Reading List: 2018’s Most Critically Acclaimed Books

View a more detailed description of the 2018 list.
View a list of all the critically acclaimed titles on our list from 0 to 2020.


Fiction

  1. An American Marriage: A Novel by Tayari Jones
  2. A Lucky Man: Stories by Jamel Brinkley
  3. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  4. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
  5. Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley
  6. Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden
  7. Better Late Than Never (Final Book in Reverend Curtis Black Series #15) by Kimberla Lawson Roby
  8. Envy: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray
  9. Halsey Street by Naima Coster
  10. Housegirl: A Novel by Michael Donkor
  11. Whiskey & Ribbons: A Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith
  12. They Come in All Colors by Malcolm Hansen
  13. Fifteen Years Delayed by Angelia Vernon Menchan
  14. Be My Forever Bride (The Kingsleys of Texas) by Martha Kennerson
  15. Raisins in Milk by David Covin
  16. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
  17. Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart by Alice Walker
  18. Bad Men and Wicked Women by Eric Jerome Dickey
  19. The Heiress’s Secret Romance (The Kingsleys of Texas) by Martha Kennerson
  20. Interview with Danger by Lisa Watson
  21. Moment of Truth by Michelle D. Rayford
  22. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna L. Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, and Veronica Chambers
  23. Loving Me for Me by Naleighna Kai
  24. No Right Way to Do a Wrong Thing by Janice Pernell
  25. She Would Be King: A Novel by Wayétu Moore
  26. Natural Selection (The Downriver Trilogy Book 3) by Lex Ramsay
  27. Last Class Citizen (The Downriver Trilogy Book 2) by Lex Ramsay
  28. Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry
  29. The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi Book I by Cerece Rennie Murphy
  30. Training School for Negro Girls by Camille Acker
  31. Gemini Rising by MarZé Scott
  32. Spice by Naleighna Kai, Pat G’Orge Walker, Lisa Watson, Martha Kennerson, Michelle D. Rayford, Janice Pernell, J. L. Campbell, Kisha Green, and Terri Ann Johnson
  33. Sugar by S.L. Jennings, Naleighna Kai, J.D. Mason, Shakir Rashaan, London St. Charles, Sierra Kay, Karen D. Bradley, Anita L. Roseboro, and MarZé Scott
  34. My Sister, the Serial Killer: A Novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  35. Harlem by Eric Jerome Dickey
  36. Who Is the Black Panther?: A Novel of the Marvel Universe by Jesse J. Holland
  37. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird
  38. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  39. Brother by David Chariandy
  40. Theory by Dionne Brand
  41. The Barefoot Woman by Scholastique Mukasonga

Nonfiction

  1. The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart
  2. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  3. Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires by Shomari Wills
  4. Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston and Deborah G. Plant
  5. Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
  6. Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster by Stephen L. Carter
  7. May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem by Imani Perry
  8. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele
  9. Black Ink: Literary Legends on the Peril, Power, and Pleasure of Reading and Writing by Stephanie Stokes Oliver
  10. The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism by Howard Bryant
  11. Tigerland: The Miracle on East Broad Street by Wil Haygood
  12. Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim
  13. Kathryn Magnolia Johnson by Armand Anthony Gonzalzles
  14. Africa and the Discovery of America, Vol. 3 by Leo Wiener
  15. Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist by Franchesca Ramsey
  16. The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane
  17. Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement by Janet Dewart Bell
  18. The Power of Presence by Joy Thomas Moore
  19. Little Girl Arise by Tarkisha M. Wallace
  20. We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
  21. Black Girls Rock!: Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth. by Beverly Bond
  22. Poised for Excellence: Fundamental Principles of Effective Leadership in the Boardroom and Beyond by Karima Mariama-Arthur
  23. Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life by Daymond John
  24. Lucile H. Bluford and the Kansas City Call: Activist Voice for Social Justice by Sheila Brooks and Clint C. Wilson II
  25. Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson
  26. The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
  27. Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage, and Family by David Mann and Shaun Sanders
  28. Small Country by GaëL Faye
  29. Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration by Carla Hall
  30. The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela
  31. Classroom Assessment: What Teachers Need to Know by W. James Popham
  32. The Vain Conversation by Anthony Grooms
  33. High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture by Kevin Adonis Browne

Children’s

  1. Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
  2. I Can Be Anything! Don’t Tell Me I Can’t by Leo & Diane Dillon
  3. Sing to the Moon by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl
  4. So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary D. Schmidt
  5. The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake
  6. I Am Loved by Nikki Giovanni
  7. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina
  8. Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Howard Bryant
  9. On The Come Up by Angie Thomas
  10. The Dream of America by Jacqueline Woodson
  11. The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon
  12. Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
  13. A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield
  14. The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
  15. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  16. Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson
  17. Baby Says by John Steptoe
  18. Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man by Tonya Bolden
  19. We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices by Cheryl Willis Hudson and Wade Hudson
  20. The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer
  21. Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome
  22. The 5 O’Clock Band by Troy Andrews
  23. Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan
  24. Grandad Mandela by Zazi, Ziwelene, and Zindzi Mandela
  25. The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
  26. Sydney Sunshine and the Mysterious Big Harvey (Volume 4) by Sydney McGee
  27. Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon
  28. Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
  29. Blended by Sharon M. Draper
  30. Grandma’s List by Portia Dery
  31. Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
  32. The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
  33. America Border Culture Dreamer: The Young Immigrant Experience from A to Z by Wendy Ewald
  34. Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City by Phillip Hoose
  35. The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just by Mélina Mangal
  36. Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School by Janet Halfmann
  37. Mirage by Somaiya Daud
  38. Shaka Rising: A Legend of the Warrior Prince by Luke W. Molver
  39. Mama’s Amazing Cover Cloth by Ruby Yayra Goka

Poetry

  1. American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes
  2. Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed
  3. Strut by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie
  4. If God Invented Baseball: Poems by E. Ethelbert Miller
  5. Door of No Return by Neal Hall
  6. Monument: Poems New and Selected by Natasha Trethewey
  7. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
  8. Confessions of a Barefaced Woman by Allison Joseph
  9. The Gospel According to Wild Indigo by Cyrus Cassells
  10. Refuse: Poems by Julian Randall
  11. Ghost, Like a Place by Iain Haley Pollock
  12. Approaching the Fields: Poems by Chanda Feldman
  13. Pardon My Heart: Poems by Marcus Jackson
  14. Mend: Poems by Kwoya Fagin Maples
  15. Crosslight for Youngbird by Asiya Wadud
  16. Divida by Monica Hand
  17. Doe Songs by Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné


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