Reading List

As I began researching literary examples of black girlhood, I scoured the internet for a resource containing the titles of literature and critical essays that prominently feature and/or analyze black female children and adolescents. I quickly realized that such an aid did not exist. Therefore, I am starting one here; and as I discover such texts, I will add them below.

While this reading list is not comprehensive, it aspires to be. Therefore, please feel free to suggest other titles featuring black female children and adolescents using the contact form below.

Also, be sure to join the BGP Zotero group to review and expand our black girlhood bibliography.


  • Adeyemi, Tomi. Children of Blood and Bone (2018)
  • Adichie, Chimimanda Ngozi. Purple Hibiscus (2003)
  • Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)
  • Bambara, Toni Cade. Gorilla, My Love (1972)
  • Brown, William Wells. Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter (1853)
  • Bond, Cynthia. Ruby: A Novel (2014)
  • Butler, Octavia E. Fledgling (2005)
  • Butler, Octavia E. Kindred (1979)
  • Butler, Octavia. Parable of the Sower (1993)
  • Clemmons, Zinzi. What We Lose: A Novel (2017)
  • Danticat, Edwidge. Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994)
  • Davis, L. M. Interlopers: A Shifters Novel (2010)
  • Davis, L. M. Posers: A Shifters Novel (2012)
  • Dunbar, Paul Laurence. The Sport of the Gods (1902)
  • Hamilton, Virginia. Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush (2001)
  • Harper, Frances E. W. Iola Leroy (1892)
  • Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
  • Jackson, Naomi A. The Star Side of Bird Hill (2016)
  • Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)
  • Jones, Tayari. Leaving Atlanta (2002)
  • Lockhart, Zelda. Fifth Born: A Novel (2002)
  • Marshall, Paule. Brown Girls, Brownstones (1959)
  • Marshall, Paule. “To Da-Duh, In Memoriam” (1967)
  • McMillan, Terry. Mama (1987)
  • Meriwether, Louise. Daddy Was a Number Runner (1970)
  • Morrison, Toni. Beloved (1987)
  • Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye (1970)
  • Morrison, Toni. Sula (1973)
  • Okorafor, Nnedi. Binti (2015)
  • Okorafor, Nnedi. The Book of Phoenix (2015)
  • Parks, Suzan-Lori. Getting Mother’s Body (2003)
  • Phillips, Delores. The Darkest Child (2004)
  • Shange, Ntozake. Sassafras, Cypress & Indigo (2010)
  • Sapphire. Push (1996)
  • Souljah, Sister. The Coldest Winter Ever (1999)
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Life Among the Lowly (1852)
  • Taylor, Mildred D. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976)
  • Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give (2017)
  • Toomer, Jean. “Karintha.” Cane (1923)
  • Verdelle, A. J. The Good Negress (1995)
  • Walker, Alice. The Color Purple (1985)
  • Walker, Margaret. “For My People” (1989)
  • Walker, Margaret. Jubilee (1966)
  • Ward, Jesmyn. Salvage the Bones (2011)
  • Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad (2016)
  • Wilson, Harriet E. Our Nig (1859)


  • Bristol, Stefon, director. See You Yesterday (2019)
  • DuVernay, Ava, director. A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
  • Thomas, LeSean, creator. Cannon Busters (2019)

Critical Resources

  • Bernstein, Robin. Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights (2011).
  • Brooks, Wanda, et al. “Narrative Significations of Contemporary Black Girlhood.” Research in the Teaching of English, vol. 45, no. 1, 2010, pp. 7-35.
  • Brooks, Wanda, and Jonda McNair. “‘Combing’ Through Representations of Black Girls’ Hair in African American Children’s Literature.” Children’s Literature in Education, vol. 46, no. 3, Sept. 2015, pp. 296–307.
  • Crenshaw, Kimberle Williams. “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected.” African American Policy Forum and Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies.
  • Epstein, Rebecca, Jamilia Blake, and Thalia González. “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood.” Center on Poverty and Inequality, Georgetown Law.
  • Halliday, Aria S. “Envisioning Black Girl Futures: Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda Feminism and New Understandings of Black Girl Sexuality in Popular Culture.” Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, Fall 2017. pp. 65-77.
  • Halliday, Aria S. “Miley, What’s Good?: Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, Instagram Reproductions, and Viral Memetic Violence.” Girlhood Studies, vol. 11, no. 3 (Winter 2018): 67-83.
  • King, Wilma. Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America (1995).
  • Morris, Monique W. Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (2015).
  • Price-Dennis, Detra, et al. “The Multiple Identities and Literacies of Black Girlhood: A Conversation About Creating Spaces for Black Girl Voices.” Journal of Language & Literacy Education / Ankara Universitesi SBF Dergisi, vol. 13, no. 2, Fall 2017, pp. 1-18.
  • Priest, Myisha. “Gospels According to Faith: Rewriting Black Girlhood through the Quilt.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, no. 4, 2014, p. 461.
  • Proehl, Kristen. Battling Girlhood: Sympathy, Social Justice, and the Tomboy Figure in American Literature. Routledge, 2018.
  • Roye, Susmita. “Toni Morrison’s Disrupted Girls and Their Disturbed Girlhoods The Bluest Eye and A Mercy.” Callaloo, vol. 35, no. 1, Winter 2012, p. 212.
  • Washington, Sondra Bickham. “‘Who Will Deliver Me?’: Black Girlhood in a Man’s World in Salvage the Bones.” Xavier Review. 38.2, Fall 2018: 85-93.
  • Wright, Nazera Sadiq. Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century (2016).


[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]