15 Amazing Books For Traveling Black Women
By Rachel George
It’s summertime and peak traveling season. There’s no better time to crack open a new book than now. Why not shed light on various forms of literature changing the way women view the world?
We compiled a reading list that includes a plethora of award-winning authors, journalists, and activist, sharing some of their most intimate encounters in various parts of the world. These are stories of encouragement, self-identity, and history lessons inspiring women.
Here the 15 amazing books we suggest black women read on the way to their next travel destination.
Nothing is more encouraging than reading the stories of other millennials and how they paved their own way to success despite living in a relatively racist environment. That’s why I was happy when a friend recommended this book to me a millennial myself.
Influenced by Adeyemi’s West African heritage, this book is told through the eyes of children and their siblings and is enriched with themes of betrayal, friendship, and love that resonate with today’s political climate. This book is filled with alluring writing, a mesmerizing fantasy landscape with a strong emphasis on faith, justice, and revolution. Be careful, I hear there’s a bit of a cliffhanger and it’s the first book of a trilogy.
Toni Morrison is one of the most celebrated authoresses of the last four decades. Through a diverse assembly of essays, speeches and meditations with commentary of her own work (Beloved, Sula, The Bluest Eye) and others, she tackles social issues like human rights, female empowerment and more. It also includes a touching eulogy for James Baldwin and her searching meditation on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bernard opens the book with starling violent explanation of her stabbing. “This book was conceived in a hospital. It was 2001, and I was recovering from surgery on my lower bowel, which had been damaged in a stabbing.” Through essays of her progression and thought-provoking encounters, Bernard explores what it means to be a black woman in a predominately white neighborhood, her interracial marriage and the enigmas of her multiple roles as a black woman, mother, wife, daughter, educator, and writer.
Some of the best book recommendations come from Oprah’s Book Club, according to avid reader Kea Westmoreland who enjoyed An American Marriage. In An American Marriage, trials and hardships test a newlywed couple’s faith, marriage, patience, and unconditional love.
On the Come Up pays homage to women in hip hop so that their voices are never dismissed. It details the story of a teen rapper striving to become one of the greatest rappers of all time, stories relatable to some of your favorite rappers now. She struggles between not falling into the shadows of her hip hop legend parent while dealing with the effects of economic, racial, and gender stereotypes and police brutality.
This is the book for Beyhive members or any women channeling her inner Beyonce while on vacation. Beyonce is the epitome of women’s empowerment and support, and her track record more than proves that. This celebration memoir, edited by journalist Isabel Gonzalez Whitaker and New York Times Best Selling editor Veronica Chambers, features essays by Ebro Darden, Lena Waithe, Michael Eric Dyson, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Luvvie Ajayi.
Queenie is like most young adults today, struggling to fit in at work, looking for love in all the wrong places, and making questionable decisions affecting the rest of our life. The book is relatable, refreshing, and quite hilarious, while still addressing issues like feminism, racism, code-switching, and mental health.
Numerous travel bloggers recommend this collection of travel stories by black women who traveled to China, Alaska, Australia, Colombia, and more in hopes of expanding new horizons and reflecting on their goals.
“Elaine Lee’s anthology of 52 travel stories written by black women introduced me to a new world. They lost their way, found acceptance, expanded their horizons, and took the trips of their dreams. Their stories were brain awakeners. Their stories let me know I wasn’t alone,” one blogger said.
Between the book and the movie, the main character Janie struggles with self-identity and love through different relationships, establishing her identity and boosting her self-esteem in the end. This was the first book I had read by Zora Neale Hurston and it reminded me that as women, no matter our relationships, we must be strong enough to maintain our own identity in relationships. Actors Halle Berry starred as “Janie” and Michael Ealy as “Tea Cake” in the film produced by Oprah Winfrey in 2005.
Gloria Edim put together a carefully selected collection of essays by black women writers and contributors, which include Gabourey Sidibe, Jesmyn Ward, Jacqueline Woodson, Tayari Jones, and Barbara, author of Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology. Nominated for an NAACP Image Award, this book explores the complexities of black femalehood across various backgrounds and ethnicities.
In a tell-all memoir, former Editor in Chief of Teen Vogue, Elaine Welteroth, details how she climbed the ladder of success through her outstanding media and fashion career. She shares her ups and downs, and her struggles of rising to the top of one of the leading magazines.
Author Johny Pitts has spent years exploring the correlation between his Black and European culture. He founded Afropean, a cultural platform encouraging dialogue between both communities and their cultural influences on one another.
Activist and author Jill Nelson captured the essence of African American history at Martha’s Vineyard. The book shares photographs, historical details, and personal narratives, fused in with Nelson’s own personal reminiscences as a lifelong Vineyard resident. She also interviewed descendants of groups that settled on the Vineyard and in Oak Bluffs.
This book chronicles the first all African American team to climb Alaska’s Denali, the highest point in North America. Enthusiastic outdoorsman and journalist James E. Mills wanted to increase the minority population partaking in outdoor adventures. “This is important because as our country grows increasingly multicultural, our natural legacy will need the devotion of people of all races and ethnicities to steward its care.”