reading for change: black history month, black authors.

I’m an avid reader: most of you know that already. But I’m not always the most intentional reader. Too often, I’m an in-the-moment reader. I don’t read a book I’ve always wanted to read, but I jump on the latest book launch, or I hastily buy the newest on-sale novel for my Kindle.

While my reading selections have improved over the past couple of years, there remains a good deal of books I continue to push to the side when I prioritize some of these in-the-moment reading decisions.

Alexandre Dulaunoy
Flickr Creative Commons: Alexandre Dulaunoy.

The thing is, I want to be a person of intentionality, not just in the books I read but in every area of my life.

Are you with me?

That’s why I’m reading for change: Join me as I only read books written by black authors for Black History Month.  

For me, I’m passionate about issues of racial justice – and to learn and grow and better enter into the discussion, I need to understand the discussion. One way you and I can do this is by reading. As long as I continue to read authors that are easy for me to read (see: white, Christian women), I won’t necessarily be challenged. In my comfort, I won’t necessarily learn about experiences outside of my own. I won’t necessarily be changed.

So, that’s why I’ve decided to read with intention in February. Would you consider reading alongside my friend Kelley, me and a handful of other bloggers?

That’s step one.

Here’s step two: figure out which books you’re going to read. If you need help in this arena, I’d love for you to join me in reading one (or more) of the four books listed below. And, if you want, enter into a discussion on the date listed below. Leave a comment or link up the day of on my blog. Share a post on your own website. Rally a group of friends together and hold an informal book club. Take a selfie next to the book and post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

But most of all, dare to dialogue about how the book changed you. 

2/22: Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Non Fiction). Or, read about a piece of history from another black author.

2/23: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Fiction). If you’ve read Americanah, you won’t want to miss her story here as well. Also, be sure to check out the words of Caris and Annie that day, too.

2/24: Trouble I’ve Seen by Drew G. I. Hart (Christian Non Fiction). I’m giddy to find out the answer to this question: “What if racial reconciliation doesn’t look like what you expected?”

2/25: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (YA Memoir). Not only did the book win numerous awards, but according to Modern Mrs. Darcy it’s quite the read on Audible (or however you choose to consume audiobooks). You won’t want to miss posts by Osheta and Jamie on this day as well.

If you still don’t know what to read, Kelley has a list of her best reads on race, and Deidra does a monthly book club of reads by black authors. Also, the Red Couch Book Club is reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me for its March selection, so consider joining in then. It’s a powerful one, that’s for sure.

I can’t wait to see the change February has for us!

xo, c.

I’m dreaming big with this: What if we read for change every couple of months, highlighting a different people group? This could bring change, y’all, it could, it could. As per black authors, what ONE book by ONE black author are you hoping to read? 

*Contains Amazon Affiliate links, yo. Thanks for helping me stick it to my reading habit!

6 thoughts on “reading for change: black history month, black authors.

  1. Love this little “push” Cara!! “The New Jim Crowe” has been sitting on my shelf for nearly two years, as I never got to finish it for a class, but maybe now NEEDS to be the time. It is there – no need for me to spend any more money on books, just take off the shelf that which has been ignored.

    As you consider having an ongoing theme of reading about other people groups, look into “SEED” – I can get you more information. It is a study group for diversity work, and in my district, the way it is organized is like a monthly book club. Every month for a school year, we read a book about a different group of people, or a different lifestyle than the mainstream, and then we met for class (4 hours) and worked through our own biases, our learning, and helped support one another to expand our world view. I could get you the book list we used, too, because they are all on my shelf, waiting to be finished. (The biggest lesson I learned that year was, sadly, “don’t take an intense new course while you are trying to figure out an intense new job.”) 🙂 oops…

    1. Jen Baum, PLEASE read The New Jim Crowe, and then tell me all about it. I too am trying to be “good” about not buying new books and actually reading through those that already live on the to-read shelf. And definitely email me information about SEED – that sounds exactly like what I’d love to see happen. I don’t think I’ll do this every month, but I DO think it’d be pretty cool to see happen every couple of months …and there are already a few other people who’ve approached me about the idea. AWESOME. xo.

      Cara Meredith

      writer, speaker, musician.


  2. I’ll be reading “I Write What I Like” by Steve Biko.

    And I just ordered “Robert Sobukwe–How Can Man Die Better.”

    Two South African revolutionaries.

    I want to lean into black women’s voices alongside this, though. So, Chimamandie is a favourite and I haven’t yet read “Purple Hibiscus.”

    Thank you for doing this, Cara and Kelley!

    1. Ugh. The list of books to read is always too long …especially since I just want to add these two to my list now! Thanks for supporting us – it’s fun seeing the excitement around the inter webs. 🙂

      Cara Meredith

      writer, speaker, musician.


  3. So appreciated this push to look at my “to read” list and choose intentionally! I have been wanting to read one of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s books ever since I saw her TED talk a couple years ago. Just finished “Americanah” and “We Should All Be Feminists” and am looking forward to reading “Purple Hibiscus” next.

    1. Taija, awesome! I am a big fan of her books: she’s such a powerful storyteller and she makes me think! I also just started “Half of a Yellow Sun,” and am not loving it, but maybe it’ll grow on me. Happy reading!

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