People are marching against racism and reading about it, too. As protests spread across the United States and beyond, demand for books on race and anti-racism has internationally soared. Almost all of the titles topping recent best-seller lists take on these topics, including by Ibram X. Kendi, which has sold out on Amazon. This has also pointed many towards independent booksellers, and Black-owned bookstore owners in particular .
Popular posts on social media have proposed anti-racist reading lists; see the by , the only Black-owned bookstore in Manhattan. But considering the potential for progress, experts agree that an important but underlooked aspect of curating anti-racist reading lists is rounding out the selection with books across genres. Beyond the more well-known titles, Black booksellers encourage readers to seek out novels and short stories by Black authors that illustrate the diversity of the experience.
With this multitext approach in mind, we’ve highlighted six of our favorite new and forthcoming books written by Black authors that you can buy and pre-order this month from Black-owned bookstores across the nation. From captivating literary fiction on racial identity to social satire on privilege in America, here’s to summer reading that’s as diverse as our world.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers comes a stunning novel about identical African American twins who, as adults, live in two very different worlds. One is a Black woman in the small Louisiana town she once tried to escape. The other “passes” as white in an upper-middle-class California community where she must hide her secret from everyone, including her white husband.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Kelly Reid’s debut novel is a page-turner with relatable characters and a riveting plot. Emira, a 25-year-old Black millennial, is shopping in an upscale grocery store when she is accused of kidnapping the white toddler she’s babysitting. A heated exchange with the security guard ensues—all recorded on video—and leaves the child’s mother, Alix, consumed with (white) guilt. This all-too-familiar instance of racial profiling soon gives way to a funny, fast-paced social satire on privilege in America.
Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West (June 16)
When Ruby’s mother is murdered at their home in Chicago’s South Side, the police dismiss it as “another act of violence in a Black neighborhood.” But for Ruby, the devastating loss leaves her alone with her violent father, and her best friend, Layla, is the only one who understands the danger she is in. As Layla looks for answers, she uncovers a web of lies that have entangled both of their families for decades.
This Is What I Know About Art by Kimberly Drew
Kimberly Drew—the 29-year-old arts writer, curator and activist behind with 271k followers—is adding another title to her résumé: author. Aimed at young adults (but equally excellent reading for all ages), This Is What I Know About Art draws on Drew’s experience through art toward activism. From launching her own Black Contemporary Art Blog in college to making art more accessible to people of color as social media manager for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Drew’s deeply personal narrative reminds us that the art world has space not just for the elite, but for everyone.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend? Just ask Ijeoma Oluo, the New York Times bestselling author whose 2019 book gives readers of all races the language to engage in more constructive, confident conversations about race and racism. Each chapter is framed as a question—those that come up in daily interactions, whether raised explicitly, implicitly or only in our head, which we see pop up on social media, across dinner-tables or at work—plus those we may be too afraid to ask.
Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi (JUNE 16)
Even board books, where current events are not usually a consideration, are reflecting the same social justice trend. Antiracist Baby, by award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi of Stamped from the Beginning, is scheduled to release June 16 and is already status. The fun, informational picture book is a nine-step guide to being anti-racist that children can understand. Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky, it provides a new generation with language they need to create a more equitable world.