I had the pleasure of working with one of my son's good friends to plan his surprise 18th birthday. She is a young lady who will graduate with him in a couple weeks and then head off to college. In honor of her and my gift to thank here, here is my list of what black (and frankly, white girls who want to read good literature with strong female protagonists should read in their freshman lit class, something to ponder, explore, and wonder about the world.
1. Let The Lion Eat Straw by Ebele Oseye
2. Brown Girl, Brown Stones by Paule Marshall
3. River Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke
4. Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
5. Daughter by Asha Bandale
There are other books she will encounter, there will inevitably be a Toni Morrison volume in her selection and almost everyone should read about the strong woman in Zora Neale Hurston's book Their Eyes Were Watching God.
I have continued with my quest to read black female literature and read beyond The Color Purple, while this is a wonderful, breakthrough book at black female protagonists by Alice Walker, it is a limited mind that only stops there. There are many black female authors who have contributed literary work to the body collective that deserves a place in the academy.
As graduations are looming in the future and young minds will be ready to step into their future, consider the gift of literature, a real book-in-hand to remind them that no matter what their direction, there is purpose in reading other's paths to destiny.
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