Black History Month Special
Here you will find some old favourites and some new books to fall in love with. We hope you enjoy them...
New for 2022
My Other Husband
Cleo Forsum is a bestselling novelist turned scriptwriter whose TV series, 'The Baking Detective' is a huge success. Writing is all she's ever wanted to do, and baking and murder stories have proved a winning combination. But now she has decided to walk away from it all - including divorcing her husband, Wallace - before her past secrets catch up with her.
As Cleo drafts the final ever episodes of the series, people she knows start getting hurt. And it's soon clear that someone is trying to frame her for murder. She thinks she knows why, but Cleo can't tell the police or prove her innocence. Because then she'd have to confess about her other husband.
A series of terrifying murders. A set of complex lies. And a woman with no way to clear her name.
To Fill A Yellow House
When Kwasi and his family move abruptly from one side of London to the other, he sets out to explore his new home. Escaping the watchful eyes of Ma and Da and his irrepressible Aunties, he discovers the local high street and a hidden river. Back at the yellow house, he spends hours drawing, distracting himself from thoughts of the new school that awaits.
As the years pass, the high street remains a source of fascination for Kwasi. But behind the ever-changing shopfronts, it's a different story. Business is slow and times are getting tougher. Widower Rupert has been trying to hold on to the dreams he and his wife poured into their eclectic charity shop, The Chest of Small Wonders, but now he is close to giving up.
One October night, Kwasi finds himself in trouble and takes refuge in the Chest, and an unexpected friendship begins. As he and Rupert unite to save the shop, they each find a sense of belonging. But old patterns are hard to change, and as tensions around them escalate, difficult choices lie ahead.
Lyrical, witty, moving and timely, To Fill a Yellow House is a story of community, friendship and the power of creativity and connection. It is as vibrant and surprising as the city it is set in and marks the arrival of a bright and bold new talent.
What A Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You
At eighteen years old, Dinah gave away her baby son to the rich couple she worked for before they left Jamaica. They never returned. She never forgot him.
Eighteen years later, a young man comes from the US to Kingston. From the moment she sees him, Dinah never doubts - this is her son.
What happens next will make everyone question what they know and where they belong.
A powerful story of belonging, identity and inheritance, What a Mother's Love Don't Teach You brings together a blazing chorus of voices to evoke Jamaica's ghetto, dance halls, criminal underworld and corrupt politics, at the beating heart of which is a mother's unshakeable love for her son.
The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois
Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
‘Astonishing… A great work infused with love and honesty’ Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple
Immerse yourself in a celebration of Black womanhood and an epic tale of the stories that span generations.
Ailey Pearl Garfield grows up between the City in the north and summers spent in her mother’s small hometown of Chicasetta, Georgia. From an early age, she finds herself in a battle for belonging that’s made all the more difficult by a hurt in her past, as well as the whispers of women―her mother, Belle, her sister, Lydia, and a maternal line reaching back two centuries―that urge Ailey to succeed in their stead.
To come to terms with her identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors―Indigenous, Black, and white―in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story―and the song―of America itself.
Lesley Naa Norle Lokko
Soul Sisters by Lesley Lokko is a rich, intergenerational tale of love, race, power and secrets which centres on the lifelong friendship between two women: Scottish Jen McFadden and South African-born Kemisa Mashabane, known to her friends as Kemi.
Since childhood, Jen and Kemi have lived like sisters in the McFadden family home in Edinburgh, brought together by a shared family history which stretches back generations. Kemi was educated in Britain alongside Jen and the girls could not be closer; nor could they be more different in the paths they take in life. But the ties that bind them are strong and complicated, and a dark family secret exists in their joint history.
Solam Rhoyi is from South Africa’s black political elite. Handsome, charismatic, charming, and a successful young banker, he meets both Kemi and Jen on a trip to London and sweeps them off their feet. Partly influenced by her interest in Solam, and partly on a journey of self-discovery, Kemi, now 31, decides to return to the country of her birth for the first time. Jen, seeking an escape from her father’s overbearing presence, decides to go with her.
In Johannesburg, it becomes clear that Solam is looking for the perfect wife to facilitate his soaring political ambitions. But who will he choose? All the while, the real story behind the two families’ connection threatens to reveal itself – with devastating consequences . . .
It's as warm and infectious, as familiar and true as Queenie. Diana Evans
Dimple Pennington knew of her half siblings, but she didn't really know them. Five people who don't have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad's gold jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues.
Dimple has bigger things to think about. She's thirty, and her life isn't really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple's life has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she's never felt more alone.
That is, until a catastrophic event brings her half siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie and Prynce crashing back into her life. And when they're all forced to reconnect with Cyril Pennington, the absent father they never really knew, things get even more complicated.
The Attic Child
Two children trapped in the same attic, almost a century apart, bound by a secret.
1907: Twelve-year-old Celestine spends most of his time locked in an attic room of a large house by the sea. Taken from his homeland and treated as an unpaid servant, he dreams of his family in Africa even if, as the years pass, he struggles to remember his mother’s face, and sometimes his real name...
Decades later, Lowra, a young orphan girl born into wealth and privilege, will find herself banished to the same attic. Lying under the floorboards of the room is an old porcelain doll, an unusual beaded claw necklace and, most curiously, a sentence etched on the wall behind an old cupboard, written in an unidentifiable language. Artefacts that will offer her a strange kind of comfort, and lead her to believe that she was not the first child to be imprisoned there . . .
Lola Jaye has created a hauntingly powerful, emotionally charged and unique dual-narrative novel about family secrets, love and loss, identity and belonging, seen through the lens of Black British History in The Attic Child.
'Stirring ... bold and powerful.' Guardian
From Jamaica to Sheffield to the recently formed Premier League, Uri rises through the ranks as a referee, making it to the the highest level of our national game.
But along the way he is confronted with tensions and prejudices, old and new, which emerge as his every move is watched, analysed and commented on.
Your Show is an extraordinary novel which charts one man's pioneering efforts to make it, against the odds, to the very top of his profession and beyond.
'An extremely assured debut which pulls in threads and echoes from across the Caribbean diaspora to deliver a rich, complex and really satisfying novel' ALISON FINCH, BBC Radio 4
Eleanor Bennett won't let her own death get in the way of the truth. So when her estranged children - Byron and Benny - reunite for her funeral in California, they discover a puzzling inheritance.
First, a voice recording in which everything Byron and Benny ever knew about their family is upended. Their mother narrates a tumultuous story about a headstrong young woman who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder, a story which cuts right to the heart of the rift that's separated Byron and Benny.
Second, a traditional Caribbean black cake made from a family recipe with a long history that Eleanor hopes will heal the wounds of the past.
Can Byron and Benny fulfil their mother's final request to 'share the black cake when the time is right'? Will Eleanor's revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?
'Exquisite, daring, utterly captivating. A stunning new writer' Bernardine Evaristo
Come of age in the credit crunch. Be civil in a hostile environment. Step out into a world of Go Home vans. Go to Oxbridge, get an education, start a career. Do all the right things. Buy a flat. Buy art. Buy a sort of happiness. But above all, keep your head down. Keep quiet. And keep going.
The narrator of Assembly is a Black British woman. She is preparing to attend a lavish garden party at her boyfriend's family estate, set deep in the English countryside. At the same time, she is considering the carefully assembled pieces of herself. As the minutes tick down and the future beckons, she can't escape the question: is it time to take it all apart?
My Hidden Race
My Hidden Race is the story of Olympic medallist Anyika Onuora, who stood on the podium at every major championship in athletics. This book won't go into detail about the technicalities of her sport or the beauty of the Olympic spirit however.
In the era of the Black Lives Matter and Me Too, this is an unflinching testimony of what it takes to pursue your dreams as a Black British woman against all odds. This three-time Olympian will lift the lid on the reality of life as a black female athlete in Britain in a way that nobody else has done before her.
Nothing is off the record. She is revealing her life for the first time in this book with complete fearlessness. There have been far too many years of silence caught in a system.
Now Anyika is determined to make up for lost time and use her story to inspire and heal others.
My Hidden Race will take you into a world that often takes place far from the spotlight of the Olympic torch and shines an intense light on the brutal reality of professional sport for many black females.
We Go High
Follow the life lessons of 30 remarkable women of colour - past and present - who have made their mark on society and culture.
"When you are struggling and you start thinking about giving up, I want you to remember something... and that is the power of hope." - Michelle Obama (White House speech, 2017)
From activists to scientists, artists to sporting icons, each woman's story is different - but all have in common a deep-seated resilience to fight against the prejudices and barriers to success that women of colour face on a daily basis. The book features political powerhouses such as Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams, as well as businesswomen like Arundhati Bhattacharya and Angelica Ross, and writers Michaela Coel and Amanda Gorman.
With 30 stunning, specially commissioned portraits, We Go High not only celebrates their achievements but uncovers the personal beliefs, attitudes, and determination that drive them.
The Mixed Race Experience
Naomi and Natlie Evans
What are the challenges of living between different cultures or identifying with one and not the other? How do you negotiate two worlds when you may not feel fully accepted in either? What are the challenges of being in a mixed race relationship and starting a family? How you do manage the stark reality of racism within your own family?
In the last census, Britain recorded over 1.2 million people who identified as mixed race. In The Mixed Race Experience, Natalie and Naomi Evans, founders of the anti-racist activist platform, Everyday Racism, share their experiences of growing up mixed race in Britain, how they continue to process, understand and learn about their identity and use their privilege to advocate for change, as well as addressing the privileges and complexities of being mixed race in Britain today.
His Name Is George Floyd
You know how he died. This is how he lived.
Who was George Floyd? What did he hope for? What was life like for him? And why has his death been the catalyst for such a powerful global response?
The murder of George Floyd sparked a summer of activism and unrest all over the world in 2020, from Shetland to São Paolo, as people marched under the Black Lives Matter banner, demanding an end to racial injustice. But behind a face that would be graffitied onto countless murals, and a name that has become synonymous with civil rights, there is the reality of one man's stolen life.
In His Name is George Floyd we meet the kind young boy who talked his friends out of beating up a skinny kid from another neighbourhood and then befriended him on the walk home. Big Floyd the high school American football player who ignored his coach's pleas to be more aggressive and felt queasy at the sight of blood. The man who fell victim to an opioid epidemic we are only just beginning to understand. The sensitive son and loving father, constantly in search of a better life in a society determined to write him off based on things he had no control over: where he grew up, the size of his body and the colour of his skin.
Drawing upon hundreds of interviews with friends and family members, His Name Is George Floyd reveals the myriad ways that structural racism shaped Floyd's life and death - from his forebears' roots in slavery to an underfunded education, the overpolicing of his community and the devastating snare of the prison system. By offering us an intimate portrait of this one, emblematic life, Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa deliver a powerful and moving exploration of how a man who simply wanted to breathe ended up touching the world.
The Black History Book
Learn about the most important milestones in Black history in The Black History Book.
Part of the fascinating Big Ideas series, this book tackles tricky topics and themes in a simple and easy to follow format. Learn about Black History in this overview guide to the subject, brilliant for novices looking to find out more and experts wishing to refresh their knowledge alike! The Black History Book brings a fresh and vibrant take on the topic through eye-catching graphics and diagrams to immerse yourself in.
The Black History Book is a captivating introduction to the key milestones in Black History, culture, and society across the globe - from the ancient world to the present, aimed at adults with an interest in the subject and students wanting to gain more of an overview. Explore the rich history of the peoples of Africa and the African diaspora, and the struggles and triumphs of Black communities around the world, all through engaging text and bold graphics.
Your Black History Questions, Simply Explained
Which were the most powerful African empires? Who were the pioneers of jazz? What sparked the Black Lives Matter movement? If you thought it was difficult to learn about the legacy of African-American history, The Black History Book presents crucial information in a clear layout. Learn about the earliest human migrations to modern Black communities, stories of the early kingdoms of Ancient Egypt and Nubia; the powerful medieval and early modern empires; and the struggle against colonization. This book also explores Black history beyond the African continent, like the Atlantic slave trade and slave resistance settlements; the Harlem Renaissance and Jazz Age; the Windrush migration; civil rights and Black feminist movements.
Children and young adults
I Am Nefertiti
Suitable for ages 0 - 5
When Nefertiti plays the drums, the band plays as one. 'I am Nefertiti' she says, and she feels ten feet tall. But when the new music teacher shortens her name to 'Nef', bit by bit, she starts to shrink. Without Nefertiti to keep the beat, the band is in disarray. 'I am Nefertiti!' she whispers to herself. Drawing on her inner strength and with the support of the other children, they help Miss Potts recognise the importance of honouring Nefertiti's name. Now, when Nefertiti keeps the beat, the music sounds so sweet!
Marv and the Mega Robot
Suitable for ages 7 - 9
Marvin is an ordinary boy who loves spending time with Grandpa, reading comics, and making science experiments with his best friend Joe. But everything changes when he discovers a mysterious superhero suit hidden in the attic . . . to his amazement, Marvin learns that he is next in a long line of superheroes. Now the time has come to meet his destiny!
When the Science Fair is thrown into chaos by super-villain Mastermind and her giant robot, Marvin is the only one who can stop them. Will Marvin be brave enough to step into his power-and into his superhero suit-to become the great and marvellous superhero Marv?
The first book in a powerful series of one boy's journey to unlock the superhero within.
Suitable for ages 11 – 14
Award-winning author Patrice Lawrence explores the harsh reality of the criminal justice system for young people in this riveting teen drama.
Charlene is a demon knitter. It’s the only thing she enjoys and the only thing she believes she’s really good at.
So when her foster mum’s son destroys her latest creation, Charlene loses it and stabs him in the hand with her knitting needle. It damages a nerve and she gets sucked into the criminal justice system for assault.
Charlene's not sorry and she’s never apologised to anyone in her life. But people keep telling her that if she says sorry, they’ll go easier on her. Can she bring herself to say it and not mean it when her freedom’s at stake?
Children of the World
Suitable for ages 5 – 7
Discover what daily life is like for children across the world as we explore everything from food to family, and learn how to greet new friends in lots of different languages. See where it's polite to slurp your food and bad manners to give the thumbs up, and find out where you might travel to school by cable car or sleep on an oven bed at night!
My Skin, Your Skin
Suitable for ages 5 - 7
My Skin Your Skin is a powerful book to help children and adults have meaningful discussions about race and anti-racism. Most importantly, the book empowers children to be the best versions of themselves; to have self-love, self-esteem and self-worth, irrespective of their skin colour.
This book was specifically written by Early Years expert and children's media creator, Laura Henry-Allain MBE, to support parents, teachers and carers to explain what racism is, why it is wrong, and what children can do if they see it or experience it. It also explores how important it is for children to celebrate their achievements and greatness.
Fully-illustrated throughout by talented illustrator Onyinye Iwu, My Skin, Your Skin is aimed at children aged four and above.
Containing explanations on key words and concepts written in child-friendly, accessible language, with relatable examples, this book supports children's understanding in building an anti-racist stance from an early age.
The Story of Afro Hair: 5,000 Years of History, Fashion and Styles
Suitable for ages 7 - 9
The Story of Afro Hair celebrates the fashion and styles of Afro hair over the last 5,000 years.
From plaits to the Gibson Girl, cornrows to locks, the hi-top fade to funki dreds, The Story of Afro Hair is the ultimate book of Afro hairstories. Kicking off with an explanation of how Afro hair type grows and why, The Story of Afro Hair then takes us right back to the politics and fashion of Ancient Egypt. Speeding forwards to modern times we experience the Kingdom of Benin, Henry VIII's court, the enslavement of African peoples, the Harlem Renaissance, the beginnings of Rastafarianism, Britain in the 1980s – and much more.
With vibrant full colour illustrations by Joelle Avelino.
A sparkling gold foil hardback cover – the perfect gift for anyone interested in culture, fashion and history.
With profiles of inspirational key figures in the Afro hair beauty industry, such as Sara Spencer Washington, Madam CJ Walker, Viola Desmond, Lincoln Dyke, Dudley Dryden and Anthony Wade.
"A brilliant read for Black History Month, [a] thought-provoking, lively & accessible guide for seven plus" - The Guardian
Forced to Flee: Refugee Children Drawing on their Experiences
Suitable for children 12+
Refugee children explain in their own words and pictures their thoughts, feelings and experiences about having to flee from their home countries.
Produced in association with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and with a foreword from Cate Blanchett, Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, this highly emotive title focuses on three current refugee crises in Syria, South Sudan and Central America. Aimed at readers age 12+, the book gives background information about how each crisis came about, why families had to flee and what life is like for them now is given in a clear and easy-to-understand way.
Children from refugee camps were asked to draw about their experiences of having to flee their home countries. The children's artwork is incredibly powerful and harrowing, and vividly highlights the impact that conflict, war and atrocities has on people's lives.
The Blood Divide
The last thing Jack Baxi expected when a detective rang his doorbell in the middle of the night was that he'd be tortured and left for dead, with a young woman he's never met before. Now, running for their lives, Jack and Aisha frantically try to discover why the detective was so convinced they both have information on a missing person.
Jack is a Sikh corner shopkeeper with a criminal record. Aisha is a Muslim medical student from a wealthy family. What could possibly connect them? Their desperate hunt for answers will take them on a perilous journey, from the sprawling underground markets and dangerous red-light district of Delhi all the way to the most militarized zone in India.
But little do they know, a dangerous organisation is watching their every move - and they'll do whatever it takes to stop Jack and Aisha learning the truth.
All My Lies Are True
Verity is telling lies. And that's why she's about to be arrested for attempted murder. Serena has been lying for years. And that may have driven her daughter, Verity, to do something unthinkable. Poppy's lies have come back to haunt her. So will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves? Everyone lies. But whose lies are going to end in tragedy?
The Book Of Echoes
Shortlisted for Author’s Club First Novel Award
Over two hundred years ago in Africa, a woman tosses her young son to safety as she is hauled away by slavers. After a brutal sea passage, her second child, a baby girl, is snatched away. Although the woman doesn't know it yet, her spirit is destined to roam the earth in search of her lost children. Her spirit will make its way to modern-day England.
Brixton 1981. Sixteen-year-old Michael is already on the wrong side of the law. In his community, where job opportunities are low and drug-running is high, this is nothing new.
But when Michael falls for Ngozi, a vibrant young immigrant from the Nigerian village of Obowi, their startling connection runs far deeper than they realise.
Narrated by the spirit of an African woman who lost her life on a slave ship two centuries earlier, her powerful story reveals how Michael and Ngozi's struggle for happiness began many lifetimes ago.
Through haunting, lyrical words, one unforgettable message resonates: love, hope and unity will heal us all.
Bernice L. McFadden
Young and confident, with a swagger in her step, Sugar arrives in the small southern town of Bigelow with the hope of starting over. Soon Bigelow is alight with gossip and suspicion, and Sugar fears she can't hide from her past. Until, that is, she meets Pearl, her next-door neighbour. Over sweet-potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming both women's lives - and the life of an entire town.
Vividly bringing 1950s Deep South America to life, with its flowering magnolia trees, lingering scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, and white picket fences that keep strangers out - but ignorance and superstition in, Sugar takes us on a journey through loss and suffering to a place of forgiveness, understanding, and grace.
Love In Colour
Sunday Times Bestseller
Bolu Babalola recreates the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology and retells them with new incredible detail and vivacity. Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, Babalola also reimagines iconic Greek myths, ancient legends from South Asia, and stories from countries that no longer exist in our world. Babalola is inspired by tales that truly show the variety and colours of love around the globe.
Keep The Receipts
Tolani Shoneye, Audrey Indome, Milena Sanchez
Join your girl Tolly T., Audrey, formerly known as Ghana's Finest, and your mamacita Milena Sanchez as they get super honest about their life experiences and lessons. From their different approaches to love to their wise advice on building strong friendships; from those conversations about sex we never have, to how to enjoy life as a Black woman or a woman of colour, The Receipts girls always keep it real, authentic and fiercely funny.
The Girls In The Wild Fig Tree
Nice Leng’Ete with Elizabeth Butler-Witter
Born in a remote village in Kenya, Nice Leng'ete saw the young girls she grew up with receive the cut, the rite of passage into female adulthood in Masai culture. Every girl got the cut, and once you did, you'd be married off to a man triple your age. You might be his second or third wife. You'd have children in your teens. To resist the cut meant becoming an outcast in Masai culture. Yet Nice managed to avoid it and stay in school.
This is an inspirational story of one girl who changed the minds of her elders, reformed traditions from the inside and is creating a better future for girls and women throughout Africa.
Not Without A Fight
Ramla Ali is a triple threat - humanitarian, model and boxer. Her life inside and outside the ring represents her ruthless refusal to quit and passion to fight for what she believes in. In this book, Ramla details ten key fights - a combination of life's constant challenges and real bouts she's endured both in and outside of the ring - that have shaped her remarkable rise to date.
From her arrival in England as an overweight refugee to being drawn to the energy and spirit of her first boxercise class; from the adrenaline of her first amateur fights to how she often powered on alone, searching for a community of women like her, and her biggest win of all: letting love into her life. Each relatable lesson is packed full of honesty and urgency, powering the reader on to become their own champion.
Suitable for ages 0-5
Discover incredible black men and women from around the world in 'Black History'. Push, pull and slide the scenes to find out about Maya Angelou, Stormzy, Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela, and be inspired by their incredible achievements.
With scenes to explore, fun facts to learn and bright, bold illustration by Jayri Gómez, this is the perfect introduction for inquisitive preschoolers to these amazing heroes.
Suitable for ages 12+
Moa is fourteen. The only life he has ever known is toiling on the Frontier sugar cane plantation for endless hot days, fearing the vicious whips of the overseers. Then one night he learns of an uprising, led by the charismatic Tacky.
Moa is to be a cane warrior, and fight for the freedom of all the enslaved people in the nearby plantations. But before they can escape, Moa and his friend Keverton must face their first great task: to kill their overseer, Misser Donaldson. Time is ticking, and the day of the uprising approaches.
When They Call You A Terrorist: A Story of Black Lives Matter and the Power To Change The World
Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Asha Bandele
Suitable for ages 12+
A movement that started with a hashtag - #BlackLivesMatter - and spread across the world.
From one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity. Necessary and timely, Patrisse Khan-Cullors' story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists, a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimised by the powerful.
In this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength and resilience, Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.
Tola Rotimi Abraham
Twin sisters Bibike and Ariyike are enjoying a relatively comfortable life in Lagos in 1996. Then their mother loses her job due to political strife and their father gambles away their home. As their parents' marriage collapses in the aftermath, the twins and their two younger siblings, Andrew and Peter, are thrust into the reluctant care of their traditional Yoruba grandmother. Inseparable while they had their parents to care for them, the twins' paths diverge once the household shatters. Written with astonishing intimacy and wry attention to the fickleness of fate, Black Sunday delves into the chaotic heart of family life. In the process, it tells a tale of grace in the midst of daily oppression, and of how two women carve their own distinct paths of resistance.
Things Fall Apart
'Things Fall Apart' tells the story of Okonkwo, an important man in the Igbo tribe in the days when white men were first on the scene. Okonkwo becomes exiled from his tribe, as a result of his pride and his fears, with tragic consequences. Originally published: London: Heinemann, 1958
Half of a Yellow Sun
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Set in Nigeria during the 1960s, this novel contains three main characters who get swept up in the violence during these turbulent years. It is about Africa, about the end of colonialism, about class and race, and the ways in which love can complicate these things. Originally published: London: Fourth Estate, 2006
A dazzling debut novel, with echoes of 'Homegoing' and 'Beloved', that sweeps across eras and generations, bridging the American Civil War, to tell the story of a mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing - and the conjuring of curses.
What We Lose
Thandi is American, but doesn't feel as American as some of her friends. She is South African, but South Africa terrifies her. She is a black woman with light skin. Her mother is dying. In exquisite vignettes of wry warmth and extraordinary emotional power, 'What We Lose' tells Thandi's story. Both raw and artful, minimal yet rich, it is an intimate portrait of love and loss, and a fierce meditation on race, sex, identity, and staying alive. Originally published: New York: Viking, 2017
The Confessions of Frannie Langton
1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning - slave, w***e, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth. For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed. But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved? Originally published: UK: Viking
Hadriana In All My Dreams
Set during Carnival in Haiti 1938, a young and beautiful woman named Hadriana drinks a mysterious potion on her wedding day and collapses at the altar. She is buried and later resurrected by an evil sorcerer and, as a zombie, enters the collective memory of her town of Jacmel. Hadriana's conversion serves as the inciting incident into an exploration of the strange and esoteric on the island, where Voodoo and Catholicism keep a symbiotic relationship, young women turn into zombies, young men turn into lascivious butterflies and nothing is quite what it seems.
I knew she was trouble from the moment I saw her. I felt it as she stood in the doorway that day - disaster. Not just because she was so different, that skin and that hair, as different from me as it's possible to be. There was something wrong about her. Wrong for us. It was never going to work. Now she is dead and only I am left to love him. She is dead, and it's all my fault. Originally published: 2018
South London, 2008. Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning, on the brink of acceptance or revolution. Melissa has a new baby and doesn't want to let it change her but, in the crooked walls of a narrow Victorian terrace, she begins to disappear. Michael, growing daily more accustomed to his commute, still loves Melissa but can't get close enough to her to stay faithful. Meanwhile out in the suburbs, Stephanie is happy with Damian and their three children, but the death of Damian's father has thrown him into crisis - or is it something or someone else? Are they all just in the wrong place? Are any of them prepared to take the leap? Originally published: London: Chatto & Windus, 2018
Girl, Woman, Other
'Girl, Woman, Other' follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends, and lovers, across the country and through the years. Originally published: UK: Hamish Hamilton, 2019
This is the extraordinary account of Alex Haley's own 12-year search for his family's origins. Tracing his ancestry through six generations he discovered a 16-year-old youth, Kunta Kinte. It was this young man who held the key to Haley's deep and distant past. Originally published: Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1976; London: Hutchinson, 1977
This Lovely City
The drinks are flowing. The music is playing. But the party can't last. With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England's call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he's taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door. Touring Soho's music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home - and it's alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery. As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart.
A Brief History Of Seven Killings
Set against the backdrop of 1970s reggae culture, disco, sex and excess comes this remarkable re-imagining of the attempted assassination of Bob Marley. Originally published: 2014
All My Lies Are True
Verity is telling lies. And that's why she's about to be arrested for attempted murder. Serena has been lying for years. And that may have driven her daughter, Verity, to do something unthinkable. Poppy's lies have come back to haunt her. So will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves? Everyone lies. But whose lies are going to end in tragedy?
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
'Manchester Happened' is a masterful collection of short stories by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, whose debut novel Kintu was published to great acclaim earlier this year. Set in Manchester and Kampala, the stories form a moving and powerful work about the experience of immigration and about how we treat each other as human beings, and makes an important contribution to one of the most pressing societal and political issues of the day. Originally published: 2019
Terrible, unspeakable things happened to Sethe at Sweet Home, the farm where she lived as a slave for so many years until she escaped to Ohio. Her new life is full of hope but 18 years later she is still not free. Sethe's new home is not only haunted by the memories of her past but also by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless. Originally published: London: Chatto & Windus, 1987
The Freedom Artist
In a world uncomfortably like our own, a young woman called Amalantis is arrested for asking a question. Her question is this: Who is the Prisoner? When Amalantis disappears, her lover Karnak goes looking for her. He searches desperately at first, then with a growing realisation. To find Amalantis, he must first understand the meaning of her question. Karnak's search leads him into a terrifying world of lies, oppression and fear at the heart of which lies the Prison. Then Karnak discovers that he is not the only one looking for the truth. 'The Freedom Artist' is an impassioned plea for justice and a penetrating examination of how freedom is threatened in a post-truth society.
Perdita Lee may appear your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor flat with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there's the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it's very popular in Druhastrana, the far-away land of Harriet Lee's early youth. In fact, the world's truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread is Harriet's charismatic childhood friend, Gretel Kercheval - a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met. Years later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother's long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet's story, as well as a reunion or two. Originally published: 2019
The Lonely Londoners
From the brilliant, sharp, witty pen of Sam Selvon, this is a classic award-winning novel of immigrant life in London in the 1950s.
'White Teeth' is a comic epic of multicultural Britain by one of the most exciting young writers of the new millennium. It tells the story of immigrants in England over a period of 40 years. Originally published: London: Hamish Hamilton, 2000
Wallace is a biochemistry grad student at a lakeside Midwestern university used to keeping a wary distance even from those closest to him. His class is the first in more than three decades to include a black student, something Wallace has not been allowed to forget. But, over the course of one weekend at the end of summer, a series of confrontations with colleagues and an unexpected shift in his relationship with a friend, Miller, force him to grapple with intimacy, desire, the trauma of the past and the question of the future.
The Color Purple
This compelling and cherished classic tells the story of Celie. Raped by the man she calls father, her two children taken from her and forced into an ugly marriage, she has no one to talk to but God, until she meets a woman who offers love and support.
The Sun Is Also A Star
Natasha: I'm a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I'm definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is 12 hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won't be my story. Daniel: I've always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents' high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store - for both of us. The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
Black British History: New Perspectives
An unparalleled study of the black British experience, unearthing its crucial yet largely forgotten role in shaping British history.
Twelve Years A Slave
Solomon Northup, Henry Louis Gates
Born a free man in New York State in 1808, Solomon Northup was kidnapped in Washington, DC, in 1841. He spent the next twelve years as a slave on a Louisiana cotton plantation. During this time he was frequently abused and often afraid for his life. In this book, he gives an account of his captivity.
Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain
Mike Phillips, Trevor Phillips
Broadcaster Trevor Phillips and his novelist brother Mike retell the very human story of Britain's first West Indian immigrants and their descendants from the first wave of immigration in 1948 to the present day.
Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible
Yomi Adegoke, Elizabeth Uviebinene
Black women in 2018 are well past making waves - they're currently creating something of a tsunami. From authors to politicians, to entrepreneurs to artists, black women in the UK continue to thrive against all odds and well outside of the world's expectations. This inspirational, honest and provocative book explores how black British women - including Amma Asante, Charlene White, Jamelia, Denise Lewis, Malorie Blackman and Dawn Butler MP - have achieved success in their respective fields. Originally published: 2018
Everyone Versus Racism: A Letter To My Children
'I just want equality, equality for all of us. At the moment, the scales are unfairly balanced and I just want things to be fair for my children, my grandchildren and future generations.' On 13th June 2020, Patrick Hutchinson, a black man, was photographed carrying a white injured man to safety during a confrontation in London between Black Lives Matter demonstrators and counter-protestors. The image went viral and quickly travelled around the world with Patrick being widely praised for his actions. In the press interviews that followed Patrick revealed a simple philosophy for his own personal beliefs on racism and why he had responded in the way he had. 'It's not black versus white, it's everyone versus the racists,' he said. In this poignant letter to his children, Patrick writes from the heart and shares the realities of life as a black man in Britain today.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race
In February 2014, Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way discussions of race and racism in Britain were constantly being led by those who weren't affected by it. She posted the piece on her blog, and gave it the title: 'Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race'. Her powerful, passionate words hit a nerve. The post went viral, and comments flooded in from others desperate to speak up about their own, similar experiences. Galvanised by this response, she decided to dig into the source of these feelings; this clear hunger for an open discussion. The result is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today.
Voices Of The Windrush Generation: The Real Story Told By The People Themselves
With over 20 first-hand accounts from men, women, and children of Windrush, this work sheds light on the true impact of one of the most disastrous and damaging scandals in recent memory, and gives a platform to those most affected - those whose voices have yet to be truly heard. Their stories provide intimate, personal and moving perspective on what it means to be black in Britain today, and the heartache the 'hostile environment policy' our government has created has meant for those who have called this country home for half a century and more. Originally published: London: Blink Publishing, 2018
The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr
Martin Luther King
Compiled from his own papers, this biography of Martin Luther King shows how the mild-mannered, inquisitive child and student rebelled against segregation and how as a dedicated young minister, he constantly questioned the depths of his faith and limits of his wisdom.
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America - the first African-American to serve in that role - she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerising storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world.
I Can’t Breathe: The Killing That Started A Movement
The incredible story of the death of Eric Garner, the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement and the new fault lines of race, protest, policing and the power of the people. On July 17, 2014, a 43-year-old black man named Eric Garner died in New York after a police officer put him in a 'chokehold' during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes. The final moments of his life were captured on video and seen by millions - his agonised last words, 'I can't breathe', becoming a rallying cry for the nascent Black Lives Matter protest movement. Originally published: 2017
The Autobiography of Malcom X
Written shortly before his assassination in 1965, this autobiography of Malcolm X traces his life from its violent beginnings in the Harlem Ghetto to his becoming one of the most important political figures of his time, and an icon in ours. Previous ed.: London: Hutchinson, 1966
Tribes: How Our Need To Belong Can Make Or Break The Good Society
David was the first black Briton to study at Harvard Law School and practised as a barrister before entering politics. He has served as the MP for Tottenham since 2000. Today, David is one of Parliament's most prominent and successful campaigners for social justice. He led the campaign for Windrush British citizens to be granted British citizenship and has been at the forefront of the fight for justice for the families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. In 2007, inspired by the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act and looking to explore his own African roots, David took a DNA test. It revealed that he was 25% Tuareg tribe (Niger), 25% Temne tribe (Sierra Leone), 25% Bantu tribe (South Africa), with 5% traces of Celtic Scotland and a mishmash of other unidentified groups. Both memoir and call-to-arms, 'Tribes' explores both the benign and malign effects of our need to belong.
Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto For Change
Chelsea Kwakye, Ore Ogunbiyi
As a minority in a predominantly white institution, taking up space is an act of resistance. And in higher education, feeling like you constantly have to justify your existence within institutions that weren't made for you is an ongoing struggle for many people. Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi, two recent Cambridge graduates, wrote 'Taking Up Space' as a guide and a manifesto for change: tackling issues of access, unrepresentative curricula, discrimination in the classroom, the problems of activism and life before and after university.
Hidden Figures: The Untold Story Of The African American Women Who Helped Win The Space Race
Margot Lee Shetterly
Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA's African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America's space programme. Originally published: 2016
Bob Marley: The Untold Story
What was it about Bob Marley that made him so popular in a world dominated by rock'n'roll? This biography explores this question and more by looking at the life and career of Marley. Originally published: London: HarperCollins, 2009
Born A Crime And Other Stories
Trevor Noah is the host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah , where he gleefully provides America with its nightly dose of serrated satire. He is a light-footed but cutting observer of the relentless absurdities of politics, nationalism and race - and in particular the craziness of his own young life, which he's lived at the intersections of culture and history. In his first book, Noah tells his coming of age story with his larger-than-life mother during the last gasps of apartheid-era South Africa and the turbulent years that followed. Noah was born illegal - the son of a white, Dutch father and a black Xhosa mother, who had to pretend to be his nanny or his father's servant in the brief moments when the family came together. Originally published: 2016
Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry
From her reflections on African American life and hardship in 'Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie' to her revolutionary celebrations of womanhood in 'Phenomenal Woman' and 'Still I Rise', and her elegant tributes to dignitaries Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela ('On the Pulse of Morning' and 'His Day Is Done', respectively), every inspiring word of Maya Angelou's poetry is included in the pages of this volume.
Mouth Full Of Blood: Essays, Speeches, Meditations
Spanning four decades, these essays, speeches, and meditations interrogate the world around us. They are concerned with race, gender and globalisation. The sweep of American history and the current state of politics. The duty of the press and the role of the artist. Throughout 'A Mouth Full of Blood' our search for truth, moral integrity and expertise is met by Toni Morrison with controlled anger, elegance, and literary excellence. Originally published: as The source of self-regard. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2019
The Life And Rhymes Of Benjamin Zephaniah: The Autobiography
Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art and his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. In the early 1980s when punks and Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness and the National Front, Benjamin's poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations and on the dance floor. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, and to popularise it by reaching people who didn't read books. His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant. By the early 1990s, Benjamin had performed on every continent in the world and he hasn't stopped performing and touring since. Nelson Mandela, after hearing Benjamin's tribute to him while he was in prison, requested an introduction to the poet that grew into a lifelong relationship, inspiring Benjamin's work with children in South Africa. Originally published: London: Simon & Schuster, 2018
In 1914 there were at least 10,000 black Britons, many of African and West Indian heritage, fiercely loyal to their mother country. Despite being discouraged from serving in the British Army during the First World War, men managed to join all branches of the armed forces and black communities made a vital contribution, both on the front and at home. By 1918 it is estimated that the black population had trebled to 30,000, and after the war many black soldiers who had fought for Britain decided to make it their home. 'Black Poppies' explores the military and civilian wartime experiences of these men and of women, from the trenches to the music hall.
The Louder I Will Sing
'The Louder I Will Sing' is a powerful, compelling and uplifting memoir about growing up in modern Britain as a young black man. It's a story both of people and politics, of the underlying racism beneath many of our most important institutions, but also the positive power that hope, faith and love can bring in response.
Dreams From My Father: A Story Of Race And Inheritance
In this memoir written at the age of 33, Barack Obama, son of a black African father and a white American mother, describes the search for meaning in his life as a black American.
Children and young adults
Children Of Blood And Bone
Zelie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orisha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie's Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, Maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zelie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zelie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zelie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Nobody can stop Nick Hall - he's a star on the football team, and life is about to get a whole lot sweeter when he asks out the girl of his dreams. But then a bombshell announcement shatters his world. Nick will need all his courage, both on and off the pitch.
Too Small Tola
7 – 9 years
Three delightful stories about Too -Small Tola, a young girl who, though small, is very determined. Tola lives in a flat in Lagos with her sister, Bola, who is very clever; her brother, Femi, who is very fast; and Grandmummy, who is very bossy. Tola proves to be stronger than she seems when she goes to market with Grandmummy and manages to carry home a basket full of yams and vegetables, chilli peppers and fish. When the taps in the flat don't work, it's Tola who brings water from the well, and it's Tola who saves the day when Mr Abdul, the tailor, needs his goods to be delivered quickly.
Boys Don’t Cry
You're about to receive your A-level results & then a future of university & journalism awaits. But the day they're due to arrive your old girlfriend turns up unexpectedly - with a baby. Your baby. You agree to look after it, just for an hour or two. Then she doesn't come back - and your life changes forever. Originally published: London: Doubleday, 2010
Rocket's going to be the greatest astronaut, star-catcher space-traveller that has ever lived! But first, she needs to convince her big brother Jamal to stop looking down at his phone and start looking up at the stars. Bursting with energy and passion about space and the natural world, this heart-warming picture book will reignite your desire to turn off those screens and switch on to the outside world.
Luna Loves Art
At the gallery, Luna is transfixed by the famous art, but her classmate Finn doesn't seem to want to be there at all. Finn's family doesn't look like the one in Henry Moore's 'Family Group' sculpture, but then neither does Luna's. Maybe all Finn needs is a friend. Join Luna and Finn at the Art Gallery and step inside famous works of art by Van Gogh, Picasso, Jackson Pollock and more! Can you spot all the art? Created by award-winning poet Joseph Coelho, this book follows Luna Loves Library Day as an introduction to different typ