Favorite Fridays Black Voices Read Woke

Favorite Fridays highlight media the HCDL staff recommend. Find your next favorite book, audiobook, movie, TV show, magazine, etc., here every Friday—and share your own favorites in the weekly posts’ comments!

This week marks the start of the Read Woke Challenge, which runs October 1 through November 30. Today we’ll be sharing the book list for the Black Voices category— keep an eye out for the ones that our staff particularly recommend!

For resources and information on the Black Lives Matter movement, visit our Black Lives Matter post from June.

Have you read any of these titles? Do you recommend any not listed? Share with us in the comments!

Black Voices Fiction

  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones * Staff Choice *
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby | Hoopla*

    Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control.

    *Hoopla is available to Howell library district residents only.

  • American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    Its 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence 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 given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes.

  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby | Hoopla*

    Girl, Woman, Other is a celebration of the diversity of Black British experience. Moving, hopeful, and inventive, this extraordinary novel is a vivid portrait of the state of contemporary Britain and the legacy of Britain’s colonial history in Africa and the Caribbean, reminding us of everything that connects us to our neighbors, even in times when we are encouraged to be split apart.

    *Hoopla is available to Howell library district residents only.

  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off into comfort and privilege, while her sister Esi will be imprisoned, shipped off to America, and sold into slavery. Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, this novel moves through histories and geographies, capturing the troubled spirit of our own nation.

  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler * Staff Choice * 
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby | Hoopla*

    The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred is a combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young white man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given.

    *Hoopla is available to Howell library district residents only.

  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    Kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood Curtis is about to enroll in the local black college in 1960s Florida. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South, one mistake is enough to destroy the future and Elwood is sentenced to the Nickel Academy, a grotesque chamber of horrors masquerading as a juvenile reformatory. Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children.

  • Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality, but their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.

  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. When her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is accused of kidnapping two-year-old Briar their local high-end supermarket, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, this is a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing.

  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates * Staff Choice *
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage but he is also gifted with a mysterious power. When Hiram almost drowns, he is saved from the depths by a force he doesn’t understand. So begins Hiram’s unexpected journey into the covert war on slavery, from the corrupt grandeur of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. All Hiram wants is to free the family he left behindbut to do so, he must first master his magical gift and reconstruct the story of his greatest loss.

Black Voices Nonfiction

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates * Staff Choice *
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son that clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi * Staff Choice *
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. How to Be an Antiracist is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.

  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    The author’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when her parents told her they named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Brown highlights how white middle-class evangelicalism has participated in the rise of racial hostility, and encourages the reader to confront apathy and recognize God’s ongoing work in the world.

  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    An unforgettable true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to end mass incarceration in America, Just Mercy tells the story of Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson’s nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

  • March Trilogy by John Lewis
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby | Hoopla*

    This graphic novel trilogy is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

    *Hoopla is available to Howell library district residents only.

  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby | Hoopla*

    When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #meandwhitesupremacy, she never predicted it would become a cultural movement. She was looking for truth, and she got it… From that project came Me and White Supremacy, which teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.

    *Hoopla is available to Howell library district residents only.

  • New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander * Staff Choice *
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby | Hoopla*

    Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate statusmuch like their grandparents before them. Former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it.

    *Hoopla is available to Howell library district residents only.

  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby | Hoopla*

    A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today’s racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide, So You Want to Talk About Race is a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

    *Hoopla is available to Howell library district residents only.

  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. Based on new data, official records, and interviews with more than a thousand people, this definitive and vividly dramatic account shows how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
    HCDL Catalog | Overdrive/Libby

    Examining everything from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, from whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge, and counter racism.

* Adapted from the summaries provided by the publishers