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As book bans continue to take place across the U.S., Black authors are among the authors that are most at risk of being censored.
According to an article by online education magazine EducationWeek, three out of the five most banned books are written by Black authors and are centered around discussions of race and racism.
For this holiday season, in support of Black authors, here are five fictional books to gift loved ones.
- Memphis: Written by author Tara M. Stringfellow, a former attorney and a native to the city of Memphis, this novel is a tribute to the strength of Black women. Recognized as a National Bestseller and included in Jenna’s Book Club by TODAY, Memphis follows Joan from childhood in 1995 to adulthood as she escapes with her mom and sister from violence, realizing that, as a Black family in Tennessee, violence has been a part of their lives from long before. Into adulthood, as she continues to develop her craft of painting, Joan learns to understand how much her mother and the mothers in the family before her have sacrificed to give her the life she leads.
- Perish: Perish, the debut book by author LaToya Watkins, follows the story of a Black family living in Texas. Opening up in 1955, the book chronicles the life of Helen Jean and the choices that she’s made throughout the years that have affected her family. Told in each family member’s point of view based on the chapter, the book explores the lives of Julie B., Alex, Jan and Lydia as they gather to say goodbye to Helen on her deathbed. Through this tale about family, Watkins discusses topics such as trauma, class and race.
- Patience is a Subtle Thief: Written by author Abi Ishola-Ayodeji, Patience is a Subtle Thief is set in Nigeria in the 1990s. The story follows Patience Adewale, the daughter of Chief Kolade Adewale. Dissatisfied with her sheltered life and distant relationships with her father and stepmother, Patience sets out to find her mother who was banished by her father. Along the way, she becomes involved with new groups of people, reconnecting with her cousin as well.
- What the Fireflies Knew: Written by author Kai Harris, What the Fireflies Knew is a comin-of-age story about a young girl named Kenyatta Bernice. After a family tragedy, Kenyatta, otherwise known as KB, and her sister, Nia, are sent to Michigan to live with their estranged grandfather. Living in a new town and burdened with the loss of her father and his addiction, KB navigates her new life and tries to find her own identity.
- The Undead Truth of Us: The Undead Truth of Us, released as author Britney S. Lewis’ debut novel, is a young adult novel written for audiences age 13 and up. Throughout the book, 16-year-old Zharie Young gets involved in a world with zombies as she first watches her mother transform into one before passing away. Forced to deal with an aunt who’s not interested in having a relationship with her, Young finds love in a young boy named Bo, a new neighbor who’s a zombie himself.