In celebration of Black History Month, Amazon asked a few bookworms from its Black Employee Network (BEN) to share some of their favorite stories written by Black authors. The responses range from Hugo award winner N.K. Jemisin, to professor and historian Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., and even an author who works at Amazon. Check out their recommendations below.

Mike McPherson

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Mike McPherson, who leads a team of strategic partner executives focused on developing, strengthening, and accelerating AWS partnerships within the Aerospace and Defense community, recommends The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. McPherson suggests readers start with the first book, The Fifth Season.
“Jemisin created a powerful, post-apocalyptic world, filled with deep, rich characters, dialogue, and interactions,” McPherson said. “It is a journey story, magic, technology, and more all rolled together. The journey you are taken on will consume you, trust me.”

Leslie Clark

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Leslie Clark, Amazon’s global environmental launch program manager, says she has a passion for reading and volunteering with children—so she combined the two and started writing children’s books. Clark recently published three books. Two are part of her Blended Family Series: My Brother is My Brother! and My Sister is My Sister! “I searched for resources to address the challenges of blended families that kids may experience and were unable to find any, and those that were available were not an accurate representation of what my family looked like, so I took it upon myself to change that,” Clark explained. “My goal is to impact as many families as I can with my books!”
Clark’s first published book, O is for Ownership: The ABCs of the Stock Market for Beginners, focuses on planting a seed for those who want to learn more about the Stock Market and take steps toward financial freedom, which, she said, “comes from the power that comes with ownership.”

Jaquise Cofield

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Jaquise Cofield, a program manager for Heavy Bulky and Services at Amazon, says when she’s not working to identify ways to improve Amazon services, you can find her curled on her couch with a book.
She recommends All Boys Aren’t Blue, a series of personal essays from prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson. The essays explore Johnson’s childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. “I think this book is perfect for any Black LGBTQIA+ teen,” Cofield said. “George shares their experience in a way that is raw and shows Black queer kids and people that they're powerful, they're wanted, and most importantly, seen,” she said.
“There were parts of this book that I initially thought were too graphic for a teen, but I had to check my bias. Was it too graphic or was I just not accustomed to reading about the experiences of a Black gay man in an explicit way? It was beautifully written.”

Michelle Hargrove

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Michelle Hargrove is a lead instructional designer on the Books team at Amazon. She recommends The Black Church by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
“This amazing book summarizes the history of the various religions that provided the cornerstone for Black American communities before, during, and after slavery,” Hargrove said. “I enjoyed the honesty Dr. Gates included about the challenges and critics of what is the Black Church. His use of storytelling for a non-fiction book was memorable and sparked my need to learn more on my own.”

Shenieka Smalls-Voluntad

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Shenieka Smalls-Voluntad, a BEN Networking chair and senior support specialist in the Books organization at Amazon’s office in Charleston, South Carolina, said she enjoys reading a variety of books to her two children. One in particular that she highly recommends for the entire family is The Little Gullah Geechee Book: A Guide for the Come Ya by Dr. Jessica Berry. “Dr. Berry is a native of South Carolina herself,” Smalls-Voluntad said. “She gives insight into Gullah history, culture, and language, which can still be heard in parts of my hometown here in South Carolina. Gullah language originated from enslaved Africans living in coastal regions of South Carolina, Georgia, and Savannah. This book is a great read during Black History month—whether you’re a native or visiting—it gives a peek into the culture, which dates back to the 17th century.”
If you’re looking for more titles, check out the Remarkably Written page or see our vast selection of stories all written by Black authors and creators on Kindle Unlimited.