In honour of Black History Month, here’s a list of eight books by Black authors from the Greater Toronto Area to read. All books were published by Harper Collins Canada Ltd.
BEATRICE AND CROC HARRY BY LAWRENCE HILL
Author Lawrence Hill was born in Newmarket and currently lives in Hamilton. Hill is also a professor of creative writing at the University of Guelph. His critically acclaimed novel The Book of Negroes just celebrated its 15th anniversary in January.
Beatrice and Croc Harry is Hill’s debut novel for young readers.
Synopsis: “Beatrice, a young girl of uncertain age, wakes up all alone in a treehouse in the forest. How did she arrive in this cozy dwelling, stocked carefully with bookshelves and oatmeal toppings? And who has been leaving a trail of clues, composed in delicate purple handwriting? So begins the adventure of a brave and resilient Black girl’s search for identity and healing.”
BECAUSE YOU ARE BY JAEL RICHARDSON
Author Jael Richardson lives in Brampton, and studied creative writing at the University of Guelph. She is the founder and executive director of the Festival of Literary Diversity.
The lessons in Because You Are are brought to life on the page with illustrations by Nneka Myers, a Toronto-based animator.
Synopsis: “Conceived as a letter to her younger self, Because You Are captures Jael
Richardson’s insightful lessons about growing up, being joyful and loving yourself as a
young Black girl. By exploring what inner beauty means, this story inspires children to
recognize and build their self-worth, to dream big and to make a difference in the world.”
HOLD MY GIRL BY CHARLENE CARR
Author Charlene Carr was raised in Toronto, and now lives in Nova Scotia. She has published nine novels, and is currently working on her tenth.
Hold My Girl is a heart-wrenching story about two women whose eggs are switched during in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Synopsis: “Ten months after giving birth, two women get a call from their fertility clinic that reveals shocking news: their eggs were switched. While Katherine’s perfect life begins to crumble around her, for Tess it’s the glimmer of hope she needs to get her life back on track. But it will take a custody battle to decide who deserves to be Rose’s mother, a battle that will push both women to the brink. With themes of racial identity, loss and betrayal, this emotional novel centred around a difficult moral question beautifully explores the complexities of motherhood.”
RAIN RISING BY COURTNE COMRIE
Author Courtne Comrie was born in Toronto, and later moved to New York where she now works as a middle school English teacher.
Comrie is a writer who prefers tackling heavy topics through poetic verse.
Synopsis: “When protagonist Rain’s brother Xander is the victim of a hate crime, things take a turn for the worse. Xander stops speaking to everyone, including Rain, whose dark thoughts turn into action. Rain’s secret battle puts her life on the line. But when her favorite teacher invites her
to an after-school circle group, Rain finds friends and the courage to help herself and her family heal.”
BLOOD SCION BY DEBORAH FALAYE
Author Deborah Falaye is a Nigerian Canadian young adult author who lives in Toronto. Falaye’s first novel, Blood Scion, made the Canada Reads long-list of 2022.
Synopsis: “Fifteen-year-old Sloane can incinerate an enemy at will—she is a Scion, a descendant
of the ancient Orisha gods. Under the Lucis’ brutal rule, her identity means her death if her powers are discovered. But when she is forcibly conscripted into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane sees a new opportunity: to overcome the bloody challenges of Lucis training,
and destroy them from within.”
TWICE AS PERFECT BY LOUISA ONOMÉ
Nigerian Canadian author Louisa Onomé holds a bachelors in professional writing from York University and currently lives in the Greater Toronto Area. She is also the author of the acclaimed young adult novel Like Home.
Synopsis: “For seventeen-year-old Adanna Nkwachi, life is all about duty: to school and the
debate team, to her Nigerian parents, and even to her cousin Genny as Ada helps prepare Genny’s wedding to Afrobeats superstar Skeleboy. One day, Adanna is brought back together with her estranged sibling. Amid parental pressure, anxiety over the debate competition, a complicated love life, and the Nigerian wedding-to-end-all-weddings. Can Ada learn, just this once, to put herself first?”
COME HOME SAFE BY BRIAN G. BUCKMIRE
Author Brian G. Buckmire, of Caribbean heritage, was born in Toronto. He later moved to New York City where he is now a senior staff public defender in the Criminal Defense Practice and Homicide Defense Task Force at the Legal Aid Society, representing indigent clients in Brooklyn.
Synopsis: “When siblings Reed and Olive left home, they never imagined they’d find themselves
questioned, searched, and thrown to the ground by police looking for suspects in recent crimes. As their worst fears become reality, they must find a way to “prove” their innocence and make it home safe once again.”