For the latest edition of Birdies Book Club, we’re honoring and celebrating Black History Month with Team Birdies’ list of 10 amazing books written by Black female authors both past and present. These seminal works penned by powerful voices—from fiction to memoir to play—continue to have lasting impact on readers. And while our roundup barely scratches the surface of great literature by incredible Black women writers, we hope you’ll find both old and new books to add to your reading list. We’ve also included links to black-owned bookstores around the country where you can shop these titles and support independent businesses.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Why We Love It: With effortlessly lyrical prose, Zora Neale Hurston explores topics of womanhood, independence, and love. It is a captivating love story that not only highlights romantic love, but most importantly, celebrates love for oneself.
Buy It From: Revolution Books | Harlem, NY
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Why We Love It: This book beautifully weaves a tale across generations, across continents, and across families in a format that reads like a collection of short stories. Gyasi’s characters are complex and unforgettable, written with great emotional depth and detail.
Buy It From: Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery | Chicago, IL
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Why We Love It: It’s a heartbreaking story with a hopeful ending, involving deeply layered characters and the power of female bonds in creating a strong sense of self to overcome life’s worst injustices and oppression.
Buy It From: Brave + Kind Bookshop | Decatur, GA
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Why We Love It: Bennett’s multi-generational family saga is thoroughly thought-provoking. This is a story that follows identical twins’ diverging paths in life while artfully examining issues of racial identity and privilege.
Buy It From: Eso Won Books | Los Angeles, CA
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Why We Love It: Angelou’s debut memoir takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions that is both incredibly eye-opening and inspirational.
Buy It From: Marcus Books | Oakland, CA
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Why We Love It: Americanah is a brave and vivid love story that addresses topics of race, immigration, interracial relationships, loss of cultural identity, and the politics of hair.
Buy It From: Harriett’s Bookshop | Philadelphia, PA
Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Why We Love It: This is a story from the point of view of an immigrant family determined to make it in NYC, told in parallel with the story of a typical American family that appears to have it all. What we come to see is that, in reality, it’s the family chasing the dream that is truly rich.
Buy It From: The Lit. Bar: Bookstore & Chill | Bronx, NY
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Why We Love It: Toni Morisson’s debut novel, The Bluest Eye, tells a heart-wrenching story about a young woman living through the pain of racism, poverty, and internalized self-hatred. As always, Morrison’s writing is breathtakingly poetic and her observations profound.
Buy It From: Mahogany Books | Washington, D.C.
Peace from Broken Pieces by Iyanla Vanzant
Why We Love It: Vanzant goes into great details about the traumas she has experienced in a way that is both matter-of-fact and soul touching. What’s most inspiring is how she kept putting one foot in front of the other with every tragedy she faced. She encourages you to sit in whatever you have going on and feel it, but she leaves no excuse to stay there in the pain. We must persevere.
Buy It From: Loyalty Bookstores | Washington, D.C.
A Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Why We Love It: A story about the strength of one family as they chase the American dream in the face of racism, this landmark play has become an enduring classic that highlights issues still relevant today.
Buy It From: 57th Street Books | Chicago, IL
We hope you feel inspired to add some of these amazing titles to your reading list. And while her books aren’t out yet, we also wanted to recommend pre-ordering youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman’s special edition of her inaugural poem The Hill We Climb (March 30) and upcoming collection of poetry The Hill We Climb and Other Poems (September 21). Happy reading!
Interested in past book club recommendations? Check out 4 Books The Birdies Team Is Reading Right Now | January 2021 Edition