The pandemic may have slowed down many things, but it did not stop amazing books from coming our way. The following is a list of 10 must-read books by black female authors that should be on your summer reading list radar.
We Should All Be Millionaires (Rachel Rodgers)
We Should all be Millionaires, a Wall Street Journal best-seller, aims to change the way women think about money and their ability to earn it. Rachel Rodgers is a CEO, business coach, mother, wife and intellectual property lawyer who founded Hello Seven to help women scale their businesses and get their earnings to 7-figures without sacrificing their families or their sanity.
With a 4.6/5 rating on Good Reads, a 5/5 on Barnes & Noble, a 5 star rating on Amazon and a 4.9/5 on Audible, it’s safe to say, we aren’t the only ones digging this one!
Professional Troublemaker (Luvvie Ajayi Jones)
If overcoming your fears to achieve your goals is the mission, let’s call Luvvie Ajayi Jones the mission controller. But, you know, a cool one — the type who makes you laugh, while barking orders and reading you for filth. Prepare to be motivated into action and laugh until your sides hurt.
Ajayi Jones is a 2x New York Times Best-selling author, a podcast host, keynote speaker (who slayed the TED stage), certified sneaker-head and a hilariously witty “Professional Troublemaker” who doesn’t hold her tongue. Read her book Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual then go grab her first one, I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual. You can thank us later.
Wings of Ebony (J. Elle)
If you want to escape reality for a bit (we don’t blame you!), this instant New York Times best-selling fantasy novel may be the one for you. In this entrancing, powerfully moving debut, a Black teen from Houston has her world turned upside down when she learns about her godly ancestry and has to save both the god and human worlds.
In Wings of Ebony, Rue, the protagonist, is the only half-god, half-human in her world. A world where the “leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering.”
Sacred Woman – 20th Anniversary Edition (Queen Afua)
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of her best-selling book, Sacred Woman, Queen Afua re-released a special edition featuring two exciting new chapters this year. Queen Afua is a highly sought-after master herbalist, often called on by the likes of Jada Pinkett-Smith, Erykah Badu and Mya, to understand how to harness the power of food. With over 50 years of experience helping others on their journey to green living and detoxing properly, this book truly encompasses her life’s work.
“Queen Afua teaches us how to love and rejoice in our bodies by spiritualizing the words we speak, the foods we eat, the relationships we attract, the spaces we live and work in, and the transcendent woman spirit we manifest.”
Bamboozled by Jesus (Yvonne Orji)
Actress and stand-up comedian, known best for her role as Molly on Issa Rae’s hit series Insecure is delivering a hilarious mix of comedy, bible study and memoir in Bamboozled by Jesus. Orji believes God is a prankster, and shares how he tricked her into living her wildest dreams.
The publisher describes it best, “This ain’t your mama’s Bible study. Yvonne infuses wit and heart in sharing pointers like why the way up is sometimes down, and how fear is synonymous to food poisoning. Her joyful, confident approach to God will inspire everyone to catapult themselves out of the mundane and into the magnificent.”
Get Over ‘I Got It’ (Elayne Fluker)
In this book, the author teaches us how to “Stop playing superwoman, get support, and remember that having it all doesn’t mean doing it all alone,” which is actually the subtitle. If you’ve suffered from feeling the need to do it all, this is the one for you as Fluker, who knows a thing (or five!) about having a busy plate, takes you by the hand teaching you how to ask for the support you need.
During the author’s 20-year media career, she held top editorial positions at Martha Stewart Living, iVillage.com, Condé Nast Digital, Essence, Latina and Vibe. As a women’s advocate, podcast host, journalist and media expert, Elayne Fluker has appeared in front of millions and is now here to tell millions why getting support is sexy.
What Would Frida Do (Arianna Davis)
Arianna Davis, Oprah Daily’s Senior Director in charge of editorial and strategy, decided to write a unique, motivating biography on Frida. Frida Kahlo, born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón, was a Mexican artist best known for her beautiful self-portraits, catchy quotes and unibrow. She was also a feminist. A force. A woman ahead of her time who endured a lot more than met the eye.
In this book, the authors helps you to find some of you in the way Frida lived. What Would Frida Do is educational, ridiculously self-reflective and inspiring.
Get Good with Money (Tiffany Aliche)
We can all benefit from getting better at managing our finances and in this recently released New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling book, the Budgetnista shares 10 steps to make readers financially whole.
“Tiffany Aliche was a successful pre-school teacher with a healthy nest egg when a recession and advice from a shady advisor put her out of a job and into a huge financial hole. As she began to chart the path to her own financial rescue, the outline of her ten-step formula for attaining both financial security and peace of mind began to take shape. These principles have now helped more than one million women worldwide save and pay off millions in debt, and begin planning for a richer life.” In other words, if you want to sort your financial life out, grab Get Good With Money.
Yolk (Jessamyn Stanley)
Jessamyn Stanley, a body positivity advocate, yoga teacher and author, shares a collection of extremely candid, humorous autobiographical essays, diving into the topics of self-love, imposter syndrome, cannabis and more.
“In Sanskrit, yoga means to “yoke.” To yoke mind and body, movement and breath, light and dark, the good and the bad. This larger idea of “yoke” is what Jessamyn Stanley calls the yoga of the everyday—a yoga that is not just about perfecting your downward dog but about applying the hard lessons learned on the mat to the even harder daily project of living.”
Just As I Am (Cicely Tyson & Michelle Burford)
This memoir by the late and great actress and advocate Cicely Tyson likely needs no introduction, but it’s here because it needs to be on everyone-who-hasn’t-yet-read-it’s reading list this summer.
From the words of Ms. Tyson herself, “Just as I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and a mother, a sister and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by his hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.”