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.
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Montgomery, Alabama 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend has big plans to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she intends to help women make their own choices for their lives and bodies.
But when her first week on the job takes her down a dusty country road to a worn down one-room cabin, she’s shocked to learn that her new patients are children—just 11 and 13 years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black and for those handling the family’s welfare benefits that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her role, she takes India, Erica and their family into her heart. Until one day, she arrives at the door to learn the unthinkable has happened and nothing will ever be the same for any of them.
Decades later, with her daughter grown and a long career in her wake, Dr. Civil Townsend is ready to retire, to find her peace and to leave the past behind. But there are people and stories that refuse to be forgotten.That must not be forgotten.
Finding Me by Viola Davis
This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path I took to finding my purpose but also my voice in a world that didn’t always see me.
As I wrote Finding Me, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. We are forced to reinvent them to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get to some form of self-love. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be . . . you.
Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and the Unseen by George McCalman
From an award-winning graphic designer and artist comes this distinctive collection that celebrates Black Americans and their contributions—many little known—to politics, science, literature, music, and other fields, brought to life by soulful portraits.
Scenes from My Life by Michael K. Williams and Jon Sternfeld
When Michael K. Williams died on September 6, 2021, he left behind a career as one of the most electrifying actors of his generation. From his star turn as Omar Little in The Wire to Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire to Emmy-nominated roles in HBO’s The Night Of and Lovecraft Country, Williams inhabited a slew of indelible roles that he portrayed with a rawness and vulnerability that leapt off the screen. Beyond the nominations and acclaim, Williams played characters who connected, whose humanity couldn’t be denied, whose stories were too often left out of the main narrative.
At the time of his death, Williams had nearly finished a memoir that tells the story of his past while looking to the future, a book that merges his life and his life’s work. Mike, as his friends knew him, was so much more than an actor. In Scenes from My Life, he traces his life in whole, from his childhood in East Flatbush and his early years as a dancer to his battles with addiction and the bar fight that left his face with his distinguishing scar. He was a committed Brooklyn resident and activist who dedicated his life to working with social justice organizations and his community, especially in helping at-risk youth find their voice and carve out their future. Williams worked to keep the spotlight on those he fought for and with, whom he believed in with his whole heart.
Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration by Tracey Lewis-Giggetts
When Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts wrote an essay on Black joy for TheWashington Post, she had no idea just how deeply it would resonate. But the outpouring of positive responses affirmed her own lived experience: that Black joy is not just a weapon of resistance, it is a tool for resilience.
With this book, Tracey aims to gift her community with a collection of lyrical essays about the way joy has evolved, even in the midst of trauma, in her own life. Detailing these instances of joy in the context of Black culture allows us to recognize the power of Black joy as a resource to draw upon, and to challenge the one-note narratives of Black life as solely comprised of trauma and hardship.
To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness by Robin Coste Lewis
Twenty-five years ago, after her grandmother’s death, Robin Coste Lewis discovered a stunning collection of photographs under her bed. The poetry that she marries to these vivid daily images of 20th-century Black joy and survival (“I am trying / to make the gods / happy,”; “I am trying / to make the dead / clap and shout”) stands forth as an alternative to the usual way we frame the story of “race” and “the great migration”—as she puts it, “all those other clever ways we’ve created not to talk about Black culture.” Communing with the engaging photographic vernacular of her particular family, to be revealed on black pages with white type, Lewis quite literally reverses all expectations. In her words, she makes a private documentary public; she tries to “get out of my own historical and national aesthetic habits (e.g., never cue a gospel choir; never cue a noble slave; always worship darkness)” and to liberate the photographs of Black life “from colonial nostalgia—to reframe them with a kind of exalted existentialism. Not surprisingly, it was poetry that brought the keys.”
Stacey’s Remarkable Books by Stacey Abrams and Kitt Thomas
Stacey’s favorite day of the week is Thursday, when the whole class goes to the library and she gets to lose herself in her beloved books.
On one of these special days, Stacey discovers that a new student named Julie has trouble reading in English, so they begin sharing books and stories to practice. Soon, more students start to join them.
Books take the group on magical adventures and reveal other worlds and cultures–but best of all, they bring them together as friends.
Cookies & Milk by Shawn Amos
Eleven-year-old Ellis Johnson dreamed of spending the summer of 1976 hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing his harmonica. Instead, he’ll be sleeping on a lumpy pullout in Dad’s sad little post-divorce bungalow and helping bring Dad’s latest far-fetched, sure-to-fail idea to life: opening the world’s first chocolate chip cookie store. They have six weeks to perfect their recipe, get a ramshackle A-frame on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard into tip-top shape, and bring in customers.
But of course, nothing is as easy as Dad makes it sound, even with Grandma along for the ride. Like she says, they have to GIT—get it together—and make things work. Along the way, Ellis discovers a family mystery he is determined to solve, the power of community, and new faith in himself.