14 Inspiring Books by Black Women

By Kari

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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

Books by Black Women

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.

Pinky Cole, I Hope You Fail

Author Pinky Cole is the founder of the wildy successful vegan restaurant brand Slutty Vegan. In I Hope You Fail, she candidly shares her story and her experience of striving for financial security and pushing forward with her vision despite all of the haters who tried to convince her she was doing it all wrong.

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.

Michelle Obama, The Light We Carry

Michelle Obama’s book, The Light We Carry, is a wildly popular follow-up to her memoir Becoming. In this book she reflects on her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us. She shares the message that when we recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it.

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.

Inspiring Books By Black Women

Did you enjoy this post about books by black female authors?

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About the author
Kari is the content curator and founder of Gorgeous Mindset. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and two sons. She's believes in the power of making small mindset shifts to create big life changes. Her most recent published works include the The High Vibes Manifestation Journal, The Daily Gratitude Journal, and Mastering the Mindset of Self-Love.

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