15 recommended summer reads written by African American Authors.

Juneteenth Inspired Summer Reads

Whether you’re maxing and relaxing on the beach, kickin’ back poolside, or keeping it simple at home, we’ve got the perfect page-turning adventures waiting for your exploration.  

From romance, nonfiction, and young adult favorites we've compiled 15 reads fit for this summer's season. Each work of art is enriched with gems galore for living unapologetically while deepening your connection to mind, body, and spirit! 

Grab your bookmarks and join us on a journey to

Know Thyself...one book at a time.

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I Almost Forgot About You x Terry McMillan

McMillan explores what happens when we must completely reroute life’s plan, leaving a career and a stable home, to follow the heart. Here we follow Georgia, a successful optometrist, whose journey reminds us that it’s never too late to become the person you want to be. Through Georgia’s experiences we learn what can happen when fears are faced head on and our heart is open to new possibilities. 

Pretty Thingx Janelle Brown 

This latest novel from Janelle Brown exposes the secrets that lie within mansion walls of the elite and the scams of a con artist with a moral dilemma. Pretty Things tells the story of a grifting con artist plotting on her next biggest scam against an heiress turned social media influencer with a lingering, haunting past. In the mountains of Lake Tahoe, the worlds of two women living completely different lives collide in this thrilling, psychological suspenseful fiction. 

 A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope x Patrice Caldwell 

Coined as one of the most anticipated Young Adult Anthology’s of 2020, Editor Patrice Caldwell gives us sixteen short stories by some of the latest bestselling and award-winning authors. These tales explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic. From witches and scientists, to lovers, priests, and rebels, you’re sure to connect with the characters throughout these shorts. “A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between.” - Patrice Caldwell 

The Light of the World x Elizabeth Alexander

“Perhaps tragedies are only tragedies in the presence of love, which confers meaning to loss.” - In her memoir, following the death of her husband, Alexander uses lyrical prose and poetry to share her experiences and trials in love and loss, family and marriage, and the boundaries between body and spirit. The Light of the World is a compelling must read for the dive into your inner guide, your god, your inner glow. 

 Sugar Butter Flour Love: a novella x Nicole Falls

This little gem is sweet and savory. There are two things on earth that Isobel Knight loves above all things — her Gamma Betty and Whisk, their family bakery. Who she doesn’t love is Travis Coleman...or so she thinks. The two must join together for a baking competition with a large cash reward and unbeknownst to them, a romance begins to unfold. Dive into this perfect short, yet filling, summer delight.

The Muse x Jessie Burton

A Thrilling painting with a mysterious provenance connects two bold young women, one in Civil War Spain, the other in mid-1960s England. This split-screen narration is told by Odelle Bastien, a Trinidadian immigrant and aspiring writer trying to find her way in London, where racism is more common than job opportunities for bright young black women. Touching on the relationship between art and artist, writer of The Miniaturist, Burton has stepped it up with this thought provoking read. 

To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: An Informal Autobiography x Lorraine Hansberry 

In her short lifetime, African American playwright, Lorraine Hansberry wrote American Classics. A Raisin in the Sun paved the way for her to become the first African-American female author to have a play performed on Broadway. In her beautiful, brilliant autobiography, Hansberry shares the stories of her life through her journal entries, letters, articles, interviews, and creative musings.

 “I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love.” — page 11. 

Life on Mars: PoemsTracy K. Smith

Smith’s poems envisions a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant, and touches on concepts of the human experience. Life on Mars is a strikingly, breathtaking journey of love; it is a literary expression of a Bowie-inspired soundtrack to the universe.

Hood Feminsim x Mikki Kendall

Are you ready to get real? This one isn’t for the light-hearted. Mikki Kendall keeps it raw and 100% as she dives deep into social issues and their correlation to women, particularly women of color, being disproportionately affected by social inequities and injustices. Hood Feminism is our recommended read for those seeking to learn more about intersectional feminism served from lived and shared experiences. 

Happiness Becomes You x Tina Turner

A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good, truly shows the power we have within to overcome life’s obstacles, transform the “impossible” to possible—and fulfill our dreams and purpose. Enriching our unique paths with empowering words of encouragement, sage advice, and spiritual tools,  Ms. Turner shows how we, too, can begin living our best authentic lives daily. 

Your Turn: How to be An Adult x Julie Lythcott-Haims

Are you conquering adulting? Julie Lythcott-Haims, author and a former Stanford dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising, has written a must-read for young adults transitioning into adulthood and the aging adult at various stages in their life.  In Your Turn, Julie shares compassion, personal experience, and practical strategies for living your most authentic adulthood. Free of the demanding stressors simply living often brings our way. With shared interviews for inspiration on your adulting journey, this read addresses what modern day psychologists call the “five markers of adulthood” and how to release yourself from those labels and expectations. Tap in and be inspired to continue your growth journey. You’ll find that adulting, though filled with life lessons, and challenges, can yield to a world of abundance, alignment, and enjoyment. 

Sister, Sister x Eric Jerome Dickey

The breakout book for Best Selling Author Eric J. Dickey and a forever classic on our bookshelves. Sister, Sister is the perfect summer, beach day read. This light-hearted, hilarious, insightful tale is “true-to-life”.  Based in Los Angeles, three African American sisters experience life’s relationship woes and weave through the lessons of adulthood.  Valerie the high-spirited wife, Inda the scheming social worker, and Chiquita a flight attendant stricken with grief from matters of the heart will set the scene for a great page-turning adventure on living, laughing,and  loving. 

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted x Jayne Allen

The first novel in a captivating three-book series about modern day womanhood. Thirty-three year old Tabitha Walker believed she had it all together, she was “living her best life”. She had the “perfect” career as a coveted local news reporter; the handsome and successful boyfriend; the vision and determination to reach her happily ever after. When her dreams begin to slip away, she is faced with an impossible choice between her career and chance for having a family of her own. Jayne Allen takes us on a journey to explore the themes of racial prejudice, infidelity, and family dynamics...may Walker’s path to fulfillment and  self discovery resonate within, on your personal journey to know thyself. 

The Black Poets x Dudley Randall

Our highly recommended summer read for compelling prose and song to channel your Melanin Magic and connect with the Black experience in America’s 60s. Dudley has compiled poetry from the likes of Langston Hughes, Yusef Iman, Gwendolyn Brooks, Claude McKay and more - highlighting known artists and those often overlooked to complete a timely classic anthology. The Black Poets, is both light and darkness; joy and pain. Organized chronologically, beginning with traditional Folk Poetry and leading into Literary Poetry, it will take the reader through 1960’s Black Pride and the issues of racism and segregation in America. 

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin x Terrance Hayes    

Hayes has masterfully crafted 70 nontraditional sonnets for his latest collection. Written during the first year of the Trump presidency, these poems shadow the country's past and the eras and errors of the future; capturing both the dreams of an aspiring future and the horrors of America’s past/present. It is witty, comedic relief,  akin to a dope verse over an upbeat rap tempo and jazzy musings. These sonnets from Hayes shine on the power in our words. Be encouraged to wonder, speak your truths, and stand firm in your approach of the world...no matter how it may appear to others.  


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