January 2023 Books by Black Authors We Can't Wait to Read [UPDATED]

January 2023 Books by Black Authors We Can't Wait to Read [UPDATED]

Start the new year off right with even more great reads

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As we get ready to ring in the new year, there’s no better time to pick out a great new book. And readers will have plenty to choose from because January is coming in hot with great titles from romance to YA to memoir.

While the weather outside is pretty frightful in almost every corner of the country, curling up with a good book is a much cozier option than being out in these streets. Here are some of the books by Black authors we have on our reading list this month.

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“Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes” by Stephen A. Smith - January 17

“Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes” by Stephen A. Smith - January 17

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

One of the most recognizable faces in sports media, Stephen A. Smith has never had any problem telling it like it is. And in “Straight Shooter,” his highly-anticipated memoir, Smith tells his story of growing up poor in Queens and overcoming an undiagnosed learning disability to host his own show on ESPN. And, of course, he doesn’t miss a chance to give readers his take on Colin Kaepernick, the Dallas Cowboys and even Donald Trump.

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“River Sing Me Home” by Eleanor Shearer - January 31

“River Sing Me Home” by Eleanor Shearer - January 31

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

“River Sing Me Home” is Eleanor Shearer’s gripping debut novel about a mother’s journey across the Caribbean to find her stolen children in the aftermath of slavery. The Guardian called the book “a moving and dynamic novel,” and says Shearer writes in “clear, energetic prose.”

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“Ice Cream Man: How Augustus Jackson Made a Sweet Treat Better” by Glenda Armand - January 17

“Ice Cream Man: How Augustus Jackson Made a Sweet Treat Better” by Glenda Armand - January 17

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

In “Ice Cream Man,” Armand tells the story of August Jackson, an African American entrepreneur from the 1800s with an amazing life story. This children’s picture book introduces young readers to Jackson, a cook who worked in the White House serving presidents James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson. While there, he developed a recipe for the delicious desert we all scream for today – ice cream. The book also has recipes for readers to make their own ice cream at home.

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“The Love You Save” by Goldie Taylor - January 31

“The Love You Save” by Goldie Taylor - January 31

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Image: HarperCollins

In “The Love You Save,” veteran journalist and human rights activist Goldie Taylor recalls life growing up with her Aunt Gerald in East St. Louis after being abandoned by her mother. Despite the challenges, Taylor finds comfort in the words of writers like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. This moving memoir is a deeply personal story of trauma and perseverance against all odds.

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“How to Be a (Young) Antiracist” by Ibram X Kendi and Nic Stone - January 31

“How to Be a (Young) Antiracist” by Ibram X Kendi and Nic Stone - January 31

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

“How to Be a (Young) Antiracist” reframes the concepts included in the bestselling book “How to Be An Antiracist” for ages 12 and up. The young person’s version gives teens the tools they need to create a more just society and encourages them to undo some of the damage created by generations before them.

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“BLK ART: The Audacious Legacy of Black Artists and Models in Western Art “ by Zaria Ware

“BLK ART: The Audacious Legacy of Black Artists and Models in Western Art “ by Zaria Ware

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Image: Harper Design

Black artists have always contributed to Western art, but not many of them have received the mainstream recognition they deserve. “BLK ART” explores those contributions that have been hiding in private collections and puts them in the spotlight. You’ll be amazed at the beautiful works of art that have been under our noses.

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“Driving the Green Book: A Road Trip Through the Living History of Black Resistance” by Alvin Hall - January 31

“Driving the Green Book: A Road Trip Through the Living History of Black Resistance” by Alvin Hall - January 31

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Image: HarperOne

Between 1936 and 1967, “The Negro Motorist Green Book” was a vital resource to Black travelers, giving them a guide to where it was safe to stay and eat as they traveled around the country. In  “Driving the Green Book,” Alvin Hall takes readers on a virtual road trip visiting the stops in the original Green Book to see what they look like today. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Hall pays moving tribute to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Black Americans who hit the road, despite the dangers. This historical travelogue inspires and educates.”

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“Friday I’m in Love” by Camryn Garrett - January 10

“Friday I’m in Love” by Camryn Garrett - January 10

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

“Friday I’m in Love” is a teen rom-com that celebrates Black love and queer pride. More than anything in the world, sixteen-year-old Mahalia Harris wants to have a spectacular coming out party and catch the attention of her crush Siobhan. But in the midst of planning, Mahalia finds herself drowning in debt and unfinished school work. She desperately tries to hold it all together and make her dreams come true.

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“Wade in the Water” by Nyani Nkrumah - January 17

“Wade in the Water” by Nyani Nkrumah - January 17

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Image: HarperOne

Set in a small, segregated Mississippi town in the early 1980s, “Wade in the Water” is the touching story of an unlikely friendship between an 11-year-old Black girl and a middle-aged white woman.

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“The Girl I Am, Was, And Never Will Be: A Speculative Memoir of Transracial Adoption” by Shannon Gibney - January 10

“The Girl I Am, Was, And Never Will Be: A Speculative Memoir of Transracial Adoption” by Shannon Gibney - January 10

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

Inspired by her personal story of being a mixed-race Black girl adopted by white parents, Shannon Gibney splits herself into two characters in “The Girl I Am, Was, And Never Will Be.” The book weaves stories of her real-life experience with the fictional story of Erin Powers, the name Shannon was given at birth by the woman who gave her up for adoption. Kirkus Reviews called it, “An ambitiously authentic adoption story where fiction does the work of truth, and archives, correspondence, and health records provide the roots of fantasy.”

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“Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Dancing Diva” by Whoopi Goldberg - January 17

“Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Dancing Diva” by Whoopi Goldberg - January 17

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

“Dancing Diva” is the sixth book in the popular “Sugar Plum Ballerinas” series of children’s books from Whoopi Goldberg. Epatha wants the lead in the new Sugar Plum ballet at Harlem’s Nutcracker School of Ballet. But when she tries to spice up the choreography, everyone is not on board. Can she convince her classmates to see things her way?

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“Queenie: Godmother of Harlem” by Elizabeth Colomba and Aurélie Lévy - January 17

“Queenie: Godmother of Harlem” by Elizabeth Colomba and Aurélie Lévy - January 17

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Screenshot: Abrams Books

“Queenie” is historical graphic novel inspired by the real-life story of Stephanie Saint-Clair, an infamous criminal and a Harlem legend. Saint-Clair came to New York from Martinique in 1912, eventually finding success as a ruthless queen of Harlem’s mafia and a fierce defender of the Black community.

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“Moonrise Over New Jessup” by Jamila Minnicks - January 10

“Moonrise Over New Jessup” by Jamila Minnicks - January 10

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

“Moonrise Over New Jessup” is the debut novel from Jamila Minnicks. Winner of the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, the book tells the story of a Black woman who does whatever it takes to protect all that she loves in a fictional Alabama town at the beginning of the civil rights movement.

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“Relations: An Anthology of African and Diaspora Voices” Edited by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond - January 17 

“Relations: An Anthology of African and Diaspora Voices” Edited by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond - January 17 

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Image: HarperCollins

“Relations is a collection of stories, poems and essays from brilliant writers from African and across the diaspora. This beautifully edited work tackles issues of love, spirituality and identity from the Black perspective.

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“Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute” by Talia Hibbert - January 3

“Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute” by Talia Hibbert - January 3

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

“Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute” is the debut YA novel from New York Times bestselling author of the Brown Sisters trilogy, Talia Hibbert. The hilarious rom-com centers around a quirky girl and a clean-cut athlete who sign up for a survival course which tests their abilities to survive the great outdoors – and each other.

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“The Davenports” by Krystal Marquis - January 31

“The Davenports” by Krystal Marquis - January 31

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Image: Penguin Random House

Set in 1910 Chicago, “The Davenports” tells the story of the Davenports, a wealthy family headed by William Davenport, a former slave who establishes himself as a successful entrepreneur.

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“Decent People” by De’Shawn Charles Winslow - January 17

“Decent People” by De’Shawn Charles Winslow - January 17

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Image: Bloomsbury

Set in the segregated town of West Mills, North Carolina,“Decent People” tells the story of three siblings who are found shot to death in their home. But while the town is divided about the details of the incident and the police seem uninterested in solving the case, one woman is determined to get to the bottom of it and uncovers secrets she never imagined.

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“Daughter in Exile” by Bisi Adjapon - January 31

“Daughter in Exile” by Bisi Adjapon - January 31

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Image: HarperCollins

“Daughter in Exile” tells the story of aspiring writer Lola who has it all, a good job, a great apartment in Senegal and an active social life. But everything is turned upside down when she falls for Armand, an American Marine stationed at the U.S. Embassy. Lola is forced to chose whether she’s willing to leave everything she has behind in Senegal to follow Armand and become an undocumented immigrant in 1990s America.

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