The Good Lord Bird, James McBride
Recently adapted to television, this novel transforms the historical figures involved in the Harpers Ferry raid into darkly comedic, yet poignant characters. Henry Brown, leader of the uprising, strongarms a reluctant Henry, a 10-year-old slave boy, into joining his mission. In a bid to survive, Henry becomes “Onion,” a former slave girl with a penchant for drink. As Onion grapples with his identity and his desire to escape, Brown struggles with faith in his mission and his belief in the ability of whites and African-Americans to overcome the racism they’re fighting. This controversial historical event gains new depths in the skillful hands of McBride.
Published in 2013 by Riverhead Books.
Recipient of the National Book Award
for Fiction that year.
Check it out at FHG!
The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley (Audiobook, narrated by Laurence Fishburne)
Originally published in 1964, Malcolm X’s autobiography remains essential for understanding the man behind the movement. Malcolm X details his childhood and how he found himself redirected from a path of petty crime to one of leadership and assurance through his Muslim faith. In this, we begin to understand how the creation of the self is a constant act, and how Malcolm X, inspired and empowered, led a movement that is, 65 years later, not yet finished. My favorite version of this classic comes in audio format, narrated by actor and director Laurence Fishburne.
Published in 1965 by Grove Press. Audio book
version released in 2020 by Audible Studios.
Just Us: An American Conversation, Claudia Rankine
The spiritual successor to Citizen: An American Lyric, Rankine returns to her musings on race in America, imagining conversations with new conclusions, essays on current events, and striking poems that reflect Rankine’s struggle to unpack the rise of white supremacy. This collection takes on the concept of whiteness and tries to provide a new way of connecting with one another in our deeply charged society.
What if what I want from you is new, newly made
a new sentence in response to all my questions,
a swerve in our relation and the words that carry us,
the care that carries. I am here, without the shrug,
attempting to understand how what I want
and what I want from you run parallel—
justice and the openings for just us.
(excerpted from “[What does it mean to want],” included in Just US: An American Conversation)
Published in 2020 by Graywolf Press.
Named a best book of the year by
The New York Times & Time Magazine.
Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, Octavia E. Butler, illus. John Jennings, adapt. Damian Duffy
One of Octavia E. Butler’s best-loved novels, Kindred, has been adapted into a graphic format. Kindred examines the long-reaching impact of slavery across generations through Dana, a young black woman mysteriously transported from the 1970s to a plantation in the South, pre-civil war. A hallmark of feminist, Afrofuturist sci-fi, this richly imagined graphic adaptation is not to be missed.
Published by Abrams ComicArts in 2017.
Winner of the 2018 Eisner Award for
Best Adaptation from Another Medium.
Post Written By Sarah Corapi