Looking for Inspiring Books by Black Women?
In recognition of black history and black excellence, this post shares 14 empowering books by black women writers who are voicing their stories through the written word.
While I normally read books by a variety of authors without consideration (or favoritism) based on their race, color, sexual preference, religion, etc., it is important to me that I highlight books by black women.
As a little girl, I dreamed of being a writer and author one day. Other than Maya Angelou, I do not recall being aware of any other books by women of color. What this means is that I saw very few examples of women who looked like me who were pursuing their writing dreams.
But thankfully, times have changed and there are plenty of successful black and brown female writers to inspire the next generation of writers (speaking of the next generation…check out my 10-year-old niece’s published book, Always Believe In Yourself).
This list of authors is just a snippet of the number of incredible works of art by black women. Buying and reading their books is a great way to expand your thinking, encourage diversity, and be an advocate for inclusion.
I hope this list inspires you and encourages you to expand your reading library. Please share with your friends by adding it to your social media pages. Thanks!
14 Empowering Books for Black Females
Tabitha Brown, Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business)
Tabitha Brown has burst into the online world with all the color and charisma of a walking-talking rainbow! Once an actress who struggled with an autoimmune disease, she found purpose in sharing her journey to help with others heal and soon became one of the most well-known online personalities in the world. Her book, Feeding The Soul, shares personal lessons full of hope and encouragement to help readers make a life for themselves that is rooted in kindness and love.
Jayne Allen, Black Girls Must Die Exhausted
Black Girls Must Die Exhausted is book one of a trilogy and is one of the few fiction books on this list. Author Jayne Allen has done a wonderful job bringing to life a character that many black women in today’s world can relate to. The main character is a black women who wants it all–the career, the husband, the house, and the family–and doesn’t imagine any obstacles that can stand in the way of her accomplishing her goals…until of course life hits her HARD and has her questioning everything.
I added this book to the list because the storyline resonates with me as I think on the long period of time that I too was an exhausted black women.
Tressie McMillan Cottom, Thick: And Other Essays
A modern black American feminist voice waxing poetic on self and society, serving up a healthy portion of clever prose and southern aphorisms as she covers everything from Saturday Night Live, LinkedIn, and BBQ Becky to sexual violence, infant mortality, and Trump rallies.
Rachel Rogers, We should All Be millionaires
Rachel Rodgers, author, mother of four and self-made millionaire, published We Should All Be Millionaires to help women learn wealth building strategies to create long-term financial security. Sharing lessons from her own personal journey and from the hundreds of women she has coached over the years, the book aims to help women change the way they think about money and their ability to earn it.
Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Heads of the Colored People: Stories
Each story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous—from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids’ backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide—while others are devastatingly poignant—a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture.
Glory Edim, Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves
Well-Read Black Girl is an inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl. The book focuses on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.
Adeline Bird, Be Unapologetically You
This book is about scraping away all the lies and misinformation you have allowed yourself to believe. And when you do that, you find your shiny crown of self-worth and you put it on, bravely, proudly and fiercely.
Toni Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard
In the writings and speeches included here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, “black matter(s),” and human rights.
Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes
This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her. The book chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self.
Related Content: Learn How to Write for Television from Shonda Rhimes
Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist: Essays
In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. Check out Roxane’s TED Talk, Confessions of a Bad Feminist below:
Related Content: Learn How to Write a Good Personal Essay from Roxane Gay
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists
In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness.
Kamala Harris, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey
Kamala Harris offers in THE TRUTHS WE HOLD a master class in problem-solving, in crisis management, and leadership in challenging times. Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values.
Stacey Abrams, Minority Leader: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change
Minority Leader is the handbook for outsiders, written with the awareness of the experiences and challenges that hinder anyone who exists beyond the structure of traditional white male power―women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and millennials ready to make a difference.
Michelle Obama, Becoming
Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
And if you haven’t yet read Michelle Obama’s follow-up book, The Light We Carry, it’s a must read too!
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