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Never Without a Book: Black Joy playlist 2021

Books that center and celebrate Black lives

Playlist Tags: influencer-created topic: diversity topic: black lives matter

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Just as I Am

A Memoir

By Cicely Tyson
Narrated by: Cicely Tyson, Viola Davis & Robin Miles
Length: 16 hours 8 minutes

“In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only exceeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history.” –President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Honor ceremony

"Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. Here, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been... Read more »

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Happily Ever Afters

By Elise Bryant
Narrated by: Jordan Cobb
Length: 10 hours 18 minutes

Jane the Virgin meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this charming debut romantic comedy filled with Black Girl Magic. Perfect for fans of Mary H. K. Choi and Nicola Yoon, with crossover appeal for readers of Jasmine Guillory and Talia Hibbert romances.

Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life.... Read more »

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Well-Read Black Girl

Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

By Glory Edim
Narrated by: Glory Edim
Length: 5 hours 6 minutes

An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.

Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging remains with readers the rest of... Read more »

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Twisted

The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture

By Emma Dabiri
Narrated by: Emma Dabiri
Length: 7 hours 42 minutes

From Guardian contributor and prominent BBC race correspondent Emma Dabiri comes a timely and resonant essay collection exploring the ways in which black hair has been appropriated and stigmatized throughout history, with ruminations on body politics, race, pop culture, and Dabiri’s own journey to loving her hair.

Emma Dabiri can tell you the... Read more »

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The Poet X

By Elizabeth Acevedo
Narrated by: Elizabeth Acevedo
Length: 3 hours 30 minutes

The Poet X

“The Poet X is written and narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo. It is a novel made up of poems by a teenager, Xiomara Batista, growing up in Harlem. Acevedo's narration is wonderful and brings the story to life. Xiomara's dad is MIA even though he lives at home; her mother is extremely religious and pushes her faith onto her daughter; her twin brother is quiet and also working through his own feelings; she starts her first relationship with a guy; and all the time Xiomara is told what she can and cannot do, gets accosted by men, has to defend herself because no one else will, is questioning God and has no one to open up to. She releases her pent of feelings in a notebook. It isn't until her new English teacher introduces her to spoken poetry that she realizes that is what she is meant to be: a poet. This is a lovely story of a young, misunderstood girl, coming of age and showing the world that she is worth it. Great for adults who enjoyed Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and extremely relevant literature for the #metoo movement.”

M. Judson Booksellers image Kelly, M. Judson Booksellers
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Krik? Krak!

By Edwidge Danticat
Narrated by: Robin Miles & Dion Graham
Length: 4 hours 52 minutes

American Book Award-winning author Edwidge Danticat earned a National Book Award nomination for this brilliant collection of stories, which includes Pushcart Prize winner "Between the Pool and the Gardenias." A "remarkably gifted writer" (Publishers Weekly), Danticat examines the brutality of her native Haiti, particularly as it affects women,... Read more »

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If Beale Street Could Talk

A Novel

By James Baldwin
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 7 hours 7 minutes

In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad.Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is... Read more »

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Sula

By Toni Morrison
Narrated by: Toni Morrison
Length: 5 hours 46 minutes

Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies. In this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison tells the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio.

“Extravagantly beautiful. . . .  A howl of love and rage, playful and funny as well as hard and... Read more »

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Loving Donovan

By Bernice L. McFadden & Terry McMillan
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 6 hours 46 minutes

Two-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist Bernice L. McFadden has also been twice honored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. One of Library Journal's 25 Key Indie Fiction Titles, this heartbreaking tale follows two damaged but hopeful souls as they struggle to find love despite the ravages of their pasts. Read more »

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You Should See Me in a Crown

By Leah Johnson
Narrated by: Alaska Jackson
Length: 7 hours 18 minutes

You Should See Me in a Crown

“You Should See Me in a Crown is a quintessential prom story with some twists—namely that the protagonist is a queer Black girl. Liz Lighty dreams of following in her late mother’s footsteps and attending Pennington. But she can’t go to college without financial aid, and the music scholarship she was counting on fell through. She has no other choice but to run for prom queen in the tiny Midwestern town where she’s never fit in, fighting for the cash prize like her future depends on it. Campaign sabotage eventually forces her to stand up for herself and her values, because fairytales aren’t just for white heteros. Read on for Black joy and queer romance!”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store
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Black Girl Unlimited

The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard

By Echo Brown
Narrated by: Echo Brown
Length: 8 hours 29 minutes

This program is read by the author

"Just brilliant."—Kirkus Reviews

Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism—all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age story for fans of Renee Watson's Piecing Me...
Read more »

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Felix Ever After

By Kacen Callender
Narrated by: Logan Rozos
Length: 8 hours 23 minutes

From Stonewall and Lambda Award–winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy... Read more »

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A Princess in Theory

Reluctant Royals

By Alyssa Cole
Narrated by: Karen Chilton
Length: 11 hours 26 minutes

A Princess in Theory

“Have you been fascinated by the news surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle? Then this is the book for you! I loved this modern romance series that focuses on strong, smart, and independent women who just happen to fall in love with royalty. I guarantee this series will make you smile while you swoon!”

Once Upon A Time image Jessica, Once Upon A Time
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