A friend of mine asked me for a reading list for a group of black boys. What follows are twenty-five books to get us started.
• The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965). By Malcolm X and Alex Haley. This one remains a classic.
• The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845). By Frederick Douglass. Another classic.
• Between the World and Me (2015). by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Moving letter to son with deep cultural history.
• Decoded (2010). By Jay-Z. A fun, informative read. Contains variety of cool images.
• Black Boy (1945). By Richard Wright. Stands as a classic alongside Malcolm and Frederick Douglass.
• The Beautiful Struggle (2008). By Ta-Nehisi Coates. Moving story of a black boy growing up in Baltimore.
• Patternmaster (1976). By Octavia Butler. Powerful, fascinating science fiction narrative.
• The Nickel Boys (2019). By Colson Whitehead. Moving story about black boys held at a troubling reform school.
• The Underground Railroad (2016). By Colson Whitehead. Pathbreaking take on slavery & escape.
• Things Fall Apart (1958). By Chinua Achebe. Classic novel about life, onset of colonliasm in Nigeria
• Middle Passage (1990). By Charles Johnson. Captivating narrative about slavery and more.
Fiction -- young adult novels
• Miles Morales: Spider-Man (A Marvel YA Novel) (2017). by Jason Reynolds.
• When I Was the Greatest (2014). By Jason Reynolds.
• Vintage Hughes (2004). By Langston Hughes. Large selection of poems from one of our major figures.
• The Big Smoke (2013). By Adrian Matejka. Narrative in poems about heavyweight boxing champ, Jack Johnson.
• Long Way Down (2017). By Jason Reynolds. Young adult novel told in poems about gun violence.
• Black Panther Volume 1 (2017). By Ta-Nehisi Coates and others. Compelling tale, brilliantly drawn.
• Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 1 (2020). By Bryan Hill and others. Good story featuring Black Lightning, others.
• Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther (2015). By Reginald Hudlin. Good narrative about T'Challa and the folks.
• A Right to Be Hostile (2003). By Aaron McGruder. Comical story arcs about Huey Freeman and his brother.
• Farmhand Vol 1 (2019). By Rob Guillory. Funny and bizarre narrative, written & drawn by Guillory
• Quincredible Vol. 1: Quest to Be the Best! (2019). By Rodney Barnes and others. Exciting black teenage hero.
• Outliers: The Story of Success (2008). By Malcolm Gladwell. A good, intriguing read.
• The New Jim Crow (2010). By Michelle Alexander. A tough, important book on mass incarceration.
• The Warmth of Other Suns (2010). By Isabel Wilkerson. Expansive, interrelated narratives about Great Migration.