The NAACP Image Awards is an annual awards ceremony presented by the U.S.-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to honor outstanding performances in film, television, theatre, music, and literature. In the Literary category, prizes are awarded to best fiction, nonfiction, debut author, biography/autobiography, instructional, poetry, children’s, and teens.
Long Division by Kiese Laymon
The book contains two interwoven stories. In the first, it’s 2013: after an on-stage meltdown during a nationally televised quiz contest, 14-year-old Citoyen “City” Coldson becomes an overnight YouTube celebrity. The next day, he’s sent to staywith his grandmother in the small coastal community of Melahatchie, where a young girl named Baize Shephard has recently disappeared. Before leaving, City is given a strange book without an author called “Long Division.” He learns that one of the book’s main characters is also named City Coldson–but “Long Division” is set in 1985. This 1985 City, along with his friend and love-object, Shalaya Crump, discovers a way to travel into the future, and steals a laptop and cellphone from an orphaned teenage rapper called…Baize Shephard. They ultimately take these with them all the way back to 1964, to help another time-traveler they meet protect his family from the Klan. City’s two stories ultimately converge in the mysterious work shed behind his grandmother’s, where he discovers the key to Baize’s disappearance.
The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones
In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States. The New York Times Magazine ‘s award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself. This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction–and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.
Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson
“Just as I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and a mother, a sister and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by his hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.”
Will by Will Smith
One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that anyone has ever had. Will Smith’s transformation from a West Philadelphia kid to one of the biggest rap stars of his era, and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, is an epic tale–but it’s only half the story. Will Smith thought, with good reason, that he had won at life: not only was his own success unparalleled, his whole family was at the pinnacle of the entertainment world. Only they didn’t see it that way: they felt more like star performers in his circus, a seven-days-a-week job they hadn’t signed up for. It turned out Will Smith’s education wasn’t nearly over. This memoir is the product of a profound journey of self-knowledge, a reckoning with all that your will can get you and all that it can leave behind.
Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business) by Tabitha Brown
Before Tabitha Brown was one of the most popular personalities in the world, sharing her delicious vegan home cooking and compassionate wisdom with millions of followers across social media, she was an aspiring actress who in 2016 began struggling with undiagnosed chronic autoimmune pain. Her condition made her believe she wouldn’t live to see forty–until she started listening to what her soul and her body truly needed. Now, in this life-changing book, Tabitha shares the wisdom she gained from her own journey, showing readers how to make a life for themselves that is rooted in nonjudgmental kindness and love, both for themselves and for others.
Perfect Black by Crystal Wilkinson
Crystal Wilkinson combines a deep love for her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling in this compelling collection of poetry and prose about girlhood, racism, and political awakening, imbued with vivid imagery of growing up in Southern Appalachia. In Perfect Black, the acclaimed writer muses on such topics as motherhood, the politics of her Black body, lost fathers, mental illness, sexual abuse, and religion. It is a captivating conversation about life, love, loss, and pain, interwoven with striking illustrations by her long-time partner, Ronald W. Davis.
Stacey’s Extraordinary World by Stacey Abrams and Kitt Thomas
Stacey is a little girl who loves words more than anything. She loves reading them, sounding them out, and finding comfort in them when things are hard. But when her teacher chooses her to compete in the local spelling bee, she isn’t as excited as she thought she’d be. What if she messes up Or worse, if she can’t bring herself to speak up, like sometimes happens when facing bullies at school Stacey will learn that win or lose . . . her words are powerful, and sometimes perseverance is the most important word of all.
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too. Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures. As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them.