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Black Love Reads: 3 Books by Black Authors to Add to Your Summer Reading List
by Charnaie Gordon
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June 5, 2019

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Black Love Reads: 3 Books by Black Authors to Add to Your Summer Reading List

The first day of summer is June 21, and if you’re looking for a few good books to add to your beach bag this sunny season, we’ve got you covered!

BlackLove.com has teamed up with Here Wee Read’s Charnaie Gordon to give you a bi-weekly review of must-read titles by black authors. Charnaie, a wife and mom of two from Connecticut, is passionate about instilling a love of reading, lifelong learning, and curiosity in her kids. With Here Wee Read, she shares that passion with the world by highlighting the importance of representation in books, including titles with main characters of different racial, cultural and religious backgrounds.

Related: 10 Black Children’s Book Authors to Read (Right Now!)

This week, we’ve got something for everybody — for the mama looking for a book to teach her kids about self love, for the sisters looking for words of wisdom from other Black women, and for the hopeless romantics waiting for a new release by a New York Times bestselling author. Dive in!

Credit: Kokila

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Publisher: Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 32
Age Range: 4 – 8
Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Twist outs. Braid outs. Wash-and-Go’s. Bantu knots. Locs. Afros. Braids. Top Knots. Ponytails. Today’s natural haired beauties are embracing their kinks, coils, and curls more than ever before to express their style. Just ask little Zuri. She wants to have the perfect hairstyle to welcome her mother home. Armed with an iPad, hair products, and her dad, she ends up finding the perfect look.

I adore this book for so many reasons. First, it showcases a Black father in a positive light bonding with his daughter while doing her hair. We don’t see this enough, especially in the Black community. I personally think a father caring for his daughter’s hair isn’t a loss of masculinity. In fact, I think women admire men even more who take the initiative to learn how to do hair. I love how Zuri’s dad steps up to the plate and figures out what needs to be done to do his daughter’s hair in his wife’s absence.

With the help of social media, Zuri’s father learns how to comb, part, oil, twist, and style Zuri’s hair. This experience allowed Zuri to bond with her dad in an entirely new way and likely instilled a deep pride about the heritage in her hair.

One thing I notice with my husband is he likes to bond with our kids by playing, roughhousing, teaching them a skill, or a sport. But Hair Love shows that fathers talking to their daughters about their hair is an entirely new way to bond. Just like my daughter, many girls love to see and spend time with their dad. So when a father actually does a good job on his daughter’s hair, she’ll likely respond with, “Yeah, my daddy did my hair!”…now that’s bonding. I also love how Zuri’s dad tells her that her hair is beautiful.

Daddy tells me it is beautiful. That makes me proud. I love that my hair lets me be me!

When I was younger, I remember people used to always use the word “nappy” to describe natural Black hair. That word was thrown around a lot during my childhood by children and grown-ups, and I never liked it. Since becoming an adult and embracing my own natural hair, I no longer use that word to describe my hair or anyone else’s natural hair. You have to be mindful of the things you say to children, and teach them about self-love at an early age like Zuri’s dad.

I also think Hair Love does a great job showing readers that being a father is much more than being able to provide for a family financially. Fatherhood sometimes encompasses: cooking, cleaning, AND doing hair. It may also involve showing your daughter how to love herself completely inside and out, how to appreciate her natural beauty, and how to love everything about herself. Those are things that sometimes men (and women) really don’t think about as being a father.

Lastly, the adorable illustrations by Vashti Harrison make this book a ten on the cuteness scale. Just look at how adorable the front cover is! As always, Vashti does an outstanding job telling the story through her stunning illustrations. A winner!

Credit: Amistad

New Daughters of Africa by Margaret Busby

Published by: Amistad

There’s only one word to describe this anthology – AMAZING!  It’s the most beautiful collection of literary works from over 200 strong and influential women across the world. Arranged in chronological order, you’ll find inspirational memoirs, essays, poems, letters, short stories, and speeches – all written by Black women of African descent. Topics explored include: slavery, bondage, racism, classism, sisterhood, hope, activism, belonging, identity, and self-discovery.  Some stories will leave you breathless, others will leave you with questions, and yet others will fill you with so much joy. You may even see your own life experiences being reflected to you in the pages of this book.

Although the book is quite lengthy, it’s phenomenal and well worth the read, in my opinion. I found myself savoring the stories instead of trying to rush and finish them. Amongst the 200 contributors are: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Patience Agbabi, Malorie Blackman, and Zadie Smith to name a few.

Credit: Berkley

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: July 16, 2019

I loved the books The Wedding Date and The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory, so I’m looking forward to reading this one too. Anyone else? I think all the books in this series are so fun, flirty, and lighthearted.

Synopsis from the publisher:

Maddie and Theo have two things in common:
-Alexa is their best friend
-They hate each other

After an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking, agreeing they would end it once the wedding is over. When it’s suddenly pushed up and they only have a few months left of secret rendezvouses, they find themselves regretting that the end is near. Two people this different can’t possibly have a connection other than the purely physical, right?

But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.

Read more at hereweeread.com and follow on Instagram @hereweeread!

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