When a book leaves an indelible mark on you, the first thing you want to do is share it. In that spirit, The Helm’s editors have put together a list of titles by black women that have inspired and impacted our team. From literary classics to contemporary reads, we honor the voices of black women and their unwavering commitment to telling their stories authentically.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
In her powerful first novel, Morrison explores the devastating and lasting effects of incest and beauty standards.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
An intimate portrait of a family enduring threats of dissolution as they journey through the heart of the South.
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
This powerful collection of essays explores everything from Brexit to Smith’s love of libraries.
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins
This Will Be My Undoing is a sharp collection of essays that discuss how Black women are “doubly disenfranchised by race and gender” and are consistently excluded from the, mostly white, mainstream feminist movement. Delving into how Black women are “objectified, silenced, and marginalized,” Jerkins offers readers an honest and gripping assessment of the complexity of surviving as a black woman in modern American society.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
A swoon-worthy romantic comedy that will sweep you off your feet.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
A stirring love story following newlyweds who are unexpectedly separated by forces beyond their control.
Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward
A raw collection of poetry exploring mental illness, sexuality, and matters of the heart.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
An enduring classic centered around a woman’s path to spiritual fulfillment as she breaks free from dissatisfying relationships.
Unapologetic : A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene Carruthers
A comprehensive blueprint for intersectional activists working toward restorative justice.
I Am Enough by Grace Byers
A collection of positive affirmations for the kids in your life.
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Teach your kids about the trailblazing and lesser-known female figures of Black history with this picture book.
Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke
Follow JayJay and his family as they come together for a Sunday dinner full of love, affection and tasty food.
Step Into Your Power: 23 lessons On How To Live Your Best Life by Jamia Wilson
A motivational book for every young girl looking to step into her potential and make her dreams a reality.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
A West-African inspired young adult novel about the gift of magic and a young girl’s fight to keep it in her life.
Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shire
Experience a maze of emotions with Shire’s colorful verse about the bond between mother and daughter.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity and provides insights into the challenges and vulnerabilities many trans youth face.
Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
A classic feminist text that delves into the intersectional nature of racism and sexism in 20th century America.
Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
A remarkably useful self-help manual for living and thriving in a world that’s constantly in flux.