Malcolm X once said that “I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity” — and at Word In Black, we agree. With book bans sweeping the nation, we’re reminded how our ancestors fought and died for the right to read. Nowadays, due to inequities in our school systems, many Black adults struggle with literacy, as do our children. That’s why we’re so committed to reading, and to highlighting the work of Black authors. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, if it tells the story of Black America and sheds light on our experience, we’re reading it — and sharing it with you. 

This book list will be updated periodically, and be sure to follow us on Instagram where we shout out a new Black book every Friday! 

1. Take My Hand – Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s “Take My Hand” tells the story of Civil Townsend, who is just starting her first nursing job in Montgomery, Alabama. The story follows her work with the town and then jumps to the future when she is ready to retire and leave the past behind. But certain stories can’t be forgotten. 

2. It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him – ESPN journalist Justin Tinsley released this deeply reported biography in honor of what would have been Biggie’s 50th birthday. Through interviews with many people in his life, this book offers a new and fresh take on the life of Christopher Wallace.

3. Big Girl – Mecca Jamilah Sullivan’s “Big Girl” follows 8-year-old Malaya as she grows up in 90s-era Harlem. Malaya would much rather eat forbidden street foods with her dad than go to Weight Watchers meetings with her mom. Facing various pressures, she keeps gaining weight until a family tragedy makes her address the true source of her hunger.

4. The Changeling – Following one man’s thrilling journey through an enchanted world to find his wife who has disappeared after seemingly committing an unforgivable act of violence, Victor Lavalle’s “The Changeling” creates a complex world full of magic, love, loss, and mystery. 

5. Rest Is Resistance – From the founder of The Nap Ministry, “Rest Is Resistance” is Tricia Hersey’s manifesto, written to help guide others through breaking free from the grips of grind culture. The book teaches readers that rest is an essential tool in reclaiming power and resisting systemic oppression.