Sacramento Public Library

Spotlight on Fiction and Poetry by Black Women

    A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter

    A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter - Nikki Giovanni

    A celebrated American poet offers an intimate, affecting and revealing look at her personal history and the mysteries of her own heart, taking us into her confidence as she ruminates on her life and the people who have helped shape her into the woman she has become.
    A Kind of Freedom

    A Kind of Freedom - Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

    Explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through the story of three generations of an African American family in New Orleans.
    An American Marriage

    An American Marriage - Tayari Jones

    When her new husband is arrested and imprisoned for a crime she knows he did not commit, a rising artist takes comfort in a longtime friendship, only to encounter unexpected challenges in resuming her life when her husband's sentence is suddenly overturned.
    Another Brooklyn

    Another Brooklyn - Jacqueline Woodson

    Torn between the fantasies of her youth and the realities of a life marked by violence and abandonment, August reunites with a beloved old friend who challenges her to reconcile past inconsistencies and come to terms with the difficulties that forced her to grow up too quickly.
    Black Crow Dress

    Black Crow Dress - Roxane Beth Johnson

    A haunting collection of lyrically-intense persona poems, Black Crow Dress is at once about the emancipation of slaves in their myriad voices as well as a meditation on the self. The collection's lush imagery takes us from church yard to church, chanting the old spirituals, as Johnson seeks to embody the spirits of the dead: Clea, Caroline and Zebedee.
    Blood Memory

    Blood Memory - Colleen J. McElroy

    Through the rhythms and musicality unique to Colleen McElroy's voice, Blood Memory portrays an extended family, a complex culture spanning several decades, multiple victories and failures, and a single brilliant soul that frames the poems.
    Bluebird, Bluebird

    Bluebird, Bluebird - Attica Locke

    Forced by duty to return to his racially divided East Texas hometown, an African-American Texas Ranger risks his job and reputation to investigate a highly charged double murder case involving a black Chicago lawyer and a local white woman. By the award-winning author of Pleasantville.
    Citizen: An American Lyric

    Citizen: An American Lyric - Claudia Rankine

    Collects essays, poetry, and images that expose the racial tensions in twenty-first century life, highlighting the slights, slips of the tongue, and intentional offensives that pervade the home, school, and popular media.

    Citizens Creek

    Citizens Creek - Lalita Tademy

    Buying his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian wars, Cow Tom builds a remarkable life and legacy that is sustained by his courageous granddaughter.
    Collected Poems: 1974-2004

    Collected Poems: 1974-2004 - Rita Dove

    Showcases the diversity of the poet's work, including such topics as love, Greek myths, and America's kaleidoscopic cultural heritage.
    Difficult Women

    Difficult Women - Roxane Gay

    A collection of stories by the award-winning author of Bad Feminist explores the hardscrabble lives, passionate loves and quirky human connections experienced by diverse protagonists, including a woman who pretends she does not know that her husband and his identical twin switch places with her.

    Disgruntled - Asali Solomon

    In a powerful coming-of-age tale that also doubles as a portrait of Philadelphia in the late 80s and early 90s, Kenya Curtis, who knows that she is different, but can't put her finger on why, grows increasingly disgruntled by her inability to find any place, thing or person that feels like home.
    Electric Arches

    Electric Arches - Eve L. Ewing

    Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of Black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose.
    Halsey Street

    Halsey Street - Naima Coster

    A modern-day story of family, loss, and renewal, Halsey Street captures the deeply human need to belong-not only to a place but to one another.

    Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi

    Two half sisters, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana and experience profoundly different lives and legacies throughout subsequent generations marked by wealth, slavery, war, coal mining, the Great Migration and the realities of 20th-century Harlem.
    How to Get Over

    How to Get Over - T'ai Freedom Ford

    Winner of the Feminist Wire's inaugural poetry contest, ford debuts with a fiery collection that uses language both evocatively rich and colloquially sharp and sly to capture the African American experience.
    Into the Go-Slow

    Into the Go-Slow - Bridgett M. Davis

    A novel about sisters, the legacy of the Black Power Movement, and the troubled bond between African Americans and Africans.
    Life on Mars

    Life on Mars - Tracy K. Smith

    With allusions to David Bowie and interplanetary travel, Life on Mars imagines a soundtrack for the universe to accompany the discoveries, failures, and oddities of human existence. In these brilliant new poems, Tracy K. Smith envisions a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant, and revisits the kitschy concepts like "love" and "illness" now relegated to the Museum of Obsolescence.
    Magic City Gospel

    Magic City Gospel - Ashley M. Jones

    Rona Jaffe Award winner Jones explores race, identity, history, and Birmingham, AL, in this debut collection.
    Mouths Don't Speak

    Mouths Don't Speak - Katie D. Ulysse

    After the 2010 Haitian earthquake tears her family apart, a Haitian immigrant in the U.S. tries to deal with the emotional fallout.

    Oreo - Fran Ross

    Oreo, a biracial black girl from Philadelphia, searches for her Jewish father in New York City, navigating the labyrinth of sound studios, brothels, and subway tunnels of Manhattan in a journey of self-discovery.
    Play Dead

    Play Dead - Francine J. Harris

    Identity, gender and race politics all collide ferociously in this unflinching collection that actively cuts through cultural and social constructs.
    Queen Sugar

    Queen Sugar - Natalie Baszile

    Hoping for a new start when she unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm, Charley moves to Louisiana, where she confronts her grandmother's judgmental beliefs while balancing the farm's overwhelming challenges with the needs of her homesick daughter, her troubled brother and her own yearning heart.

    Semiautomatic - Evie Shockley

    Award-winning poet Shockley investigates the ongoing abuses suffered by African Americans while connecting them to sociopolitical threats worldwide.
    Starshine & Clay

    Starshine & Clay - Kamilah Aisha Moon

    In language mesmerizingly blunt-spoken and honest, then sliding into starshine (the title as a whole comes from poet Lucille Clifton), Pushcart Prize winner Moon makes vital art of the African American experience.
    Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

    Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth - Warsan Shire

    A collection of writings about finding grace in grieving.
    The Mothers

    The Mothers - Brit Bennett

    In a contemporary black community, seventeen-year-old Nadia Turner mourns the suicide of her mother, leading her to take up with the local pastor's son, but the resulting pregnancy and the subsequent cover-up will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth.
    The Star Side of Bird Hill

    The Star Side of Bird Hill - Naomi Jackson

    Suddenly sent from their home in Brooklyn to Bird Hill in Barbados after their mother can no longer care for them, sisters Phaedra and Dionne spend the summer of 1989 living with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah.
    The Summer We Got Free

    The Summer We Got Free - Mia McKenzie

    At one time a wild young girl and a brilliant artist, Ava Delaney changes dramatically after a violent event that rocks her entire family. Once loved and respected in their community and in their church, the Delaneys are ostracized by their neighbors, led by their church leader, and a seventeen year feud ensues.
    The Talented Ribkins

    The Talented Ribkins - Ladee Hubbard

    A wildly inventive novel tells the story of Johnny Ribkins, a 72-year-old African-American antiques dealer and patriarch of a gifted family, the members of which sometimes stumble in their efforts to succeed in life.
    The Turner House

    The Turner House - Angela Flournoy

    A novel centered on the journey of the Turner family and its thirteen siblings, particularly the eldest and youngest, as they face the ghosts of their pasts—both an actual haint and the specter of addiction—the imminent loss of their mother, and the necessary abandonment of their family home in struggling Detroit
    The Wide Circumference of Love

    The Wide Circumference of Love - Marita Golden

    A respected family court judge who has spent her life making tough calls, Diane Tate must make the toughest one yet in her own life when her 68-year-old husband is diagnosed with early onset dementia and, along with her children, must reexamine her connection to the man he once was—and learn to love the man he has become.
    There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce

    There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce - Morgan Parker

    These poems weave between personal narrative and pop-cultural criticism, examining and confronting modern media, consumption, feminism, and Blackness. This collection explores femininity and race in the contemporary American political climate, folding in references from jazz standards, visual art, personal family history, and Hip Hop. The voice of this book is a multifarious one: writing and rewriting bodies, stories, and histories of the past, as well as uttering and bearing witness to the truth of the present, and actively probing toward a new self, an actualized self.
    Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems

    Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems - Robin Coste Lewis

    Robin Coste Lewis’s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self.
    We are Taking Only What We Need: Stories

    We are Taking Only What We Need: Stories - Stephanie Watts Powell

    In these powerfully rendered, prizewinning stories, working-class African Americans across the South strive for meaning and search for direction in lives shaped by forces beyond their control. The ten stories in this resonant collection deal with both the ties that bind and the gulf that separates generations, from children confronting the fallibility of their own parents for the first time to adults finding themselves forced to start over again and again.
    We Love You, Charlie Freeman

    We Love You, Charlie Freeman - Kaitlyn Greenidge

    An African-American, sign-language-fluent family is hired by a private research institute—with a shocking, secret past—to teach sign language to a chimpanzee who will live as part of their household.
    What We Lose

    What We Lose - Zinzi Clemmons

    Raised in America, the multiracial daughter of a mother from Johannesburg struggles with her mother's terminal cancer and her own need to find love and a place to belong, quests shaped by losses, changes in her sense of identity and unexpected motherhood.
    Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?: Stories

    Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?: Stories - Kathleen Collins

    A collection of newly found stories by the late playwright and filmmaker explores race, gender, family, and sexuality.
    Where the Line Bleeds

    Where the Line Bleeds - Jesmyn Ward

    Where the Line Bleeds is Jesmyn Ward’s gorgeous first novel and the first of three novels set in Bois Sauvage—followed by Salvage the Bones and Sing, Unburied, Sing—comprising a loose trilogy about small town sourthern family life.
    Witch Wife

    Witch Wife - Kiki Petrosino

    With wit, startling diction, and audacious manipulation of syntax and form, Witch Wife’s incantatory poems bring forth wild, singular music.
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