By Terri Schlichenmeyer
All of the following books are authored or edited by people of African descent:
What happens when you take two very different women and put them together in circumstances they wouldn’t normally ask for? You’ve got the novel Butterfly Rising by HBO star Tanya Wright. This beautiful novel features a little magic and lots of dream-making. Wrap it up for your favorite dreamer this year.
Also, try Don’t Blame the Devil by Pat G’Orge-Walker.
If you’re looking for something unique for a gift, look for The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin. This novel is the story of a man who has three wives and a passel of children. When wife Number Three arrives, it upsets everything. This small novel would make a great stocking-stuffer, when added with a bookmark. For a bigger read, wrap up Full Circle by Ayana Ellis. It’s the story of a Brooklyn girl who gets involved with a gang of thugs but escapes The Life, only to dive into a life of easy money and violence with the man she loves. You won’t need a bookmark with this one; your giftee will race through this book.
Need a gift for your favorite guy? Then look for Family Ties by Ernest Hill. When a young man gets out of jail, he tries to reconnect with his mother but nothing goes right. His brother is on the lam, his mother is pointing fingers, and more.
My Darkest Hour: The Day I Realized I Was Abusive by Harold L. Turley II is one of those books that you’re going to hate to give away — but in some cases, you know you’ll have to. Here, Turley comes to terms with the abuse that he endured, and he admits that he, himself, was an abuser. There’s advice in this book and more motivation to spur readers to get the help they need. This is an amazing memoir, but give it carefully…
Got a dreamer on your gift list? Show her that you believe in those dreams by wrapping up The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haybood and Rhonda Joy McLean. This easy-to-read book is filled with food for thought, “Mama-isms” and other great motivational words, and would also make a great gift for a recent or almost college graduate. For more inspiration, look for It Is Well with My Soul by Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson with Patricia Mulcahy. The subtitle, “The Extraordinary Life of a 105-Year-Old Woman” is all you need to know…
The historian on your gift list is going to enjoy unwrapping Tradition and the Black Atlantic: Critical Theory in the African Diaspora by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This book, part history and part personal anecdote, takes a look at cultural studies from Britain to the U.S. to Africa. Also, take a look at Race and Renaissance: African Americans in Pittsburgh Since World War II by Joe W. Trotter and Jared N. Day.
This hard-hitting, hard-history book is filled with stories, graphs and lots of information, making it the perfect gift for a scholar. Also, look for At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, And Resistance by Danielle L. McGuire, subtitled “A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power.”
Your historian also will definitely love Our Black Fathers: Brave, Bold & Beautiful by Joslyn Gaines Vanderpool and Anita Royston. This book is filled with stories about and tributes to Black men, including athletes, writers, men who made a difference and men who created traditions within countries and within individual homes. Wrap it up with Dare to Take Charge by Judge Glenda Hatchett, a book about a woman who makes a difference and the stories she has to tell, or Say It Loud!, edited by Catherine Ellis and Stephen Drury Smith. That book is about great speeches on civil rights and more, and includes an mp3 CD.
Bookworm Terri Schlichenmeyer lives in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books. She welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.