While beach reading might be a bit different this year due to obvious reasons that doesn’t mean you can’t escape the confines of your own home by going on a written getaway.
You might not be able to luxuriate on a beach this year, but these books could definitely take you there. You’ve just got use your imagination!
ESSENCE has selected 14 books by Black authors that are so necessary to read right now–from children’s books to romance novels. Whether it’s a love story of which Black women rarely get to be the star, or the uncovering of Black history that needs to be passed down throughout generations, these books tell our story.
Check out which books to binge right now:
It’s About Damn Time (May 5)
Arlan Hamilton went from being on food stamps to breaking into the boys’ club of Silicon Valley as a Black gay woman, no less. Enough said.
My Vanishing Country (May 19)
Bakari Sellers, who was the youngest Black elected official, details his life as a young man in the poorest state in the U.S., South Carolina. He also sheds light on the rural and forgotten people in his state, who are dealing with dwindling factories, hospitals and media attention.
The Vanishing Half (June 2)
A Song Below Water (June 2)
Bethany C. Morrow writes about Black mermaids and sisterhood, which proves to be the strongest black girl magic ever invented.
All the Things We Never Knew (June 9)
Two Texas basketball stars meet on the court and lock eyes. Next thing you know they’re intertwined in a whirlwind romance in this YA novel, but they’re both keeping secrets.
Your Hidden Superpower (June 9)
Good Morning America correspondent and anchor Adrienne Bankert writes about the transformative power of kindness.
Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture (June 23)
BBC race correspondent Emma Dabiri explores how Black hair and its texture has been politicized and stigmatized. From pre-colonial Africa to the modern day natural hair movement, Dabiri’s research leads to self love and acceptance.
Party of Two (June 23)
No one writes a love story like Jasmine Guillory and in this read we meet Olivia Monroe, who’s just moved to LA to start her own law firm. That’s when she meets a cute (White) man at a hotel bar. Here we go…
Take A Hint, Dani Brown (June 23)
Danika Brown wants one thing: an easy “lay,” no matter the gender. But when she meets security guard Zafir Ansari, who helps her during a workplace drill gone wrong, the moment goes viral and now the whole world, it seems, wants Dani to really fall in love. But can she rise to the occasion? Does she even want to?
Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir (July 28)
This memoir details the horrific murder of the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Natasha Trethewey’s mother at the hands of her then step-father.
This Is My America (July 28)
In this young adult novel, Kim Johnson introduces us to 17-year-old Tracy, who needs help getting her innocent father off of death row. With time running out, her brother is now accused of killing a White girl.
The Death of Vivek Oji (August 4)
Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi takes us to a small village to introduce us to Vivek, who suffers from blackouts. Vivek finds refuge in a cousin Osita and realizes secrets abound.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (August 11)
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson explores America’s hidden caste system and the best way to dismantle it.
Harlem Grown (August 18)
If you’re looking for a new picture book for your little one, get into this true story of how Tony Hillery turned a vacant lot into a beautiful farm.