The concept of Black joy has been in existence since the beginning of the Black struggle. It is the continuous choice to choose, find, and focus on happy narratives. In a world that spotlights mostly Black books on slavery, Jim Crow, and the injustices within the World towards Black people, Black Joy is a form of active resistance. In the words of creative Kleaver Cruz, Black Joy does not “erase the difficulties of the Black experience but shows the whole truth by creating balance.”
More books by Black authors that everyone should read in their lifetime >>>
The Magical Girl’s Guide to Life: Find Your Inner Power, Fight Everyday Evil, and Save the Day with Self-Care by Jacque Aye
Created by the founder of the Adorned by Chi graphic novel series and vocal supporter of mental health awareness and self-care among Black women, this book is an extension of the magical girl brand. With advice, coupled with the beloved manga characters from the series, and writing prompts, this book is a boot camp for those wanting to be the superhero of their own lives.
Bibliophile: Diverse Spines by Jamise Harper and Jane Mount
This collection, curated to uplift the works of authors from diverse backgrounds and cultures, is a treasure trove of recommendations. The composition of doodles paired with quotes and blurbs is sure to spark joy in any avid reader.
All the Things We Never Knew by Liara Tamani
In an ode to the early 2000’s film masterpiece, Love & Basketball, this YA romance explores young non-toxic love. The innocent swoon meter is high with this title and sure to warm your heart.
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
In exploring sexuality, mental health and family, this YA contemporary novel checks all the boxes of a Hallmark movie candidate. With a protagonist that identifies as Black, bisexual and Jewish, and a vast representation of supporting characters tackling severe life issues, this novel is diversity done right.
Black Nerd Problems: Essays by Omar Holmon and William Evans
From two online personalities and influencers known for their cultural critique within geek and Blerd (Black Nerd) culture, this collection of essays explores topics from gaming to cosplay as they intersect Blackness. With humor, thought-provoking analyses, and unapologetic perspectives, this novel is laugh-out-loud, enlightening, and engaging to insiders and outsiders alike.
Simone Breaks All the Rules by Debbie Rigaud
In this coming-of-age story about a late bloomer second-generation Haitian immigrant, a “good girl” protagonist breaks bad. This YA novel is a page-turner of giggles with witty commentary and a last-ditch scheme for fun before graduation.
Blackout: A Novel by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon
This anthology is an epic collaboration of some of the hottest Black YA authors centering on young Black love in all its phases. Each author brings a different swoon-tastic element in six short stories, from new love to crushes and exes.
Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
This contemporary novel and mystery with pop culture elements and a heavy dose of 90’s hip hop give warm vibes. The storytelling skill in depicting the extreme loyalty of friendship in this emotionally wrenching tale differs from the author’s plot twisty other novels, but nonetheless elicits joy.
Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel by Ibi Zoboi
From the Marvel Universe hails an unlikely heroine story from within T’Chaka’s royal guard. This YA novel centers on the Dora Milaje and the inner city troubles of a residential neighborhood in eastern Brooklyn of New York City. This story on community, gentrification, and kinship will have you rooting, once again, “Wakanda Forever.”
Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola
This anthology reimagines folktales and myths while including new tales centered on Black love. The short stories in this compilation will appeal to romance lovers and skeptics alike.
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