Hey Savvy Readers!
In honour of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and being that February is Black History Month, we’re bringing you a wide range of amazing books by some pretty amazing and diverse authors! Here at the Savvy Reader we always find it important to expand your horizons and encourage you to read something new, so we’ve created a list of books everyone should pick up when they’re in the market for a new read.
These novels will take you to uncomfortable places and shake boundaries. They say something that matters and they’re voices need to be heard. Diversity in all aspects of life is important, even in the world of books!
So without further ado, these novels explore the right to justice and liberty and equality for all, no matter race/gender/sexuality. We hope you enjoy our picks in honour of Black History Month!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas has created a masterful depiction of real life racism. It is a stance on unnecessary force and police violence. This highly-impactful novel is full of heart and is an absolute must-read, being 2017’s most important YA novel. Though it’s not on sale until February 28th, you can read the first three chapters here (and trust me, that’s more than enough to get you hooked!) or pre-order it here.
Steal Away Home by Karolyn Smardz Frost
This is the compelling novel of a 15 year-old slave who escapes to Canada while her owners holiday in Niagara Falls. Karolyn Smardz Frost masterfully weaves this incredible true story of bravery and heart into a novel that will not soon be forgotten.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Now a major motion picture (which has been nominated for three Academy Awards!), this is the incredible true story of the black women or “computers” behind NASA. These female mathematicians wrote the calculations that were essential to some of the greatest space explorations. Hidden Figures is an amazing read that deals with both gender and racial equality.
Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
Who hasn’t read this awe-inspiring classic masterpiece? Lawrence Hill is now a household name due to this novel, which tells the story of Aminata Diallo from childhood to old age as she suffers the slave trade, racism, love, hurt, loss, you name it. This is one of the best historical fiction novels there is!
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
THE classic. We couldn’t not include To Kill A Mockingbird, but have you read its sequel, rediscovered in 2014? Jean Louise Finch – Scout – returns home to rediscover the struggles, both personal and political, that have shaped her. A brilliant novel in its own right that you shouldn’t miss out on.
The Illegal by Lawrence Hill
Another destined classic by Lawrence Hill, this novel is all about what running means to Keita Ali. Running means everything on the island, it means riches and success. But when times turn, Keita must run for his life and for that of his family. This novel casts light on the plight of the forgotten and the unseen.
Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill
We know! Another Lawrence Hill! But he’s just so great! Any Known Blood effortlessly takes you from the slave trade into the modern suburbs of Oakville, Ontario as one man attempts to reconcile the past and discover who he is. Lawrence Hill has an important story to tell, and he renders it onto the page so beautifully.
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Sheer brilliance! This novel won or was nominated for just about everything, but it makes our list because of its artful story-telling about race, love, loyalty – and jazz! Half-Blood Blues will have you questioning, thinking deeply and longing for a jazz record.
Café Babanussa by Karen Hill
This novel lends its voice to mental illness, mixed-raced identity and a political and social tension in 1980s West Berlin. It’s different, spell-binding and carefully crafted. Karen Hill created a beautiful piece of work with a fresh perspective.
We hope you enjoyed our list! Tell us what you’re reading for Black History Month in the comments below or on Twitter @SavvyReader.
Love one another! And happy reading!