Book List

2021's Best Books About Being Black in America

  • NONFICTION

    BOYZ N THE VOID

    MAY 11, 2021

NONFICTION

BOYZ N THE VOID

by G'Ra Asim

Part memoir, part rebel yell of a love letter to idiosyncratic young Black men trying to find their ways in the world. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    CAREFREE BLACK GIRLS

    OCT. 19, 2021

NONFICTION

CAREFREE BLACK GIRLS

by Zeba Blay

An insightful, provocative, heartfelt blend of memoir and social commentary that is as revelatory as it is celebratory. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

    JAN. 26, 2021

NONFICTION

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

by Charles M. Blow

Valuable as a thought experiment alone but also an “actual plan” for effecting lasting political change. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    UNBOUND

    SEPT. 14, 2021

NONFICTION

UNBOUND

by Tarana Burke

An unforgettable page-turner of a life story rendered with endless grace and grit. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    SURVIVING THE WHITE GAZE

    FEB. 2, 2021

  • NONFICTION

    WHAT WHITE PEOPLE CAN DO NEXT

    JUNE 22, 2021

NONFICTION

WHAT WHITE PEOPLE CAN DO NEXT

by Emma Dabiri

A must-read for anyone seeking to be an agent of much-needed societal change. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    ENTERTAINING RACE

    NOV. 2, 2021

NONFICTION

ENTERTAINING RACE

by Michael Eric Dyson

A thoughtful, elegantly argued contribution to the literature of Black lives in America. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    THE BLACK CHURCH

    FEB. 16, 2021

NONFICTION

THE BLACK CHURCH

by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Powerful, poignant, and ultimately celebratory. Let the church say, “Amen!” Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    RACISM, NOT RACE

    DEC. 7, 2021

NONFICTION

RACISM, NOT RACE

by Joseph L. Graves Jr. & Alan H. Goodman

An entertaining and informative read that will serve as a jumping-off point for countless discussions about racism. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    READ UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND

    SEPT. 14, 2021

NONFICTION

READ UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND

by Farah Jasmine Griffin

The power of reading provides the emotional engine driving this insightful, profound, and heartfelt book. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    STATE OF EMERGENCY

    MAY 11, 2021

CURRENT EVENTS & SOCIAL ISSUES

STATE OF EMERGENCY

by Tamika D. Mallory with Ashley A. Coleman

An urgent call for racial justice that demands attention, discussion, and action. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    SOMETIMES I TRIP ON HOW HAPPY WE COULD BE

    AUG. 17, 2021

NONFICTION

SOMETIMES I TRIP ON HOW HAPPY WE COULD BE

by Nichole Perkins

Fans will appreciate this closer look into Perkins' life and adventures, and newcomers will get to know her well. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    LETTERS TO MY WHITE MALE FRIENDS

    JUNE 15, 2021

NONFICTION

LETTERS TO MY WHITE MALE FRIENDS

by Dax-Devlon Ross

A fiery, eloquent call to action for White men who want to be on the right side of history. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    HOW THE WORD IS PASSED

    JUNE 1, 2021

HISTORY

HOW THE WORD IS PASSED

by Clint Smith III

A brilliant, vital work about “a crime that is still unfolding.” Full review >

FULL REVIEW >

More Book Lists

The Magazine: Kirkus Reviews

We continue our coverage of 2021's best books with our favorite children's and YA titles of the year plus our regular Dec. 1 issue. 

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  • The Kirkus Star

    One of the most coveted designations in the book industry, the Kirkus Star marks books of exceptional merit.

  • The Kirkus Prize

    The Kirkus Prize is among the richest literary awards in America, awarding $50,000 in three categories annually.

    See the 2020 winners.

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