#ColorlinesReads: Fall Into These Books This Autumn

By catherine lizette gonzalez Sep 18, 2019

It’s not easy saying goodbye to summer. But if you’re a bibliophile, then you know that autumn—with its long and cozy nights—is the ideal time to curl up with a tantalizing read. Many of these books uncover hidden truths and reconstruct memories via narrative fragments, unearthed archives, speculative fiction and incisive reflections. Here, we present our most anticipated race-focused titles coming out this fall.


>>"Aftershocks of Disaster" brings to life the dark truths of Hurricane María in its aftermath, linking the devastation in Puerto Rico to colonialism (Haymarket). >>In "Love WITH Accountability," Black feminist artist and activist Aishah Shahidah Simmons presents an anthology of testimonies, meditations and methods to envision a world without child sexual abuse that does not rely on the carceral state (AK Press). >>In "On Fire,” author, activist and filmmaker Naomi Klein makes a compelling case for the Green New Deal and emphasizes the existential urgency for a radical response to climate change (Simon & Schuster). >>Egyptian-American journalist and creator of #MosqueMeToo, Mona Eltahawy, teaches "The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls," in a trailblazing manifesto (Beacon). >>"Stay Woke" shares in detail the lessons and political strategies birthed by the modern movement for Black lives (NYU Press). >> "White Negroes" examines the appropriation of and desire for Black culture by non-Black people, from pop stars to hipsters to users of digital Blackface (Beacon Press).

For the Kids

>>Inspired by her own family history, Christine Day tackles Native American identity, adoption and family separation in her middle-grade novel, "I Can Make This Promise” (Harper Collins). >>U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor pulls from her childhood living with diabetes to celebrate the differences we all have in "Just Ask!" (Philomel Books). >>In fencer and activist Ibtihaj Muhammad’s "The Proudest Blue," a young girl wears her first hijab, beams with pride and triumphs over bullies (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers). >>Through pop culture and scholarship, "She Came to Slay" tells the story of feminist abolitionist Harriett Tubman, including the time she spent working as a spy in the Union Army and leading an armed expedition during the Civil War (37 Ink).

Young Adult

>>"Frankly in Love" focuses on the division between Korean-Americans and other people of color in a Southern California neighborhood via a novel grounded in teenage infatuation (Putnam). >>A young, Puerto Rican, lesbian protagonist asserts her queer identity when she moves from the Bronx to Portland, Oregon, in "Juliet Takes a Breath" (Penguin Young Readers). >>A Black transgender teenager living in an idyllic American city joins forces with an other-worldly creature to hunt down a monster in “Pet” (Make Me a World). >>SLAY” features a 17-year-old game developer who creates a Black Panther-inspired video game that she must defend from White antagonizers (Simon & Schuster). >>Poet Morgan Parker presents a coming-of-age novel about a Black teenager living in a predominantly White small town as she deals with faith, mental health and belonging, in “Who Put This Song On?” (Delacorte).


>>The 35th anniversary edition of "The Black Book," an expansive compendium of Black history, extends its legacy and features a new foreword and poem from one of the book’s original editors, the late Toni Morrison (Random House). >>In “Crack,” Historian David Farber revisits the rise of crack in the 1980s and 90s via stories from Black entrepreneurs and discusses the racist drug policies that led to mass incarceration (Cambridge University Press). >>"Highway of Tears" focuses on the 450-mile corridor in British Columbia where Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or been murdered, and their families’ fight to get them justice (Doubleday Canada). >>The story of a Salvadoran MS-13 informant reveals how U.S. neocolonialism sparked gang violence and mass migration, in "The Hollywood Kid (Verso). >>In "The Torture Letters," anthropologist Laurence Ralph traces more than 50 years of police torture in Chicago, presenting his research in letters dedicated to those who have been harmed and killed (University of Chicago Press).

Memoir and Reflection

>>In “Breathe,” Princeton University professor Imani Perry writes a love letter to her sons that addresses the state violence Black children face and encourages them to seek joy (Beacon). >>In the Dream House” is author Carmen Maria Machado’s harrowing memoir about domestic abuse in a lesbian relationship (Graywolf Press). >>The expanded edition of “Death Blossoms” revisits journalist and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal’s reflections on life, death, liberation and racism, written on death row in 1996 (City Lights Publisher). >>Author and professor Jennine Capó Crucet presents autobiographical essays on navigating White spaces as a first-generation American in “My Time Among the Whites” (Picador). >>Chanel Miller, the survivor in the Stanford University sexual assault case, formerly known as Emily Doe, reveals her identity and story in “Know My Name” (Viking).

Poetry and Fiction

>>Poet Oliver Baez Bendorf maps the queer body through land, language and time in his collection, “The Advantages of Being Evergreen” (Cleveland State University Poetry Center). >>In his new volume, “All That Beauty,” poet and theorist Fred Moten joins lyricism with Black scholarship (Letter Machine Editions). >>Ana Canción is 15 years old when she marries a man twice her age and moves to New York City, where she discovers her strengths and joy, in Angie Cruz’s “Dominicana” (Flatiron Books). >>Diné poet Jake Skeet’s collection, “Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers,” portrays beauty, queerness and colonialism’s fallout in Gallup, New Mexico (Milkweed). >>Jacqueline Woodson’s “Red At the Bone” shifts between generations of two Black families in Brooklyn as they share their history with a 16-year-old relative at her coming-of-age ceremony (Riverhead Books).