Embracing Black Joy: It's a 365 Days a Year Thing!

Hello my precious book buddies!

As we celebrate the community and educate ourselves during Black History Month, there's a request that has been brought to my attention frequently from the Black community I'd like to honor.

My shop's central message has always been to help people "decolonize their bookshelves". I share a lot of powerful books from Black authors that speak to their life and historical experience in order to educate and build empathy in those outside of the collective.

Many times these books are centering and educating on Black trauma. Something incredibly important for us to read about (because we all know it's not being taught in schools) and is pertinent to the current state of our nation. The truth of everything from slavery to the systemic racism is exposed in these stories. It's not an optional topic to read but a necessary one.

But this is not all the Black community is. Their trauma is not the complete story. It's not the beginning nor the end. 

We've all noticed the shift towards telling stories that go beyond the struggles, and that's a win in itself. But let's not forget to crank up the volume on the stories that make us want to do a happy dance. Black joy isn't just a counter-narrative; it's a celebration of life, culture, and the unbeatable spirit that refuses to back down.

THIS is what folks in Black community have asked me to share more of. And that's what I'm here to do!

Check out some picks that'll put a grin on your face while we collectively celebrate the Black community:

A magical cover for a children's book, featuring a little Black girl with midnight dark skin, short curly hair, and big black eyes, reaching up with her tiny, chubby fingers on her left hand. The background looks like a galaxy with the titles, Sulwe, is sparkly cursive at the top of the book.

1. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o's book is like a warm hug celebrating self-love and acceptance. I do not care what age you are or even if you have kids. This book is for everyone everywhere, and the illustrations are downright heartwarming. 

A young, plus sized, Black girl with a pink heart mini backpack and skirt stands in the alley way with two other friends. In the back ground looks like a fairytale castle.

2. In Search of Superpowers: A Fantasy Pin World Adventure by Briana Lawrence

First off. Can we talk about this adorable cover!!!!??? I'm obsessed. The premise? A few kids receive enamel pins that give them super powers. They use these to go on a mission to find out what's really going on with the new amusement park.

Cuteness overload.

3. Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender

Absolutely adorable, queer, young love, kind of story. This book features Lark, who wants to be a writer and begins posting on social media. Kasim, Lark's bestie, accidentally posts a thread on Lark's Twitter declaring his love for a secret, unrequited crush. The whole school goes nuts and the journey towards love begins.

4. Witchful Thinking by Celestine Martin

When a wish turns into a spell gone wrong, Lucinda can no longer say no. 10ks, a public karaoke performance, and to helping her high school crush unjinx their house...Lucinda is doing it all! Now if only she can convince her world-traveling crush to stay in that home-across the street from hers-for good.

It's a cozy romantasy!!! You know you wanna read this!

5. Awoke: A New Adult Paranormal Fantasy (Unseen War) by K T Conte

I know I keep mentioning the covers but...LOOK AT IT. You cannot tell me that ain't a sexy cover. This brand new fantasy is anything but typical. Love between a mortal and a Reaper, as in a GRIM reaper??? Yeah, buckle up for this ride.

6. How to Grow: Nurture Your Garden, Nurture Yourself by Marcus Bridgewater

Marcus has been labeled the Bob Ross and Mister Rogers of gardening. He doesn't just talk about caring for plants but also ourselves; hence the title of the book. This is a hobby and self-help book all rolled into one.

7. The Wealth Decision: 10 Simple Steps to Achieve Financial Freedom and Build Generational Wealth by Dominique Broadway

My name twin is a self-made, first-generation, millionaire who is wanting to share her knowledge to help others. I don't know about you-but I'd guess learning to become a millionaire would definitely bring in some joy for a lot of people!

8. Cooking from the Spirit: Easy, Delicious, and Joyful Plant-Based Inspirations by Tabitha Brown

I've been watching Ms. Tabitha since lockdown. Seeing this gentle human touch so many lives since is highly celebratory. Her warm-hug of a voice along with her storytelling really does draw you in. And even if your not vegan, her food looks pretty damn good.

9. The Sacrifice: When Transition Looks Like Chaos by Youmie Jean Francois

Sometimes joy comes in seeing how far you've come. In debut author Youmie Jean Francois' book, The Sacrifice, she covers a wide range of emotions one experiences from overcoming hardships. One of those key emotions being: hope.

10. Ghost Roast by Shawneé Gibbs 

How do you fit in when your dad won't stop advertising his "paranormal removal services"?? Well, Chelsea is gonna have to figure this out while working for dad all summer and figuring out how to help Oliver, the friendly (and handsome) spirit they're supposed to exercise from a mansion!

Here is just a sampling of books not centered on trauma, but on Black people doing all the stuff we love to read about. (And if you're wondering, YES! ALL of these books are not just stories ABOUT Black people but are BY Black people.)

Let's make sure every day is a celebration of Black joy; the diversity, strength, and pure awesomeness within the Black community. 

All of these books can be found in the shop, but you can check out all of our other Black stories HERE.

Tell me in the comments which book you wanna dive in first!

Need the audiobooks of these stories? Head over to our audiobook partner, Libro.fm, to support the shop with your purchase!

Sending you good vibes and joyous reads,

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