World Book Day: These Black Authors Help Us See Ourselves

World Book Day was created specifically to promote the importance of reading for pleasure. As Black folks, we are often pushed to read books that don’t reflect us—our legacy, journey, triumphs or joy. This World Book Day, EBONY encourages folks to find, buy, re-purchase and gift books by Black authors that tell stories and books that you identified with and want shared. Here are a few that we love.

THE LIST

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston


“Janie was the first Black woman that I resonated with after realizing I didn’t want to get married. She just explored a part of her womanhood that I honestly hadn’t seen a lot of women in my family do so and I was forever changed by her journey.”—Melanie Yvette

Just Give Me A Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore i Diiie by Maya Angleou


“Snooping through my big sister’s magazines and books that she’d left behind to go to college, I happened upon this book of poetry; a library book that she fortunately, for me, never returned. With each poem, I could feel, in my soul, a shift in my understanding of being a Black woman. My favorite is No Loser, No Weeper. It’s a little threatening at the end but you get Maya’s point!”—Joicelyn Dingle

The Salt-Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara
“I was introduced to this book my sophomore year of college during a time when I was dealing with grief, and figuring out my purpose/place in the word. The book’s focus on healing through community, reflection and spirituality, really spoke to me. I identified with the need to create language, for myself, that would allow me to name my emotions and experiences. It helped me process a lot during that period in my life.”—Savannah Taylor

See Also

Topaz by Beverly Jenkins

“I used to laugh at my friends who enjoyed Black historical romance novels, saying “I don’t want to read about times when we were even more oppressed”. I was wrong. Jenkins, an African American studies professor, weaves in just enough history to give context and illuminate the injustices we faced but focuses on our joy and triumphs and love…and good ole sex. Best of all, WE always win in her stories. This book is about an independent and spirited journalist, Katherine Love, who finds her true match in a woefully arranged marriage. Her new husband, Dixon Wildhorse, a town’s marshall, is dutiful, witty, loving, fine and has a slow-hand (wink, wink).”—S. Tia Brown

Newsletter

Sign up for the EBONY Newsletter

Newsletter

Sign up for the EBONY Newsletter

When you sign up for the EBONY newsletter, you’ll be the first to know about all the latest news and updates that are important to you. Gain access to exclusive interviews, videos, special events, and product giveaways delivered right to your inbox!