Black History Month rolls around every October and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about a history of our country that we might have not seen in school.
I know for me, the full extent of Black History Month coverage in school were a few lessons on slavery that left the whole class making not very subtle glances in my direction.
But there’s more to Black History than the horrors of the slave trade.
I’ve gathered a list of 10 of the books I would recommend you reach for this month (some fiction too!) in case you find yourself struggling to pick out one to read.
What White People Can Do Next by Emma Dabiri
At just 176 pages, this book will not take you forever to read. It’s quite compact but deals with some important history.
It also answers a question I often hear, once it’s acknowledged that racism is a thing, what can white people do?
There are options other than silence and sharing Instagram posts to your story, and Emma Dabiri does an excellent job of highlighting them.
This is a book I would absolutely recommend to everyone I meet, at the time of writing it’s just £6 on Amazon.
100 Great Black Britons by Patrick Vernon
This book is brilliant, it brings attention to 100 Black Britons and the impact that they’ve had on our history.
If you are looking for a good starting point for positive Black history this month then this is it.
Mixed/Other: Explorations of Multiraciality in Modern Britain by Natalie Morris
Although people of mixed race backgrounds are often considered to be Black, there are aspects of life that are unique to those who identify in this way.
This book offers insight into the fastest growing racial group in the UK, it’s definitely worth a read.
This is aimed at children, but I think can be enjoyed by anyone trying to educate themselves more on Black History.
Taking us from prehistory to now, it’s a great way of getting a better grasp of more history than you’ll have learned at school.
20 Black women writers fill up the pages of this book, there’s an interesting range of essays that explore various areas.
If you find yourself asking ‘what’s next?’, here are ‘funny, touching and ultimately insightful perspectives on the question’.
Jada Jones is one of The Review Club’s expert reviewers.
The Reviews Club brings together the UK’s biggest experts to review products and services in an honest and in-depth manner.
She specialises in books, food (excluding dairy – so she knows a lot of the best vegan alternatives), drinks and homeware.
You can find her over on @JadaJonesTweets where she is likely to be excitedly chirping about a book she read and is often up for a chat about any of her reviews.
Now, for those of you who want to read more fiction by Black authors this Black History Month – I’ve not forgotten about you.
We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza
Riley and Jen have been best friends for as long as they can remember, while Riley is black and Jen is white it’s never been something that they’ve paid much attention to.
But then Jen’s husband, a Philadelphia police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
This changes everything, the two women find themselves on different sides for the first time.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
This book burst onto the scene and made a splash last year, being longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and named Book of the Year by a number of newspapers and magazines.
Such a Fun Age follows Emira Tucker, a young black babysitter, who is accused of kidnapping the white toddler that she is watching one night as they pop into a nearby supermarket.
Her boss and mother of the toddler, Alix Chamberlain, resolves to make it right.
This offers an insightful social commentary on what family means, the nature of transactional relationships and what exactly it means to be a ‘grown up’.
The Returnees by Elizabeth Okoh
Following a bad breakup, Osayuki Isahosa decides it’s time to leave London behind and return to Lagos, Nigeria.
She’s accepted a Head of PR position in the fashion industry there, on her flight she meets Cynthia Okoye who is far too relaxed and Kian Bajo who decided to leave London to make it big as an Afrobeat star.
Their chance meeting at the Milan airport for a connecting flight changes the course of their lives forever.
This book is quite different to the types of stories we often see presented in Black fiction as it is not centred around police brutality – an great funny read.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Nella Rogers is 26 and painfully aware that she is the only Black employee at Wagner Books.
When Harlem-raised Hazel joins the team, Nella is thrilled. But not for long as she quickly starts finding hostile notes instructing her to leave.
This dynamic thriller offers an insightful commentary while keeping you on the edge of your seat.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
This West African-inspired fantasy has been massively popular since its 2018 release.
Tomi Adeyemi’s fantasy novel is different to a lot of the fantasy currently on the market.
Zélie rides lions instead of horses and colourism is discussed in between the pages of this epic adventure.
It’s currently in development for a film with Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions and the team behind Twilight and The Fault In Our Stars producing it.