10 Empowering Books Every Black Woman Should Read 2023

Last Updated on November 8, 2022

Are you a black woman looking for an empowering book to read? Then, we’ve got you covered. This article highlights 10 empowering books every black woman should read. Keep reading for more information.

Empowering Books Every Black Woman Should Read

Gone are the days when black women were confined to specific roles or careers. There are several role models that young African girls can look up to, from powerful female African women in politics, such as President Samia Suluhu Hassan, to scientists like Mae Carol Jemison. Everyone has a story, and maybe your success story will begin with an inspiring book that you read.

10 Empowering Books Every Black Woman Should Read

1. Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu

This memoir by Whiting Award-winning Nadia Owusu is among the books every woman should read. It tells the story of how she struggled to belong and was burdened with family secrets. Her mother had abandoned her when she was 2, and her dad died when she was 13.

Nadia struggles to rebuild her life in a strange place and eventually pulled through. Aftershocks is one of the good books to read for black woman as it inspires and gives hope to those face similar or related hardships.

2. My Dear Queen by Lawrence Carroll

Are you ashamed of your thick, tough black hair? Reading My Dear Queen short poem book will encourage you to celebrate, accept, and embrace the beauty of your natural hair and proudly wear it in any style. It can be used to invoke conversation about personal hair journeys and the significance of ethnic hair in historical and modern times.

The book has compelling pictures that add a layer of visual emotion so that the reader can imagine themselves as the recipient of the words in the poem. The 24-page book is appropriate for readers between ages 2 – 18 years, making it one of the books that a 14 year old should read.

3. White Feminism by Koa Beck

Looking for empowering books for black females? Then pick White Feminism as it addresses current conversations about race, empowerment, and inclusion in America.

It examines the history of feminism, shedding light on the broad landscapes of systemic oppression and demands that white feminism evolves and creates a more inclusive new era of feminism.

4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give is a tale of the struggle between choosing right or wrong and the fear of doing something with an unforgettable impact. The story is about a sixteen-year-old Starr Carter who moves between the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends.

The book shows how people might want to change things that they do not choose to born with, to make others accept and love them.

5. Surviving the White Gaze by Rebecca Carroll

This memoir is about adoption, belonging, and racism. Unlike early childhood, Carroll feels isolated as she grew older, being the only Black person in New Hampshire town. She desires her birth mother’s acceptance while staying loyal to her adoptive parents as she searches for her racial identity.

The author struggled with difficult boyfriends, eating disorders, depression, and excessive drinking. Luckily, through the support of her chosen black family, she healed.

6. 21 Days to a Big Idea by Bryan Mattimore

This book for all aspiring entrepreneurs may help you discover and execute your first, next, or most significant idea of becoming a successful young black female executive. Here, the innovation guru of Fortune 500 firms Bryan Mattimore shares a proven twenty-one-day process for inventing and developing a breakthrough idea for a new product, service, or business.

7. Libertie: A Novel by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Libertie was also named One of the Most-Anticipated Books of 2021 by The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. This novel is inspired by the life of one of the first Black woman doctors in the U.S. during Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, who struggles to be fully, and only, herself.

Libertie Sampson’s light-skinned mother is a purposeful, practicing physician who wants her daughter to go to medical school and practice alongside her. However, Libertie, stifled by her mother’s decisions, is drawn more to music than science. She felt insubordinate to her fiancee, which made her wonder what freedom actually means for a Black woman.

8. Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cotton

Thick is a book on self-awareness and individual acceptance in a racist world. It contains several essays on money, beauty, body positivity, and racism, among others.

The transgressive, provocative, and brilliant pieces will help you deeply understand power-holding things related to the structural racism that whites would label as anomalies.

9. How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue

How Beautiful We Were is an expansive, suspenseful novel set in a fictional town in Africa, Kosawa. It is about a community that fights back against dictatorship and environmental pollution through a fearless young woman, Thula, who starts a revolution against an American oil company.

This is one of the empowering books for black millennials that explores what happens when the reckless drive for profit and the ghost of colonialism can be overpowered by the willingness of leaders to sacrifice everything for the sake of their people’s freedom.

10. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

This is the story of shy Shonda Rhimes journey to becoming a successful celebrity after opening up and learning the importance of the word yes. This is one of the books with black female leads that will help any young woman make a name for herself as it encourages one to explore, empower, applaud, and love their truest self.

11. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Published in 2006, Their Eyes Were Watching God remains one of the books about black love that young African women should read in 2021. It follows the protagonist Janie Crawford’s life, particularly her three marriages and journey to define herself as an independent, self-determined woman.

12. Purple Hibiscus: A Novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This 320-paged novel is about fifteen-year-old Kambili, who lives a sheltered life in Nigeria. Although everything looks perfect from the outside, Kambili and her older brother are abused by their fanatically and tyrannical religious father.

Due to a military coup, the two are sent to live with their aunt, a university professor. Kambili is exposed to a new world, and she looks for strength and independence to fix what her father has done to her family.

Powerful family bonds, the emotional turmoil of adolescence, and the bright promise of freedom examined in Purple Hibiscus make it one of the books a 19-year-old should read.

13. Becoming: Michelle Obama by Michelle Obama

This is an intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir of the former first lady of the US, Michelle Obama. Becoming: Michelle Obama is top on the list of books every black woman should read.

It narrates the experiences that have shaped Michelle from her early years on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work to her time spent at the White House.

14. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o

Sulwe is a New York Times bestseller by Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o. It is a powerful, inspiring picture book about colourism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe is darker than everyone in her family and school. She desires to be beautiful and bright like her mother and sister, but her perspective of her skin changes when she experiences a magical journey in the night sky. Sulwe inspires Africans to embrace their unique beauty, therefore, one of the appropriate books for black teenage girls.

15. Legacies: A Guide for Young Women in Planning Their Future by Constance Gipson and Hazel Mahone, Ed.D.

This book is one of the books black women should read as it blends history, biography, poetry, and essays to discuss the rich history and heritage of African and Black women. It covers topics on race and culture, relationships, and self-sufficiency. It has interactive tools and activities to help young women plan for their future, focusing on the STEM fields.

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