Round Table Books recommends: 10 brilliant books to read by Black writers

Layla – expert bookseller at the fantastic Round Table Books in Brixton, London – joins us in Caboodlers' Corner to recommend 10 brilliant books for both children and adults written by Black authors. As the Black Lives Matter movement gains momentum around the world and we all consider how to create change, one place to begin is to read books written by diverse voices and which represent diverse experiences.


Round Table Books

Round Table Books is a bookshop in Brixton that is dedicated to the representation of diverse characters in children's books. The shop sells books for ages 0-18, and also has a carefully curated section of adult books so there's something for everyone.

 

 

Sulwe

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o & Vashti Harrison (picture book, 3+)

A beautifully illustrated picture book with a powerful, important message about a young girl learning to love the colour of her skin.

Hair Love

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry & Vashti Harrison (picture book, 3+)

This is a wonderful story about the bond between father and daughter – and will definitely cause some giggles when children read Dad's attempts at hairstyles!

Grandpa Bert and the Ghost Snatchers

Grandpa Bert and the Ghost Snatchers by Malorie Blackman (fiction, 7+)

A superb little book and the format is dyslexia friendly too! Grandma Gertie has a secret – Grandpa Bert is a ghost, and has travelled from Barbados hidden in her handbag! This is certain to be popular with young lovers of adventure.

Young, Gifted and Black

Young, Gifted and Black by Jamia Wilson & Andrea Pippins (non-fiction, 8+)

This is truly a celebration of the achievements of 52 inspirational Black people, past and present. It makes a wonderful gift too, and is something young readers will cherish.

High Rise Mystery

High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson (fiction, 9+)

A brilliantly gripping murder mystery set in the UK during a swelteringly hot summer. Join sisters Nik and Norva as they get to the bottom of a crime committed on their estate. This book nearly made me miss my train because I was so absorbed!

For Every One

For Every One by Jason Reynolds (poetry, 12+)

An uplifting and affirming read which is sure to make you feel like you can accomplish anything once you read it. Reynolds is a writing genius, and every bookshelf needs to have one of his books – I suggest you start with this one.

Rose, Interrupted

Rose, Interrupted by Patrice Lawrence (fiction, 15+)

A superb voice in YA (young adult) fiction, Rose, Interrupted is a gripping, thought-provoking read which focuses on two teenagers learning about how to live after escaping with their mother from a strict religious sect. You won't want to put it down once you start reading.

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando (fiction, 15+)

A devastating yet impactful book that discusses bullying, mental health, suicide and grief. A brilliantly written book from a stunning debut author, this is one that parents and teachers should also read.

Queenie

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (fiction, adult)

Aimée from Round Table Books says, "Never has a book had me so absorbed as Queenie has! From the south London setting, to the Jamaican grandparents and ALL the relationship drama, Queenie not only made me feel seen but it let me into another world. How Candice Carty-Williams has managed to then also pack genuine conversations around mental health and race in is astounding. It’s truly one of those 'can’t put it down books!'"

Shaping Up Culture

Shaping Up Culture by Mark Maciver (non-fiction, adult)

A non-fiction book that packs a punch when it comes to starting up a business. Told in ten short chapters with helpful tips throughout, this is an inspirational read that is sure to benefit and motivate any budding entrepreneur.

 

Which books written by Black authors do you recommend?

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