Self-help books have the power to inspire, motivate, and transform lives. For Black women, in particular, these books can serve as a source of empowerment, resilience, and self-discovery.
In a world where unique challenges and experiences intersect, literature can be a guiding light towards healing, personal growth, and self-fulfillment.
This blog post explores a selection of self-help books tailored for Black women seeking to embark on a journey of healing and self-improvement.
Best Self-Help Books For Black Women To Heal Themselves
1. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama
This memoir is a deeply personal account from the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.
In the book, she chronicles her life from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, and then to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.
It’s a vividly told narrative that shares her triumphs and disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it – in her own words and on her own terms.
It’s a work that is deeply inspiring, particularly for women, emphasizing the power of resilience and growth.
2. “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes
This book is an enthralling memoir from the creator of hit TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” Shonda Rhimes. It begins when Shonda is challenged by her sister to say “yes” to everything for a year.
This challenge leads her on a transformative journey that upends her life. She shares how saying “yes” changed her life in unexpected ways, and how it can change the reader’s life too.
It’s a story about the power of embracing change and stepping out of your comfort zone.
3. “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual” by Luvvie Ajayi
This book is a hilarious and scathing collection of essays about the absurdities of modern life.
Ajayi, a known blogger and cultural critic, uses wit and humor to critique various aspects of society, including social media behavior, celebrity culture, and racial inequality.
It’s a thought-provoking book that encourages readers to do better and be better, all while making them laugh.
4. “More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are” by Elaine Welteroth
This is a memoir and manifesto from journalist and former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, Elaine Welteroth.
In her book, Welteroth shares the lessons learned during her journey to breaking ceilings as a young black woman in the predominantly white world of fashion and media. It’s a book about claiming space for oneself, understanding one’s worth, and breaking barriers.
5. “Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America” by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
In this book, Harris-Perry explores how persistent stereotypes and assumptions about black women in American society impact their political beliefs and actions.
It’s a blend of academic research, cultural commentary, and personal storytelling. Harris-Perry discusses how black women navigate the intersecting challenges of race and gender in their daily lives.
6. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston
This classic novel is a cherished work in African American literature. It tells the story of Janie Crawford, a Southern black woman in the 1930s, as she searches for her identity and voice through three marriages and a journey back to her roots.
The novel is celebrated for its rich portrayal of black life and its lyrical narration.
7. “The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America” by Tamara Winfrey Harris
This book challenges stereotypes and myths about black women in America. Harris delves into topics like beauty standards, sexuality, and family, juxtaposing real black women’s stories with the distorted narrative often seen in the media. It’s a powerful testament to the diverse experiences of black women.
8. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
A profound and haunting novel, “Beloved” delves deep into the traumas of slavery and its lasting impacts.
The story revolves around Sethe, a former slave, who is visited by the mysterious and otherworldly young woman, Beloved, who forces Sethe to confront her past.
The novel is a deeply moving exploration of the African American experience, memory, and the enduring scars of slavery.
9. “You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain” by Phoebe Robinson
In this collection of essays, comedian Phoebe Robinson discusses the nuances of race and gender in America.
Using humor and frankness, she talks about everything from hair politics to media representation, offering a unique perspective on the challenges faced by black women today.
The book is both a call to action and a source of entertainment, providing insightful commentary on serious cultural issues.
10. “Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard” by Echo Brown
This semi-autobiographical novel blurs the lines between fantasy and reality to tell the story of Echo Brown, a young black girl from a poor neighborhood who transcends her surroundings to become a wizard.
The book is a powerful mix of magical realism and social commentary, addressing issues like racism, poverty, and sexual assault.
Brown uses her unique narrative style to illustrate the resilience and strength required to overcome adversity.
11. “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body” by Roxane Gay
In this deeply personal memoir, Roxane Gay explores her relationship with her body, food, and the way society views the female form, especially larger bodies.
The book is a candid and revealing journey into Gay’s past, including the trauma that led to her complicated relationship with food and her body. It is a profound examination of self-care, the experience of living in a body judged by others, and finding joy in one’s own skin.
12. “Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves” by Glory Edim
This is a collection of essays by black women writers, curated by Glory Edim, the founder of the Well-Read Black Girl book club.
The anthology celebrates the uniqueness of black womanhood and the power of seeing oneself in literature. It includes contributions from authors such as Jesmyn Ward, Lynn Nottage, and Jacqueline Woodson, discussing how they found themselves in books and the importance of representation in literature.
13. “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones
This novel explores the effects of wrongful incarceration on a young African American couple. It tells the story of Celestial and Roy, whose lives are torn apart when Roy is sentenced to twelve years for a crime he did not commit.
The book delves into themes of love, loyalty, race, and justice, offering a powerful commentary on the contemporary black experience in America.
14. “We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True” by Gabrielle Union
In this collection of essays, actress and activist Gabrielle Union shares a series of honest and humorous stories about her life, discussing everything from Hollywood to family to race.
Union’s candidness on personal issues like fertility and racism offers a unique perspective into her life and the broader experience of black women.
15. “Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower” by Brittney Cooper
This book is a passionate and humorous exploration of black feminism. Cooper argues that anger is a powerful source of energy that can give women the strength to keep fighting for justice and equality.
She uses personal anecdotes and historical analysis to show how black women’s eloquence in their rage can be a source of empowerment rather than a cause for shame.
16. “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
Morrison’s first novel is a powerful examination of race, beauty standards, and identity in America.
The story centers on Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl who dreams of having blue eyes, believing they will make her beautiful and loved. The novel is a poignant look at the impact of racism on a child’s self-esteem and the destructive power of internalized white beauty standards.
17. “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” by Shonda Rhimes
In this inspiring memoir, Shonda Rhimes, the creator of TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” shares how saying “yes” changed her life. Rhimes chronicles her journey of accepting unexpected challenges, embracing fear, and discovering joy. The book is a call to live boldly and fearlessly.
18. “Assata: An Autobiography” by Assata Shakur
This autobiography of Assata Shakur, a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, details her life and political activism.
The book covers her upbringing, involvement in the civil rights movement, and her eventual conviction and imprisonment.
Shakur’s narrative provides insight into the racial and political turmoil of the 1960s and 70s, and her enduring influence as a revolutionary figure.
19. “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools” by Monique W. Morris
This book addresses the alarming trend of the criminalization of black girls in the American education system.
Morris combines years of research and personal narratives to highlight how these girls are often misunderstood and marginalized.
She explores the policies, practices, and cultural illiteracy that contribute to their disproportionate punishment and offers solutions for change.
20. “The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table” by Minda Harts
This career development book provides an unfiltered look at the realities faced by women of color in the workplace. Harts gives practical tools and advice on navigating corporate America, addressing the additional challenges faced by women of color.
It’s a guide to breaking barriers and achieving success in a predominantly white and male corporate environment.
21. “The Awakened Woman: Remembering & Reigniting Our Sacred Dreams” by Tererai Trent
This book by Dr. Tererai Trent, an internationally recognized voice for women’s empowerment, serves as a guide to help women access their inner strength and awaken their dreams.
Drawing on African wisdom and her own extraordinary life story, Trent inspires women to reconnect with their sacred dreams and unleash their power to change the world.
22. “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
This book offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on issues like privilege, police brutality, and systemic discrimination.
Oluo provides readers with practical advice and insights to have honest conversations about race and racism and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
23. “Sula” by Toni Morrison
This novel, set in a black neighborhood in Ohio called the Bottom, revolves around the friendship of two girls, Nel and Sula. The story follows their lives from childhood to adulthood, exploring themes of betrayal, love, and identity.
Morrison examines the complexities of female friendship and the social norms that shape the lives of her characters.
24. “Don’t Settle for Safe: Embracing the Uncomfortable to Become Unstoppable” by Sarah Jakes Roberts
In this empowering book, Roberts shares her personal journey of overcoming past mistakes and fears to find her purpose.
She encourages readers to embrace their authentic selves, step out of their comfort zones, and pursue a life of courage, faith, and true fulfillment.
25. “The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women” by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean
This book is a mentorship guide offering practical advice and leadership strategies specifically tailored for black women in the workplace.
The authors use their experiences as successful black women in predominantly white corporate environments to provide insights on navigating these spaces while maintaining authenticity.
26. “Own Your Glow: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living and Crowning the Queen Within” by Latham Thomas
Thomas, a wellness and lifestyle expert, offers a holistic approach to self-care focused on nurturing the body, mind, and spirit. The book combines personal anecdotes with practical advice, encouraging women to embrace their unique path to wellness, find their voice, and radiate confidence.
27. “The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love” by Sonya Renee Taylor
This work is a transformative global movement to promote body empowerment and self-love.
Taylor’s narrative challenges societal norms around body image and introduces the concept of radical self-love as a revolutionary act.
The book blends personal experience, social critique, and practical tools to help readers dismantle body shame and build a more inclusive and compassionate world for all bodies.