Black History Month – Recommended Reads 2017

It’s October, which means that Black History Month is upon us!

Here at Jacaranda, we have put together this list of titles from ourselves and others that we feel are must-reads this month. These books come to you from Africa, the UK and from across the Atlantic, all with gripping plots and a rich heritage for you to treasure. From insider stories into real-life occurrences, to historical fiction and satire, there’s something for everyone this Black History Month.

Jacaranda titles:


The Book of Harlan by Bernice L. McFadden

Published October 2016

The tale of a young musician from the US caught up in the devastation of the Holocaust during World War II, and the journey his life takes, written in McFadden’s exceptional style.

Evelyn Dove: Britain’s Black Cabaret Queen by Stephen Bourne

Published October 2016

Stephen Bourne takes us on a journey into the life and career of one of Britain’s first black cabaret stars, Evelyn Dove, from her background and upbringing to her impact on the stage.

Dancing the Death Drill by Fred Khumalo

Published February 2017

An Algerian waiter is arrested in a French cafe after a deadly altercation with two men – but his story goes deeper than first thought, as two men go in search of evidence to clear him.

A powerful tale of duty and survival set to the backdrop of the sinking of the SS Mendi, 100 years ago this year.

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin 

Published February 2017

The parents of Trayvon Martin bring us the story of his life and upbringing, and the pain of his death in February 2012. Through Rest in Power, they each show us their struggle to give a greater meaning to the loss of his life in modern-day America.


Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

Out now!

Take a kid with a dream. A legendary hip hop group. Six years of secret recordings. A single artifact. A bidding war. An angry mob. A furious beef. A sale. Bill Murray. The FBI.

This book has it all, and more, from someone who was there to see it all unfold.


And now for celebrated titles from other publishers:



The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Published August 2016

Colson Whitehead brings us the tale of Cora, a young woman’s journey to leave slavery behind her in America’s Deep South, and yet reimagines it to give a fresh slant on a slave’s escape to freedom.

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Published May 2013

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s masterpiece is a novel about Africa in a wider sense: about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class and race – and about the ways in which love can complicate all of these things.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Published March 2015

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game.

Whatever you choose, enjoy!