I am not being at all dramatic when I tell you that these books transformed my 2018. These stories now hold a special place in my heart not only because they are written so beautifully, but because they deal with issues relevant in today’s society too. In each book, readers gain direct insight into life as a Black person, whether in America, in Ghana or in an imaginary world. And I’m so grateful that these stories are finally being told.
I love this book because it is sooooooo relatable! Starr Jackson is literally me about 15 years ago. She grew up in a neighbourhood with people from a completely different demographic to where she attended school and, as a result, had two different identities. The story is about how Starr struggles to navigate between these two worlds when the murder of her best friend forces them to collide.
I’ve never identified with a character as much as I have with Starr.
Even though her character is African-American and I’m a British-African, it’s amazing how similar our experiences have been.
Although fiction, The Hate U Give is largely based on true events. It allows people to gain insight into the workings of the Black community when a policeman devastates a neighbourhood due to brutality. It’s written from the perspective of someone who is ‘caught it the middle,’ highlighting how complex and conflicting it is to be a young Black girl in such a situation.
If you reaaaaally want to know what the Black Experience is like in America, I recommend you read this book.
Have you read the book and seen the film? If so, do you think the film did the book justice?
Speaking of the African-American experience, I’ve found them to be the pioneering voices on all things Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Until I visited Capecoast Castle in Ghana myself, at the end of 2017, I hadn’t heard any other narrative on the topic.
At Capecoast Castle, a young man led us through the male and female dungeons where the slaves were kept for up to 3 months at a time and we got to see – firsthand – where our bondage began. This was the first time I had learned about slavery from an African. And the second was through this book.
In ‘Homegoing,’ Yaa begins her storytelling journey on African soil: Ghana. She focuses on different characters throughoughout the generations which take the Ghanaian warriors all the way to America (and back again). I can vouch for the facts being accurate, which makes for a very heart-wrenching and emotionally-charged reading experience.
If you want to know about the origins of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from where it began in Africa, this is your book!
Speaking of novels breaking new ground, let me introduce you to the ‘African Harry Potter.’ Children of Blood and Bone is – wait for it – a Nigerian Fantasy-dystopian novel! And its one of the first of its kind.
Where the other two books explore the true history of Black people and their current realities, Children of Blood and Bone is set in a Nigeria, but with a fantastical twist. Even though it’s the Nigeria we know, it is infused with magic. The ruling class want to eradicate the power of the gods whilst the protagonist of the story, Zelie, is on a mission to bring magic back and free her people. Fantasy of course but with some very relevant cultural undertones, sort of like Black Panther.
This book is the first in a trilogy of books and they are currently being made into films. Book #2 will be with us this year and I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on it!
If you haven’t read any of these books, I can’t stress to you how much you need to! They will educate and crush you but they’ll make you laugh too. Definitely worth your time and money! Thank me later!
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Love you guys, Helen x