Audiobooks for Black History Month

Audiobooks for Black History Month

October is the 31st Black History Month in the UK. Black History Month celebrates the achievements and contributions of black people in the UK, and addresses the fact that these achievements have often been ignored.

We’ve chosen our favourite audiobooks by black authors from around the world to listen to through October. Although not comprehensive, this list covers everything from award-winning fiction and non-fiction, to children’s books and poetry.

 

Non-Fiction Favourites

Natives audiobook by Akala

Natives – Akala

Race and class have shaped Akala’s life and outlook; from the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers.  In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today. Akala covers everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right. Natives discusses British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class at the heart of the legacy of Britain’s racialised empire.

Download or stream the audiobook from our library, or borrow it on MP3 CD number 14670.

 

Between the World and Me Audiobook by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

This is a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son. Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding American history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Download or stream the audiobook from our library.

 

The Good Immigrant audiobook edited by Nikesh Shukla

The Good Immigrant – edited by Nikesh Shukla

This book brings together 21 black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today. The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms. Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants. Editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

Download or stream the audiobook from our library.

 

 

Fresh Fiction

Homegoing audiobook by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem; spanning three continents and seven generations; Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel—the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself. Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portraits, Homegoing is a searing and profound debut from a masterly new writer.

Download or stream the audiobook from our library.

 

Half of a Yellow Sun audiobook by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, works as a houseboy for a university professor. Olanna, a young woman, has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos to live with her charismatic new lover, the professor. And Richard, a shy English writer, is in thrall to Olanna’s enigmatic twin sister. As the horrific Biafran War engulfs them, they are thrown together and pulled apart in ways they had never imagined. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s masterpiece, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, 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.

Download or stream the audiobook from our library, or borrow it on MP3 CD number 14472.

 

Beloved audiobook by Toni Morrison

Beloved – Toni Morrison

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Download or stream the audiobook from our library.

 

Swing Time audiobook by Zadie Smith

Swing Time – Zadie Smith

Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. They have a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties. Never revisited, but never quite forgotten, either… Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from north-west London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Download or stream the audiobook from our library.

 

 

Poetry

Search Party audiobook by George the Poet

Search Party: A Collection of Poems – George the Poet

A young black poet blending spoken word and rap. An inner city upbringing with a Cambridge education. A social consciousness with a satirical wit and infectious rhythm. George The Poet is the voice of a new generation. George The Poet’s mesmerising and unforgettable live performances have earned him critical acclaim. From sell-out headline gigs and YouTube hits, to recording his own music, and now his first collection of poetry, George uses his work to speak truth to power and challenge our preconceived ideas about the society we’re living in.

Download and stream the audiobook from our library.

 

The Fat Black Woman's Poems by Grace Nichols

The Fat Black Woman’s Poems – Grace Nichols

Grace Nichols gives us images that stare us straight in the eye, images of joy, challenge, accusation. Her ‘fat black woman’ is brash; rejoices in herself; poses awkward questions to politicians, rulers, suitors, to a white world that still turns its back. Grace Nichols writes in a language that is wonderfully vivid yet economical of the pleasures and sadnesses of memory, of loving, of ‘the power to be what I am, a woman, charting my own futures’.

Download or stream the audiobook from our library, or borrow it on MP3 CD number 13059.

 

 

Children’s and Young Adult

Noughts and Crosses audiobook by Malorie Blackman

Sephy is a Cross, a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a nought, a ‘colourless’ member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood. But that’s as far as it can go. That is, until the first steps are taken towards social equality, and a limited number of Noughts are allowed into Cross schools. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity by Noughts, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum, a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger.

Download or stream the audiobook from our library.

 

Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry audiobook by Mildred D Taylor

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Mildred D. Taylor

Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. And it is also Cassie’s story. Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.

Download or stream the audiobook from our library.

 

Tyler Johnson Was Here audiobook by Jay Coles

Tyler Johnson Was Here – Jay Coles

When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid. The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. After Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells a chilling story; Tyler was shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean. Tyler Johnson Was Here is a powerful and moving portrait of youth and family that speaks to the serious issues of today-from gun control to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Download or stream the audiobook from our library.

 

Do you have any other audiobook recommendations for Black History Month? Let us know in the comments!

Listened to all these audiobooks and looking for more? Try Audiobook Recommendations Based On Your Favourite Netflix Original!

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