find her voice in time for the festival? Kwame Alexander is the NYT bestselling author of 32 books, including The Undefeated, How to Read a Book, The Write Thing, Swing, Rebound, and The Crossover. Sleeping Bear $16.99. Ages 5-8.
Kids, Tweens, and Teens
Ways to Make Sunshine
by Renée Watson, illus. by Nina Mata
Ryan Hart has a lot on her mind. Her dad has a new job, but money is tight. That means changes, like selling their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But Ryan is a girl who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. Acclaimed author Renée Watson writes her own version of Ramona Quimby, one starring a Black girl and her family, in this start to a charming new series. Read Watson’s other books including Some Places More Than Others, Piecing Me Together, This Side of Home, Watch Us Rise, and Betty Before X. Bloomsbury $16.99. Ages 8-11.
by Nic Stone
How to Go on an Unplanned Road Trip with Grandma: 1) Grab your prepacked suitcase from the cancelled spring break trip. 2) Fasten Your Seatbelt. 3) Use G’ma’s Green Book—it holds history, memories, and the way home. Set against the segregation history of the American South, an 11-year-old boy discovers the world hasn’t always been a welcoming place, and things aren’t always what they seem—G’ma included. Don’t miss Nic Stone’s YA novels too: Dear Martin, Odd One Out, and Jackpot. Dear Justyce is coming in Sept. Crown BYR $16.99. Ages 8-12.
The Forgotten Girl
by India Hill Brown
When eleven-year-old Iris and her friend Daniel sneak out to make snow angels, they were not expecting to raise the ghost of young Avery Moore. Bringing to light the abandoned black cemetery seems like the perfect way to help Avery get the recognition she craves, so she and Daniel research the area and become determined to restore the grave and have proper respect paid to Avery and the others buried there. But they have awakened a jealous ghost, who is searching for a best friend forever—no matter the cost. Scholastic $16.99. Ages 8-12.
Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice
by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood, illus. by Theodore Taylor
Woke is a collection of poems by women that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to speaking out. With bright, emotional art, kids will be inspired to create their own art and poems to express how they see justice and injustice. Browne has published several poetry collections and books, including Black Girl Magic, Kissing Caskets, Redbone, and Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out Online. Roaring Brook $18.99. Ages 8-12.
by Jacqueline Woodson
In this novel by the National Book Award winner of Brown Girl Dreaming, six kids have to meet for a weekly chat. In safety, they talk about everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives. Woodson writes books for all ages. Her newest titles include Red at the Bone (adults) and The Day You Begin (picture book). Nancy Paulsen $17.99. Ages 10-13.
You Should See Me in a Crown
by Leah Johnson
Becky Albertalli meets Jenny Han in a smart, hilarious, own voices rom-com. Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, and too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed town. But Liz has a plan: attend an elite college and become a doctor. When financial aid falls through, Liz turns to her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. The only thing that makes it bearable is the new girl, Mack. But Mack is also running for queen. This is Johnson’s debut YA novel. Rise to the Sun is due out in 2021. Scholastic $17.99. Ages 12+.
When You Were Everything
by Ashley Woodfolk
It’s been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship imploded. Now Cleo wants to erase every memory that tethers her to her ex-best friend. But pretending Layla doesn’t exist isn’t easy, especially after she’s assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Alternating between time lines of Then and Now, When You Were Everything blends past and present into an emotional story about the beauty of self-forgiveness, the promise of new beginnings, and the courage it takes to remain open to love. Woodfolk also wrote The Beauty That Remains. Delacorte $17.99. Ages 14+.
More Kids and YA Titles
The Last Mirror on the Left by Lamar Giles
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker
Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany Jackson
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred Taylor
A Song Below Water by Bethany Morrow
Opposite of Always
by Justin Reynolds
When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, and Kate wins them over too. But then Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the moment they first meet. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. This is Justin Reynolds’ debut novel; Early Departures is forthcoming in Sept. Katherine Tegen $11.99.
Punching the Air
by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. Suddenly, at 16 years old, Amal is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. Zoboi’s other books include American Street, Pride, and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich. Salaam is a prison reform activist and one of the Exonerated Five. This book is inspired by his story. Balzer & Bray/Harperteen $19.99. Avail. 9/1
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
by Roseanne A. Brown
The first in a fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore. For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to start a new life. But when a spirit abducts his sister, Malik strikes a deal to kill the crown princess Karina for her freedom. Meanwhile, Karina’s mother has been assassinated, and Karina decides to resurrect her through magic requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition. This is Roseanne Brown’s debut novel. Balzer & Bray/Harperteen $18.99.
Clap When You Land
by Elizabeth Acevedo
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time at the airport are crowds of crying people. In New York City, Yahaira Rios’s mother tells her that her father has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the girls face a new reality in which their father is dead. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything, they learn of each other. Acevedo’s other books include Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths, The Poet X, and With The Fire On High. Quill Tree $18.99.
Felix Ever After
by Kacen Callender
Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s aware of the irony. Though he is proud of his identity, Felix also fears he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to get his own happily-ever-after. When an anonymous student sends transphobic messages—after posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix wants revenge. But instead, he ends up in a quasi-love triangle. Kacen Callender is also the author of This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story and Hurricane Child. Balzer & Bray/Harperteen $18.99.
by Justina Ireland
The sequel to the New York Times bestselling epic Dread Nation is an unforgettable journey of revenge and salvation across a divided America. After the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene hoped her life would get simpler: Get out of town, stay alive, and head west to California to find her mother. But nothing is easy when you’re a girl trained in putting down the restless dead in 1880s America. Justina Ireland also wrote Vengeance Bound, Promise of Shadows, and the Star Wars novel Lando’s Luck. Balzer & Bray/Harperteen $18.99.
The Voting Booth
by Brandy Colbert
Marva has always been driven to make a difference, and what better way than to vote in her first election? Duke just wants to get voting over with in time for his band’s gig. Only problem? Duke can’t vote. When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. And that’s how their whirlwind day—and deeper connection—begins. Brandy Colbert is the award-winning author of Little & Lion, Pointe, Finding Yvonne, and The Revolution of Birdie Randolph. Disney-Hyperion $18.99.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
This reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. Jason Reynolds is the award-winning author of many books, including When I Was the Greatest, The Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series, Look Both Ways, and Long Way Down. Read about Ibram X. Kendi and his book How to be an Antiracist, on page 8 of this newsletter. Little, Brown BYR $18.99.
I Am Dance: Words and Images of the Black Dancer
by Hal Banfield
Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Hal Banfield brings this photographic series to life in the pages of his debut book. Capturing the grace, beauty, and strength of black dancers in motion, I Am Dance shines a spotlight on dancers from the concert to the commercial world of dance, with intimate stories from dancers about the space they hold in the world of dance, what dance means to them primarily, and what being a dancer of color represents to them, especially. Literary Revolutionary $60.
A Black Women’s History of the United States
by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
Two award-winning historians offer a vibrant history that emphasizes the stories of African American women to show how they have always been instrumental in shaping our country, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today. Daina Ramey Berry is the author or co-editor of several books, including The Price for Their Pound of Flesh. Kali Nicole Gross’s previous books include Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso. Beacon $27.95.
by Haben Girma
Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law is the story of Haben Girma, the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, and her journey from isolation to the world stage. Spending childhood summers in Eritrea, she found strength in her parents’ refugee story, and left to travel the world. Defining disability as an opportunity for innovation, Haben built a school in Mali, climbed an Alaskan iceberg, and met with President Obama. She now uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities. Twelve $27.
Black Girl Baking
by Jerrelle Guy
In Black Girl Baking, Jerrelle Guy leads you on a baking journey, retelling and reinventing food memories while using ingredients like whole flours and vegan alternatives that make her feel connected to the person she has become. Each recipe tells a story: Orange Peel Pound Cake brings back memories of eating oranges at Big Ma’s house, Rosketti cookies reimagine the treats her mother ate growing up in Guam, and Plaited Dukkah Bread parallels the braids worked into her hair as a child. Follow her food blog at chocolateforbasil.com. Page Street $21.99.
We Got This
by Cornelius Minor
While challenging the teacher as hero trope, We Got This.: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be shows how authentically listening to kids is the closest thing to a superpower that we have. Cornelius identifies tools, attributes, and strategies that can augment our listening. “We cannot guarantee outcomes, but we can guarantee access” Cornelius writes. “We can ensure that everyone gets a shot. In this book we get to do that. Together. Consider this book a manual for how to begin that brilliantly messy work. We got this.” Heinemann $25.63.
I Don’t Want to Die Poor
by Michael Arceneaux
Michael Arceneaux has never shied away from discussing his struggles with debt, but now he reveals the impact it has on his life—how he dates; how he seeks medical care; and how he has dealt with his “dream” turning into a nightmare as one bad decision threatens all that he’s earned. This unforgettable and relatable essay collection is an examination about what it’s like leading a life that often feels out of your control. But in Michael’s joyful voice, he will make you laugh and remind you that you’re not alone in this often intimidating journey. Also don’t miss Arceneaux’s I Can’t Date Jesus. Atria $17.
by Roxanne Gay
NYT bestselling author Roxane Gay writes with intimacy about food and bodies, using her struggles to explore shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. In Hunger: A Memoir of My Body, she casts an eye on her past and present—including the act of violence that was a turning point in her young life. More by Roxane Gay: story collections Difficult Women and Ayiti; the novel An Untamed State; the essay collection Bad Feminist; and several comic books in Marvel’s Black Panther: World of Wakanda series. The Sacrifice of Darkness is forthcoming in Oct. Harper Perennial $16.99.
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America
edited by Ibi Zoboi
Edited by National Book Award finalist Zoboi and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today, this volume contains captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America. Contributors include Ibi Zoboi, Tracey Baptiste, Coe Booth, Dhonielle Clayton, Brandy Colbert, Jay Coles, Lamar Giles, Leah Henderson, Justina Ireland, Varian Johnson, Kekla Magoon, Tochi Onyebuchi, Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, Liara Tamani, Renée Watson, and Rita Williams-Garcia. Balzer & Bray/Harperteen $17.99.
How to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society. Kendi is the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America; The Black Campus Movement; and the board book Antiracist Baby. One World $27.
So You Want to Talk about Race
by Ijeoma Oluo
Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is difficult to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend? Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality to “model minorities” in an attempt to make honest conversations about race and racism possible. Her book Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America is forthcoming in Dec. Seal $16.99.
Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In a work that pivots from American history and ideals to intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a powerful framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly offers a transcendent vision for a way forward. Coates also wrote the novel The Water Dancer, the memoir We Were Eight Years in Power, and several graphic novels for the Marvel universe. One World $26.
More Than Enough
by Elaine Welteroth
Part-manifesto, part-memoir, More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are is an exploration of what it means to come into your own—on your own terms. Elaine Welteroth is a bestselling author, award-winning journalist, producer, and former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. She has been credited for reinventing the magazine as the go-to source for socially conscious young people. She has also taken on the role of cultural ambassador for Michelle Obama’s organization When We All Vote, an initiative that aims to increase voter turnout. Penguin $17.
Our Time is Now
by Stacey Abrams
Celebrated national leader and bestselling author Stacey Abrams offers a blueprint to end voter suppression, empower our citizens, and take back our country. Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America compellingly argues for the importance of robust voter protections, an elevation of identity politics, engagement in the census, and a return to moral international leadership. Also by Abrams: Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change. Henry Holt & Co. $27.99.
I’m Still Here
by Austin Channing Brown
Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime navigating this racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice inclusion. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness is her compelling memoir. Convergent $25.
My Vanishing Country
by Bakari Sellers
What J. D. Vance did for Appalachia with Hillbilly Elegy, CNN analyst and one of the youngest state representatives in South Carolina history Bakari Sellers does for the rural South, in this important book that illuminates the lives of America’s forgotten black working-class men and women. Part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis, My Vanishing Country journeys through the South’s past, present, and future, awakening readers to the other “Forgotten Men & Women,” who the media seldom acknowledges. Amistad $26.99.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Teaching for Black Lives ed. by Dyan Watson
Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
One Person, No Vote by Carol Anderson
The Condemnation of Blackness by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Breathe: a Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry
Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Heavy by Kiese Laymon
When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community by Mia Birdsong
Sources: This list was curated by Matchbook Marketing with the help of many wonderful sources, but especially The Brown Bookshelf, Kizzy’s Books and More, African American Literature Book Club, NAACP Image Awards, and Diva Deluxe Design.