Black-Owned Bookstores’ Picks for Juneteenth

Saturday, June 19th, is Juneteenth—also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Jubilee Day. It’s the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, and the longest-running African-American holiday. To celebrate, we’re shining a light on Black authors, Black narrators, and Black-owned bookstores at libro.fm/juneteenth.

We also asked some of our Black-owned partner bookstores for audiobook recommendations, and they came through!

Below, find recommendations for the audiobooks our Black-Owned partner bookstores think you should be reading this Juneteenth.


Black Pearl Books

Austin, TX (Online)

Opposite of Always

By Justin A. Reynolds • Narrated by Nile Bullock

“Recommended by our in-house young adult expert (i.e. my 14-year-old son) this YA romance is about love and friendship and trying to balance all of it through life. This book provides a witty and humorous exploration into the mind of a teen boy, and how he recognizes and works through his flaws.”

Notes on Grief

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“As we are all entering back into a world of existence, many are left navigating their new world holding the unbearable weight of grief. Not only did the pandemic take away so much from so many, but for those left to live with the burden of guilt…or fear…or anger….or denial, their lives are forever transformed. This book will stir emotions, but it will also sooth your heart through the process of grieving the loss of a loved one.”


The Collective

Oakland, CA

Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem

By Daniel R. Day • Narrated by Omari Hardwick & the author

“This book was engaging from start to finish. The story was beautifully written. Omari Hardwick’s narrating was the icing on the cake. If you love fashion and hip hop this is a must-read! Free game!”

The Mother of Black Hollywood

By Jenifer Lewis • Narrated by the author

“Pure expression and transparency.  A look behind the curtain of Hollywood and how to navigate while managing mental health.”


Eso Won Books

Los Angeles, CA

The Sum of Us

By Heather McGhee • Narrated by the author

“A view of America that needs to be understood for the country to continue to grow and prosper. Not enough work is done to address the history of racism in the country.”

Mama Day

By Gloria Naylor • Narrated by Various

“A great classic. One of the best books I’ve ever read. A book about understanding the world from different point of view and one that was lost to African brought to America.”

“Not enough work is done to address the history of racism in [this] country.

Eso Won Books

Harriett’s Bookshop

Philadelphia, PA

You Are Your Best Thing

By Tarana Burke & Brené Brown • Narrated by the authors, the contributors, Mirron Willis, Bahni Turpin, JD Jackson & L Morgan Lee

“[Recommending] because of the depth and range of stories, because of its Philly roots, because it made me laugh and cry more than once, because there are so many writing styles, because the essays are short accessible and palatable, because it is an anthology, because it is an ode to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and because the editors are two dope, fly souls.”

Black Futures

By Kimberly Drew & Jenna Wortham • Narrated by the authors, Kevin R. Free, Dominic Hoffman, Robin Miles, Adenrele Ojo & Bahni Turpin

“[Recommending] because of the depth and range of stories, because of its Philly roots, because it made me laugh and because it is a compilation of creative voices, because it has Philly narratives all up and through it, because it is many things at once from essays to poetry to testimonies, because it celebrates activists, and because the curators are two dope, fly souls.”


Loyalty Bookstores

Washington, DC & Silver Spring, MD

Juneteenth

By Ralph Ellison • Narrated by Joe Morton & Charles Johnson

“Perhaps the most obvious selection? But one I read for the first time this year and could not stop gasping at. So many of Ellison’s sentences are bathed in light and others in storm, but they’re always displaying us. This tale of memory is less a historical dive into Juneteenth itself, but rather of the Black life in the south slipping out of memory. This book was published after Ellison’s death and sometimes defies traditional structure, making it an excellent listen as it washes over you.”

Training School for Negro Girls

By Ralph Ellison • Narrated by Joe Morton & Charles Johnson

“Absolutely one of my all-time favorite collections, I enjoyed discovering this as an audiobook all over again. Camille Acker captures so many moments of life in Washington, DC and the Black women’s experience navigating our jobs, our streets, families, and gentrification. Nothing is ever simple, but it is always richly felt and imagined. Celebrating Juneteenth needs to be rooted not just in its origins, but in its present reality too, and by taking us through the DC Black experience in time, Acker gives us that grounding.”

Celebrating Juneteenth needs to be rooted not just in its origins, but in its present reality too.”

Loyalty Bookstores

Source Booksellers

Detroit, MI

How the Word Is Passed

By Clint Smith • Narrated by the author

“Emancipation Day (Juneteenth) can be celebrated by listening to Clint Smith’s book How the Word is Passed! In the book, Smith takes us on a tour of monuments and landmarks that show us how slavery has been central to shaping our country’s history. We delight in freedom from enslavement, but look deeply into its impact on the country and ourselves.”

Freedom Dreams

By Robin D.G. Kelley • Narrated by JD Jackson

“Freedom Day (Juneteenth) can be celebrated by listening to Robin D.G.Kelley’s Freedom Dreams! While emancipation was a freedom dream come true, this book shows that Black people never stopped freedom-dreaming here in America.”

While emancipation was a freedom-dream come true…Black people never stopped freedom-dreaming here in America.

Source Booksellers

Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books

Philadelphia, PA

The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson • Narrated by Robin Miles

“This masterful chronicle of America’s greatest exodus between 1917 and 1975, during which millions of Black Americans fled the elaborate Jim Crow laws of the Deep South for the relative freedoms of the north. I picked this book because it fills in the gaps of what we are not commonly taught about the widespread institutional neglect of generations of Black citizens post-slavery.”

The Office of Historical Corrections

By Danielle Evans • Narrated by Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Nicole Lewis, Brittany Pressley, Shayna Small, January LaVoy, Adenrele Ojo & Janina Edwards

“I loved listening to this collection of stories, and felt a profound connection with these incredibly finespun characters exploring loss, relationships, and the collective and personal hauntings of history. These stories humanely portray how so many of our experiences are shaped and contorted by race, and drives home how people’s choices illuminate who they really are.”


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Kelsey Norris is a writer, editor, former bookseller, and Libro.fm's Content Marketing Manager. She is currently based in DC. Find more of her work at www.kelseynorris.com.

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