HBCU Leggings 2024 Summer Reading List!

HBCU Leggings 2024 Summer Reading List!

What is that? The sound of the opening of pools? The long, sunny evenings? The joyful noise of children playing without a care in the world? Yes, summer 2024 is upon us. And amidst the cookouts, pool parties, and warm summer nights, a good book is the perfect companion for the perfect summer. A 2021 study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that nearly a quarter of adults (23%) hadn’t read a book in its entirety in a year, across all formats—print, electronic, and audio. At HBCU Leggings, we're committed to supporting education and culture, so we’re proud to present our Summer 2024 reading list. This selection features an impressive array of Black authors across various genres, promising to offer something for every reader.  You can also take a look at last year’s summer reading list featuring award winning books by HBCU Alumni here: 5 Must Read Books by Legendary HBCU Alumni to Read This Summer. We’re sure you'll find something you’ll love! Here’s a guide to expand your horizons and enrich your summer.


HBCU Made: A Celebration of the Black College Experience by Ayesha Roscoe

About the Author: A respected journalist and a proud Howard University alumna (HU!), Ayesha Roscoe is known for her role as the host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. This is Roscoe’s first full length book. 

About the Book: This insightful work delves into the vibrant culture and history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities through personal stories, interviews, and visuals, showcasing their significant impact on American education.

Black Paper: Writing in a Dark Time by Teju Cole

About the Author: Born in the U.S. and raised in Nigeria, Teju Cole is a celebrated writer, photographer, and art historian whose work often explores complex cultural and historical themes. He holds a BA from Kalamazoo College and an MA in art history from Columbia University.

About the Book: A collection of essays written over a decade, reflecting on personal and collective memory and the human condition. The essays tackle themes of grief, the pandemic, and the complexities of dark times through Cole's contemplative style and deep engagement with art and society.

Other works: Known and Strange Things, Open City, Every Day is for the Thief, Golden Apple of the Sun


Always with You, Always with Me by Kelly Rowland and Jessica McKay, Illustrated by Fanny Liem

About the Authors: Kelly Rowland, Grammy Award-winning artist, actress and former member of the iconic music group, Destiny’s Child, collaborates with Jessica McKay to bring this heartfelt children’s story to life. 

About the Book: Tailored for children whose parents have demanding careers, this book reassures young readers of their parents' love, emphasizing that it bridges any distance, making it an invaluable resource for families to manage emotional challenges of separation.

An Encyclopedia of Gardening for Colored Children by Jamaica Kincaid, Illustrated by Kara Walker

About the Author: Jamaica Kincaid, born Elaine Cynthia Potter Richardson in 1949 in St. John's, Antigua, is an acclaimed writer whose works often delve into themes of colonialism, gender, and mother-daughter dynamics. After moving to the United States in 1966, Kincaid shifted her career from nursing to writing, influenced by her passion for photography and article writing. Renaming herself to establish a new identity, she gained prominence while working at The New Yorker. Her writing is known for its intimate and confrontational style, and her major works include 

About the Book: An Encyclopedia of Gardening for Colored Children, illustrated by Kara Walker, brings a unique and culturally focused perspective to the joys and techniques of gardening. This book engages young readers and budding gardeners, combining practical gardening knowledge withrich storytelling (for which Kincaid is known). Through a creative narrative, Kincaid seeks to empower and educate young minds about their heritage and the importance of cultivating their own spaces.

Other Works: At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, A Small Place, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, and Mr. Potter.

FICTION (Thriller)

One of Us Knows by Alyssa Cole

About the Author: Alyssa Cole is an acclaimed author noted for her diverse and rich narratives across romance, historical fiction, and thrillers.

About the Book: Set against the vibrant backdrop of an HBCU, this thriller unfolds with the mysterious disappearance of a professor, leading to a web of secrets that could shake the foundations of the community.

Other Works: When No One is Watching, Prince on Paper, Can’t Escape Love

What Fire Brings by Rachel Howzell Hall

About the Author: Rachel Howzell Hall, an author with a knack for crafting gripping thrillers featuring complex female leads, sets her stories against the urban sprawl of Los Angeles.

About the Book: This novel explores the aftermath of a devastating urban fire, delving into the resilience and secrets of the community affected by the tragedy.

Other Works: What Never Happened, They all Fall Down, And Now She’s Gone 

FICTION (Fantasy)

In the Shadow of the Fall by Tobi Ogundiran

About the Author: Nigerian author Tobi Ogundiran brings a fresh voice to fantasy, weaving African folklore and history into his narratives.

About the Book: This novel features a once-great dynasty struggling to reclaim power, blending political intrigue, ancient magic, and the complex dynamics of gods and mortals.

Other Works: Jackal, Jackal: Tales of the Dark Fantastic, At the Fount of Creation (2025)

Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

About the Author: Suyi Davies Okungbowa, known for his dynamic storytelling in the speculative fiction realm, draws from African history and mythology to craft compelling narratives.

About the Book: In the city of Bassa, a young scholar discovers a forbidden magic that challenges societal norms and promises to change the fabric of his world.

This summer, allow yourself to be transported into worlds crafted by the hands of these master storytellers. From the historical depths of HBCU experiences to thrilling mysteries and expansive fantasies, our 2024 Summer Reading List is designed not only to entertain but to enlighten and inspire. Whether you're rekindling your love for reading or continuing your literary journey, each book promises a unique adventure that resonates long after the last page. Happy reading, and let these stories illuminate your summer days!

Love and Leggings, 


Bibi Mama is a first generation Beninese-American actress born and raised in Mansfield, CT. Growing up she watched her father, an English professor and author, continue the Yoruba oral tradition through storytelling, which inspired her. She earned her B.F.A. from Howard University and recently finished her MFA at the Old Globe/University of San Diego MFA Graduate Acting Program.
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