A selection of significant titles of African American interest for adults and young readers published between September 2017 and March 2018.
Sing, Unburied, Sing (Sept., $26) by Jesmyn Ward. Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction, Ward’s novel probes the rural American South, history and racism through troubled lives of a multiracial American family.
Five-Carat Soul (Sept., $27) James McBride. The author of the 2013 National Book Award winning novel, The Good Lord Bird, returns with a brilliant collection of short stories that navigate race, war, masculinity and freedom.
The Stone Sky (Aug., $16.99) by N.K. Jemisin. The concluding novel of The Broken Earth series, Jemisin’s acclaimed post apocalyptic science fiction trilogy.
To Funk and Die in L.A. (Sept., $24.95) by Nelson George. The fourth book in the D Hunter crime series brings the ex-bodyguard to L.A. after his grandfather, a grocery store owner, is shot dead in a drive-by shooting.
Speak No Evil (March, $29.99) by Uzodinma Iweala. This novel is the story of Niru, a high school track star headed to Harvard. Raised by two conservative Nigerian parents in Washington D.C., Niru has it all, except for one thing: he’s gay–an unforgiveable abomination to his parents.
The Goddess of Mtwara and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2017 (Nov., paper $16.95). An anthology collecting 17 stories awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing including fiction by such authors as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Helon Habila, Sefi Atta, Leslie Nneka Arimah and others.
Bluebird, Bluebird (Sept., $26) by Attica Locke. In this thriller by an Edgar award winning author, a black Texas Ranger must return to East Texas to investigate two murders in a story that examines the law and how it treats black people.
House of Rougeaux (April, $26.95) by Jenny Jaeckel. An epic family drama that begins in the slave quarters of a Caribbean sugar plantation, and finds its way to a community of free Afro-Canadians in a story that combines multiple genres and probes into gender, race, and sexuality over two centuries.
We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy (Oct., $) Ta-Nehisi Coates. A collection of essays by Coates, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction, in response to the book’s title—a lament by Reconstruction black politicians deposed by white supremacists—that explores today’s white backlash to the election of the first black president.
Never Stop: A Memoir (Sept., $17) by Simba Sana. The personal story of Sana, born Bernard Sutton, who grew up poor in Washington DC, but managed to go to college and later launch Karibu Books, one of the most successful, albeit short-lived, black owned bookselling ventures ever.
We Matter: Athletes and Activism (February, $27.95) by Etan Thomas. Essays along with interviews with professional athletes by a former NBA star on sports and politics, including talks with such stars as Carmelo Anthony, Steve Kerr, Swin Cash, Laila Ali, and many more.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Nov., $27) by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Passionate essays on white privilege, black history and the fallacy of meritocracy that began as a blog post aimed at white folks that deny the existence of structural racism.
Cambridge University Press
The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History (Oct., $24.32) by Anne C. Bailey. In this landmark and moving academic work Bailey closely examines the March 1859 auction of more than 400 slaves from the Butler Plantation estates—considered the largest slave auction in US history—analyzing the lives of the slave families before, during after the auction.
Encyclopedia of Black Comics (Sept., $23.95) by Sheena C. Howard. A comprehensive reference to more than 100 African American cartoonists, writers, inkers, historians and more with a foreword by Henry Louis Gates and an afterword by acclaimed comics writer Christopher Priest.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Ali: A Life (Oct., $30) by Jonathan Eig. The author conducted more than 500 interviews—including Ali’s three wives, FBI files, and newly discovered recordings—to produce the first unauthorized biography of the great Muhammad Ali.
100 Amazing Facts About The Negro (Oct., $40) by Henry Louis Gates. A contemporary homage and corrective to a similar 1934 populist historical work by self-educated black historian J. A. Rogers, bolstered by Gate’s enthusiasm and erudition.
Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poems (Nov., $24) by Ntozake Shange. A collection of new and selected poems in English and Spanish that addresses the acclaimed playwright’s life as a black feminist artist.
City Lights Publishers
Heaven is All Goodbyes (Sept., $15.95) by Tongo Eisen-Martin. A metaphoric vortex of images, free associations and moments of political and spiritual convergence combined with surrealism and blunt materiality.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Silencer: Poems (Sept., $15.99) by Marcus Wicker. Bold, accessible and driven by hip hop, Wicker’s poetry addresses race, class, and the American dream from the anxious point of view of a black man.
Univ. of Nebraska Press
Think of Lampedusa (Oct., $15.95) by Josué Guébo. From the press’s African Poetry Book Series, a collection of serial poems about a 2013 shipwreck that killed 366 Africans attempting to secretly migrate to an Italian island.
Henry Holt Books For Young Readers
Children of Blood and Bone (March, $18.99) by Tomi Adeyemi. In this West African inspired tale of a fantasy world stripped of magic by an oppressive monarchy, a courageous young girl and a rogue prince fight to bring enchantment back to the world.
Long Way Down (Oct., $17.99) by Jason Reynolds. Written entirely in verse (and longlisted for this year’s National Book Award), this novel recounts the time it takes (and the ghosts he encounters on each passing floor) for a young man with a gun to take an elevator to the street to kill the man who killed his brother.
Sparrow (Oct., $17.99) by Sarah Moon. Played out across a cast of characters that features different races and people of different sexual orientations, this novel showcases a young African American girl who imagines herself flying when she really needs to cope.
Lee and Low/Tu Books
I Am Alfonso Jones (Oct, $18.95) by Tony Media with art by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings. A complex and inspirational graphic novel aimed at young adults that manages to probe the issues surrounding police brutality and Black Lives Matter while celebrating the timeless ability of literature to transcend death.
What is Hip Hop? (Sept., $15.95) by Eric Morse with art by Anny Yi. Using rhyme and clay figures Morse and Yi have produced a playful and encyclopedic picture book history of Hip Hop movement and its stars star from DJ Kool Herc and Queen Latifah to Kanye and Missy Elliott.
Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone (December, $16.99) by Alice Brière-Haquet with art by Bruno Liance. Written as a lullaby, this childen’s picture book recounts the life of the singer, composer, pianist, jazz musician and civil rights activist from her youth in the segregated south to her brilliant performing career.