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Staff picks book recommendations for Black History Month.

Black History Month Book Recommendations

Our friends in the USA will be celebrating Black History Month in February. To celebrate, we wanted to share some of the latest 4 and 5 star books by Black authors that our team have been reading. Thanks to Jess and Tanith for the reviews!
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 Recommendations and Reviews

Kindred: The ground-breaking masterpiece
Kindred - Octavia E Butler - ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Such a powerful and complex book of historical and science fiction. Think Outlander, but the time travel is random and you're a black woman in the Antebellum South and you have to save your dumb white ancestor again and again and again. Exciting and horrific, Kindred reveals our painful past with slavery is still palpable today.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Swing Time - Zadie Smith - ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This is an engaging and passionate novel about race, class, friendship and identity. Smith gives us a diverse cast: some headstrong, who strive to change their reality; some, who despite their inane talent, will never make it; and some who don't want more than the life they have. It will make you question where we get our identity, and the power structures that influence it.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
Girl, Woman, Other - Bernadine Evaristo - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A vibrant collection of stories from 12 Black British women of all ages. Overtly intersectional, with great queer representation, this paragon of feminism falls a little short in resolving a larger narrative. It does, however, paint a rich expose of cultural and social issues, whilst showing us we are more alike than different at our cores.

Noughts and Crosses - Malorie Blackman Book Review

Noughts and Crosses - Malorie Blackman - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This was a heart-wrenching story of two individuals falling in love when society deems it unlawful and frowned upon. The writing was addictive with the drama and explosive plot twists of the characters' lives. I found myself routing for Callum and Sephys relationship no matter how doomed it was from the start. The ending broke me and I will be reading more of Blackman's work.

Pet - Awaeke Emenzi Book Review
Pet - Awaeke Emenzi - ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I think this is a great story for younger and older readers about black, trans, and queer people and their journeys. Set in its whimsical and fairytale-like world it's a fun and adventurous read. Pet is a young black trans girl who becomes friends with a mysterious creature as they wander through a futuristic utopia. It's a short, sweet, and heartbreaking story with many metaphors about being a black/trans woman and the daily challenges they face.

The Taking of Jake Livingston - Ryan Douglass Book Review
The Taking of Jake Livingston - Ryan Douglass - ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Jake is one of the only black kids in his school and is struggling to fit in and to make matters worse he can see the dead. This novel is Get out meets The Sixth Sense with an emotional and thrilling punch. You follow Jake through his daily struggles while also fighting off meddling spirits, Jake is relatable and you're on the edge of your seat rooting for him.

Night Crawling - Leila Mottley
Nightcrawling - Leila Mottley - ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Seventeen-year-old Kiara is struggling to make ends meet for her and her brother Marcus in Oakland. Her brother Marcus struggles to keep a job, her family is torn apart due to death and prison sentences, and she has dropped out of high school, and is looking after the 9year old boy next door all while being the main income for her own family. Luckily she finds a job "night crawling" and everything changes for her. I loved the twists and turns that were thrown at Kiara and how she dealt with them, if I were to recommend any book for Black History Month it would be this one!


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