Blog of’s Founder & Webmaster Celebrating our Literary Legacy #readingblack

2016Book ListsbooksEvents

378 Excellent Books, 77 Important Events

Top 100+ Recommended Children’s Books


Children book authors, industry professionals, and avid readers contributed their favorite children’s books to this list. We know children and young readers will enjoy most, if not all, of these books, as they have already brought joy to countless children.

news-zetta-elliott-small“Who Will Write a Story for the Children of Eric Garner?” by Zetta Elliott

This question came to mind last February when I was invited to prepare a ten-minute talk for the PBS program Blackademics TV. Today, as I rage over the non-indictment of yet another murderous white police officer, I might ask, “Who will write a story for the sister of Tamir Rice?”

Elliott’s poetry has been published in several anthologies, and her plays have been staged in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland. Her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. She is the author of twenty books for young readers, including the award-winning picture book Bird. Elliott is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing.

100 Essential Black Books


All of these titles are compiled in the book Sacred Fire: The QBR 100 Essential Black Books, which was published by QBR: The Black Book Review magazine in 1999. The editors of QBR tapped a panel of leading scholars, historians, authors, and booksellers to reach a consensus on works having the most significant impact across the decades—the books that matter most. The resulting list of 100 books is an impressive collection of poetry, short fiction, novels, drama, autobiography, and history.

Our Favorite 100 Books of the 20th Century


15 Years ago, we completed the voting for our own list of Our Favorite 100 African American Novels of the 20th Century. A total of 3,861 votes were cast. This list was created as a direct result of our outrage at the lack of our presence of Black writers on the Modern Library’s Best Books of the Century list.

25 Recommended New Books by African Writers


Aaron Bady, who compiled this list, is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas, teaching African literature. Aaron’s list should serve as a great introduction to contemporary African writers. Some of the writers, like Nigerian writer Chris Abani, have already earned a great deal of acclaim in the United States, while others remain relatively obscure here. In any event, I’m confident you’ll discover a book you will really enjoy.

53 Excellent Reads Coming Out Soon


To find the best in soon to bet released books, check out our list. You find a curated list of books that will be published in the next few months. Diane McKinney-Whetstone, Eric Jerome Dickey, Elizabeth Nunez, Helen Oyeyemi, and Kwame Alexander are just a few of the brilliant writers with books coming out soon.

If you are looking for a new book, that you can read today, use our list of books published in the last two months. As with our soon to be released list of books, this is a handpicked list of books, across genres, which have been recommended by industry professionals, book clubs, booksellers and avid readers.

77 Book Events – Fairs, Festivals, and Conferences


This list should have the majority of major book festivals and fairs coming up the rest of this year in the United States and Caribbean. The list includes The Kingston Book Festival, which is one of the largest book festivals in the English speaking Caribbean. It comprises 30 events over 8 days with a combined audience of more than 6,000. I’ve been invited to attend this year, and I hope to see some of you there.

A Great Deals to Promote Your Book on


Book Clubs Lead The Way


“Thank you for providing an awesome service to fellow readers across the world. I have had the love of reading since I was about 11 years old. I can remember receiving a box of books from my mom’s friend as if it were yesterday, this one box would set me onto the path that I am on today. I have quite an obsession with books and all things books and have often had a hard time finding others who are like minded when it came to books and what I was reading. Your website will provide not only a place of information but it will also connect readers with others who share the same level of passion for books as they do.” —Yvonne Bailey, Book Pearls Book Club

Pictured from left to right are Candice Henderson, Kathiria Robinson, Yvonne Bailey and Raynetta Bailey. They are holding up the book Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

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Dear Reader,

news-troy-vidCheck out a video where I talk about some of the enhancements to the website that are under way.

Some may consider today the final day of Black History Month, but I’ve decided to celebrate Black History Month all year long! Look out for the daily Black History Month updates on our discussion forums and social media, as we celebrate “366 Days of Black History.”

A big THANK YOU goes to all the readers who started their third year supporting with a paid subscription to the eNewsletter!

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As always, thanks for reading!

Peace & Love,
Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster,



Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.