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Black Voices Old and New

Celebrate Black voices during Black History Month and beyond with the 100 books in this playlist. From picture books to adult literary fiction and memoir to high fantasy, there's something for everyone in this list.

Playlist Tags: Asbury Book Cooperative genre: Non-Classifiable season: black history month topic: black authors

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Legendborn

By Tracy Deonn
Narrated by: Joniece Abbott-Pratt
Length: 18 hours 54 minutes

If you enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone, then you’ll love Legendborn.

“If you’ve been thinking about trying audiobooks, I recommend LEGENDBORN by Tracy Deonn as a great starting point! The reader, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, completely transported me to the Southern Gothic world of a secret society on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill (down to the hot sauce on hash browns). With a complex magic system intricately tied to ancestry and world history, Arthurian legend, demon battles, and just enough romance, this was one of those books that I thought about when I couldn’t have it playing in my headphones! Deonn is a master, bringing Brianna, the main character, to name and disrupt white male supremacy while working through the grief of her own story and that of her mothers before her. I also loved the queer representation in secondary characters, including a squire with they/them pronouns. I can't wait for the sequel and to follow Deonn's career!”

Lark & Owl image Kim, Lark & Owl
Audiobook details

This Is My America

By Kim Johnson
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 9 hours 34 minutes

If you enjoyed The Hate U Give, then you’ll love This Is My America.

“This is My America depicts the effects of police brutality and corrupt prosecution practices in America. Although there are similar Young Adult books tackling racism and police brutality, This is My America distinguishes itself by focusing on the emotional, physical, and financial impact of mass incarceration on the Black family. Johnson shows how the KKK is not a piece of history long-gone, but is an organization continuing to hunt down and torture Americans of color. Johnson explores generational trauma and the danger of being complicit mainly from the perspective of Tracy’s Black family, but also touches on the generational trauma of being a raised to be a racist and the danger of being complicit in that role. These parallel stories of the white and Black family are thought provoking, without centering the white narrative. Along with the personal struggles explored throughout the book, the plot includes a mystery element as Tracy investigates who the real murderers are.

This book narrated by Bahni Turpin, one of my favorite narrators! Turpin brings such life to each of the characters in her narrations, and this book was no different. I would recommend this book (especially the audiobook!) to young adults and adults that can handle content including police encounters, off the page murder, off the page lynching, racism, Black trauma, hate crimes, and police shooting.”

Beausoleil Books image Endya, Beausoleil Books
Audiobook details

The Black Kids

By Christina Hammonds Reed
Narrated by: Kiersey Clemons
Length: TBA

Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel is a unflinching exploration of race, class, and violence as well as the importance of being true to yourself. 

Los Angeles, 1992

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of high school and they’re spending more time at the beach than... Read more »

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Transcendent Kingdom

A novel

By Yaa Gyasi
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 8 hours 40 minutes

Transcendent Kingdom

“Gifty immigrated from Ghana, grew up in Alabama, and is working on a PhD in neuroscience at Stanford, where she experiments with mice. She has always felt she wasn’t cool enough or white enough, and tries to prove her value through her brilliance. She tells her raw and powerful story of racism, addiction, mental illness, and especially faith and prayer, all while trying hard to mend a complicated relationship with her mother. This second novel from the author of the award-winning novel Homegoing is compelling and so, so beautifully written.”

Wellesley Books image Sally Weitzen, Wellesley Books
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The Prophets

By Robert Jones, Jr.
Narrated by: Karen Chilton
Length: 14 hours 52 minutes

The Prophets

“I am at a loss for words. How can I even begin to describe the breathtaking language Robert Jones, Jr. has gifted us in his debut novel, The Prophets? How can I begin to explain how he achieves a feat so marvelous it almost seems impossible? Well, that’s the key word: almost. From his innovative restructuring of the Bible through the lens of America’s history with slavery to characters that leap off the page with colorful grace and dignity, Jones masterfully weaves a narrative that serves as a warning from the past, a prophecy for the future, and a testament to the present. His writing defies all great American novels that have come before, and in doing so becomes one of the greatest I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I can’t wait for everyone to be as spellbound by this book as I am; it will stay with me forever.”

Flyleaf Books image Gage Tarlton, Flyleaf Books
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Ida B. the Queen

By Michelle Duster
Narrated by: Michelle Duster
Length: 3 hours 43 minutes

Journalist. Suffragist. Antilynching crusader. In 1862, Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi. In 2020, she won a Pulitzer Prize.

Ida B. Wells committed herself to the needs of those who did not have power. In the eyes of the FBI, this made her a “dangerous negro agitator.” In the annals of history, it makes her an icon.

... Read more »

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One of the Good Ones

By Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin, Jordan Cobb & Carolyn Smith
Length: 9 hours 49 minutes

One of the Good Ones

“I am SPEECHLESS. I am still processing. But what I do know, without a doubt, is that One of the Good Ones is a must-read, a beautiful gut punch by a sister duo that is poised to take the publishing world by storm. Maika and Maritza manage to pack so much into so little, each moment its own universe, tackling the enormously difficult topics of systemic racism, police brutality, coming out to religious parents, epigenetics, and grief. The multiple perspectives across multiple timelines are simply perfect, lending so much to the greater story, and mystery(! I never saw that twist coming), keeping you reading into the early hours. But amidst the greater discussions of dismantling the institutions that uphold respectability above all else, there is so much joy too. There is hope. There is friendship that crosses oceans (or countries as the case may be). There is a road to recovery. And that left me with the best kind of tears in my eyes.”

Second Star to the Right image Britt, Second Star to the Right
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Amari and the Night Brothers

Supernatural Investigations: Book #1

By B. B. Alston
Narrated by: Imani Parks
Length: 11 hours 11 minutes

Amari and the Night Brothers

“WOW!! This is my new favorite Middle Reader book, hands down!! Amari Peters is a fantastic character full of spunk and determination. She is on a mission to find her brother when she dives headfirst into a brilliant, brutal world of imagination and magic, a world of supernatural affairs. But in this world of supernaturals, magicians are illegal and the worst criminal masterminds. When Amari joins the school at the Supernatural Bureau, her dormant magical powers are unleashed. She must fight to prove herself to all those who fear her as a magician. Amari stands strong and true to herself in the face of controversy–she is a great role model to all. This is a fun, addictive book, filled with many twists and turns.”

The Well-Read Moose image Anna, The Well-Read Moose
Audiobook details

The Boyfriend Project

By Farrah Rochon
Narrated by: Je Nie Fleming
Length: 9 hours 41 minutes

The Boyfriend Project

“Smart, steamy, and fun! I listened to this one through Libro.FM and loved everything from the author's voice to the female friendships to the recognition that internet fame is an emotional burden. (I was also deeply amused by the fact that the male lead had lived/worked in Vienna, in the building locals affectionately refer to as "The Toilet Bowl.")”

Bards Alley image Leah, Bards Alley
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Real Men Knit

Real Men Knit series: Book #1

By Kwana Jackson
Narrated by: Keylor Leigh
Length: 8 hours 52 minutes

"If you're looking for an easy charmer, this is the novel for you."—Shondaland
 
When their foster-turned-adoptive mother suddenly dies, four brothers struggle to keep open the doors of her beloved Harlem knitting shop.


Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts. When... Read more »

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Wandering in Strange Lands

A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots

By Morgan Jerkins
Narrated by: Morgan Jerkins
Length: 8 hours 3 minutes

Wandering in Strange Lands

“In Wandering in Strange Lands, Morgan Jerkins brings us along on her journey to learn about her ancestors and herself. This fascinating ethnography leads Jerkins down paths she anticipated and, perhaps most interestingly, down unexpected ones. As she learns more about where and whom she came from, she confronts her image of herself and grapples with some of the truths she finds. Jerkens’s journey takes us first to the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, home of the Gullah Geechee people, and then to Louisiana and its Creole people. In both places, she learns much about her mother’s and father’s families. From there, we travel to Oklahoma where Jerkins explores connections between Native Americans and African Americans, searching for information about the claims in her family of Native American ancestry. And finally, we land in Los Angeles, where Jerkins’s research culminates in a thoughtful and insightful examination of what it means to be Black in the United States. The history, the people, the insight, and the implications of the information in this book make it not only incredibly interesting, but also a significant contribution to our understanding of cultures and connections in the United States.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
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Such a Fun Age

By Kiley Reid
Narrated by: Nicole Lewis
Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Such a Fun Age

“When I attempted to write a review for Such a Fun Age, I was at a loss for words. How could I encapsulate how Kiley Reid’s startling debut perfectly captured what it means to be a woman? The societal pressure, the self-doubt, the perseverance, the constant comparison — all of it was perfectly represented through Reid’s two wonderfully flawed and captivating leads. Follow Emira and Alix, two women on seemingly incongruous paths who find themselves searching for purpose and an authentic sense of self. Such a Fun Age tackles complex issues — race, gender, economic status, and the intersection of them all — yet remains accessible. You will not want to put this book down; when you do, you’ll be itching to pick it back up again.”

Flyleaf Books image Gennifer Eccles, Flyleaf Books
Audiobook details

How We Fight For Our Lives

By Saeed Jones
Narrated by: Saeed Jones
Length: 5 hours 34 minutes

How We Fight For Our Lives

“Saeed Jones is supremely talented, so I expected his memoir to be great. I did NOT expect, however, to be left immobile in my chair after reading that final paragraph, processing the beauty of his words and those indelible sentences he’s generous enough to share with us. How We Fight for Our Lives is a moving and intimate portrait of the writer growing up as a young, gay black man and trying to understand the complex realities of his identity. We also gain insight to Jones’ relationship with his mother, a story that left me in pieces by the end. How We Fight for Our Lives is raw, difficult, and truthful, and completely stuffed with love.”

BookPeople image Eugenia Vela, BookPeople
Audiobook details

Unexpected Stories

Two Novellas

By Octavia E. Butler
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 2 hours 24 minutes

This exciting collection presents two previously unpublished stories by SF legend Butler. "A Necessary Being" precedes the events of Survivor, Butler's third (famously disowned) installment in her Patternist series, and includes characters from it, focusing exclusively on the Kohn, aliens who build their social hierarchies on the blueness of... Read more »

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Parable of the Sower

Earthseed: Book #1

By Octavia E. Butler
Narrated by: Lynne Thigpen
Length: 12 hours 2 minutes

Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Octavia E. Butler paints a stunning portrait of an all-too-believable near future. As with Kindred and her other critically-acclaimed novels, Parable of the Sower skillfully combines startling visionary and socially realistic concepts. God is change. That is the central truth of the Earthseed movement, whose... Read more »

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Wild Seed

Patternist: Book #1

By Octavia E. Butler
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 11 hours 9 minutes

DDoro knows no higher authority than himself. An ancient spirit with boundless powers, he possesses humans, killing without remorse as he jumps from body to body to sustain his own life. With a lonely eternity ahead of him, Doro breeds supernaturally gifted humans into empires that obey his every desire. He fears no one—until he meets Anyanwu. ... Read more »

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Kindred

By Octavia E. Butler
Narrated by: Kim Staunton
Length: 10 hours 54 minutes

The first science fiction written by a Black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of Black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably... Read more »

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The Vanishing Half

A Novel

By Brit Bennett
Narrated by: Shayna Small
Length: 11 hours 33 minutes

The Vanishing Half

“This is an intriguing story, part family saga, part social commentary, about twin sisters whose lives diverged into two very different directions. Desiree and Stella grew up in Mallard, Louisiana, a place that didn't show up on any map and a community that in the 1960s was racist in a peculiar way: the population was almost exclusively very light-skinned African Americans, many of whom could pass for white. Fourteen years before the story begins, Desiree and Stella suddenly left home together to find work in New Orleans. Shortly afterwards, Stella disappeared without a trace. Desiree married, had a child, and in 1968 decided to return to Mallard to her mother's house to escape an abusive husband. Skipping ahead ten years to 1978, we meet Stella, who has also married and had a child, and now lives in California in an exclusively white upscale neighborhood where not even her husband knows about her African American blood. In a coincidence that the author makes seem believable, the twins' daughters meet, and Stella's secret is in danger of being exposed. Bennett's characters are well-developed and provide a clearly-drawn portrait of race, gender, and the ties that hold families and relationships together.”

Blue Willow Bookshop image Alice, Blue Willow Bookshop
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