Kwanzaa is a great time to reset and spend meaningful time with friends and family. On the last day of the celebration on Jan. 1 (during the principle of “Imani”), the tradition is to exchange meaningful, handmade gifts with family.
These gifts, known as “zawadi,” should be modest and thoughtful. But if you’re not blessed with the gift of craftiness, sharing books is a great alternative.
In keeping with the goals of Kwanzaa to get back to our roots and embrace positive values to move the culture forward, we’ve compiled a list of some culturally relevant, thought-provoking books for both adults and the little ones to share this season.
“I Am Enough,” Grace Byers
The illustrated children’s book by former “Empire” actress Grace Byers and drawn by Keturah Bobo was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and encourages young girls’ self-esteem.
“South to America,” Imani Perry
The 2022 National Book Award winner and southern Princeton professor beautifully tells the story of how the South has defined the country.
“All That She Carried,” Tiya Miles
The 2021 National Book Award-winning non-fiction story chronicles a Black family’s heirloom passed down through generations of women.
“Freedom Dreams,” Robin D.G. Kelley
How have Black people dreamt of a better future? This seminal work from professor and activist Robin D.G. Kelley, which was re-released in 2022, explores everything from calls for Black landownership to reparations in the Black, radical imagination.
“I Am Every Good Thing,” Derrick Barnes
This picture book, illustrated by Gordon C. James, is perfect for the boys in your life to show them the wide spectrum of goals they can achieve and qualities they can embrace.
“Born on the Water,” Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson
The richly illustrated book, a children’s companion to The 1619 Project from the New York Times Magazine, amplifies Black history and leaders, starting with the beauty and culture of the continent.