Visionary YA author and activist Angie Thomas became an overnight sensation on the 2017 publication of her debut novel, The Hate U Give. Inspired by childhood experiences with gun violence, and Tupac’s THUG LIFE tattoo – an acronym for “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody” – the book explores the damaging, intergenerational effects of police brutality and systemic racial oppression on Black communities.
Her follow-up novels, 2019’s On The Come Up and this year’s Concrete Rose, take place in the same fictional universe and were released to rave reviews. Poignant, searing, and honest, they’ve only solidified Thomas’ position as one of the most brilliant and vital writers on Black identity today.
Sharing the books that meant the most to her with Oprah Magazine, Thomas included stories of race relations and the civil rights movement, as well as young adult favorites. Find her reading list below, and check out the bookshelves of other iconic authors right here.