Reading List: 2020’s Most Critically Acclaimed Books

View a more detailed description of the 2020 list.
View a list of all the critically acclaimed titles on our list from 1940 to 2021.


Fiction

  1. What A Woman’s Gotta Do by Evelyn Coleman
  2. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
  3. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  4. Deacon King Kong by James McBride
  5. It’s Not All Downhill from Here by Terry McMillan
  6. B-More Careful by Shannon Holmes
  7. Bourbon Street by Leonce Gaiter
  8. American Spy: A Novel by Lauren Wilkinson
  9. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston
  10. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
  11. Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham
  12. On the Corner of Hope and Main: A Blessings Novel by Beverly Jenkins
  13. The Awkward Black Man by Walter Mosley
  14. Blacktop Wasteland (autographed) by S. A. Cosby
  15. His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
  16. Luster by Raven Leilani
  17. Step Into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature by Kevin Powell
  18. The Stolen Daughter by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
  19. Here and Now by Kimberla Lawson Roby
  20. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  21. Romance in Marseille by Claude McKay
  22. When No One Is Watching: A Thriller by Alyssa Cole

Nonfiction

  1. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  2. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  3. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  4. The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison
  5. Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream by Mychal Denzel Smith
  6. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
  7. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  8. My Vanishing Country by Bakari Sellers
  9. Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

Children’s

  1. A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
  2. I Love My Haircut! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
  3. I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
  4. Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi
  5. Class Act by Jerry Craft
  6. King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender
  7. Follow Your Dreams, Little One by Vashti Harrison
  8. Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  9. Geese Are Never Swans by Eva Clark and Created by Kobe Bryant
  10. Different and the Same by Adijah & Atiya Brabham
  11. African by Peter Tosh
  12. A Black Woman Did That by Malaika Adero
  13. Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
  14. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Poetry

  1. Pale Colors in a Tall Field: Poems by Carl Phillips