October is Black History Month – officially recognised by the US government in 1976, and first celebrated in the UK in 1987.

Of course, awareness, recognition, and respect of the black experience should be observed all year round, but Black History Month gives us the opportunity to place a focus on and recognise the contribution and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage, as well as learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes. To mark this month, we’ve decided to share with you five books by black authors which are widely acclaimed for helping others to gain awareness and understanding of the black experience from important moments of history, and today.


Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World – Layla F. Saad (2020)

Me and White Supremacy shows readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop inflicting damage on people of colour, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. Layla Saad started an Instagram challenge called #MeAndWhiteSupremacy, which became incredibly widespread. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviours, big and small. Thousands of people participated, and over 90,000 people downloaded the book.

This book focuses on bringing awareness and moving towards action and change.


The Other Side – Jacqueline Woodson (2001)

Recommended for children aged 5-9

The fence behind Clover’s house marks the town line that separates black people from white people. Clover’s mother warns her that it isn’t safe to cross the fence, but Clover is curious to meet Anna, the white girl who lives on the other side. The two girls work around the rules of segregation and form an unlikely friendship by sitting together on top of the fence.

The Other Side shows children how racism and prejudice cannot overcome a friendship between two people of different cultures.


The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison (1970)

Pecola Breedlove longs for blonde hair and blue eyes, so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blonde, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, just after the end of the Great Depression, the marigolds in her garden will not bloom, and her wish will not come true.

The Bluest Eye asks vital questions about race, class, gender and beauty, and is one of Toni Morrison’s most popular works.

“The Bluest Eye, which was published fifty years ago, cut a new path through the American literary landscape by placing black girls at the center of the story.” – The New Yorker

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi (2016)

Effia and Esi are two sisters with two very different destinies: one sold into slavery, one a slave trader’s wife.

The consequences of their fate continue to affect the generations that follow. As each chapter introduces a new descendant, alternating between Effia’s and Esi’s bloodline right up to the present day, a ‘chasm of experience’ and the differing legacies of chance are brought to light.

Gyasi takes us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.” – Goodreads


Four Hundred Souls – Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain (2021)

Four Hundred Souls is an epoch-defining history of African America, the first to appear in a generation, told by ninety leading Black voices.

The story begins with the arrival of twenty Ndongo people on the shores of the first British colony in mainland America in 1619. In eighty chronological chapters, each by a different author and spanning five years, the book charts the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans to the present – a journey defined by oppression, visionary struggles and stunning achievements.

Through its diversity of perspectives the book shows that to be African American means many different things and demonstrates the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness.



What did you think?

Did you read any of the recommended books? If so, send your review to and let us know your thoughts!

Mailing List

whois: Andy White Freelance WordPress Developer London