June 16

20 Travel-Themed Books by Black Authors That Will Fuel Your Desire to See the World



This article originally appeared on Travelandleisure.com.

Hopping on a plane or jumping in the car aren’t the only ways to go on an adventure. Books have a way of transporting us to new places, and the following list of novels is no exception.

Related: How and Where to Donate to Fight Racial Injustice

We’ve rounded up 20 travel-themed books by Black authors that will satisfy your thirst for adventure and possibly even inspire your next trip. Each book offers a rich narrative with fascinating characters and captivating settings around the world. Read on.

1. Behind the Mountains by Edwidge Danticat

Courtesy Scholastic

This novel follows young Celiane as she leaves her small town in Haiti for Brooklyn, New York. Readers will fall in love with Danticat’s description of Celiane’s simple life in the lush mountains of Haiti.

For more information: edwidgedanticat.com

2. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Courtesy Penguin Random House

Born a Crime is Noah’s love letter to both his Black mother and life in South Africa. The memoir takes place in the years after apartheid and gives readers an intimate portrait of the comedian’s home country.

For more information: trevornoah.com

3. Black Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood

Courtesy Amazon

Paris is for lovers. It’s also for Black girls from Alabama who travel to Paris to follow in the footsteps of writer James Baldwin. Black Girl in Paris explores the idealization versus reality of living in the famous French city.

For more information: shayyoungblood.com

4. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Courtesy Simon & Schuster

Queenie is based on a young Black professional living in London, who comes from a traditional Jamaican family. Queenie struggles to find her place at her newspaper job, and also seems to have bad luck in her relationships. In the end, she learns to stand up to her family and for herself.

For more information: simonandschuster.com

5. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

Courtesy Penguin Random House

Nigeria serves as the background for this emotional story about a modern African marriage. Stay With Me is about the contrast between old traditions and new ways, and what happens to a couple who is stuck in between.

For more information: ayobamiadebayo.com

6. The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson

Courtesy Penguin Random House

The Star Side of Bird Hill centers on two sisters, Dionne and Phaedra, who are sent from Brooklyn to Barbados to live with their grandmother. The girls learn about their mother’s secretive history, and when their father shows up, things get complicated. The novel is just as colorful as the Caribbean island.

For more information: naomi-jackson.com

7. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Courtesy Harper Collins

Hurston’s most popular work takes place in the all Black town of Eatonville, Florida, in the 1920s. The story follows Janie in her pursuit of love and happiness. And it has everything needed for a Florida setting: the heat, the Everglades, and even a hurricane.

For more information: zoranealehurston.com

8. Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Courtesy Amazon

In Here Comes the Sun, Dennis-Benn takes readers beyond the white sands and turquoise waters of Jamaica. In the novel, Margot works at a high-end resort and is faced with hard decisions in order to keep food on the table and her younger sister in school.

For more information: nicoledennisbenn.com

9. Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

Courtesy Macmillan

Kincaid’s Annie John is a gentle novel that takes place on the quiet island of Antigua. Set in the 1950s, the coming-of-age story features a young Antiguan girl facing the difficult decision to leave her island and family for a new life in England.

For more information: us.macmillan.com

10. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

Courtesy Penguin Random House

In this novel, the death of a patriarch in the opening chapters brings his children back home to Ghana from Boston, New York, and London. The book explores themes of migration, family, and what it means to be home.

For more information: penguinrandomhouse.com

11. Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique

Courtesy Penguin Random House

If you like novels with a mix of magic realism, Land of Love and Drowning delivers. The novel tells the story of a family over three generations, from the 1900s to the 1970s, with the island of St. Thomas as a background.

For more information: tiphanieyanique.com

12. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Courtesy Workman Publishing

Jones often sets her novels in Atlanta, and An American Marriage is no different. The book follows a couple who is torn apart by an accusation and must live with the fallout. Lovers of the Peach State can also read Jones’ other novels, Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling.

For more information: tayarijones.com

13. From Scratch by Tembi Locke

Courtesy Amazon 

After reading From Scratch, readers will want to book a flight to Sicily to wander through the cobblestone streets. The memoir begins with Locke falling in love with her future husband while studying abroad in Italy. The couple then moves to Southern California, where a tragedy occurs that brings Locke back to the Italian island.

For more information: tembilocke.com

14. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika and Maritza Moulite

Courtesy Amazon

The Moulite sisters’ debut novel is just as dazzling as the front cover. The book features a young Haitian American, Alaine Beauparlant, as she travels from South Florida to Haiti to solve a family mystery. The story is unique in its depiction of the Haitian upper class in both Haiti and Miami.

For more information: maikaandmaritza.com

15. Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Courtesy Penguin Random House

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to spend a week with the Duke and Duchess, Royal Holiday is the perfect read. Vivian Forest and her daughter, who is a stylist for the royal family, travel to England and spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the English countryside. Over tea and crumpets, Vivian finds herself in an unexpected romance.

For more information: jasmineguillory.com

16. Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

Courtesy Amazon

Queen Sugar will pull you in with its family drama and captivating characters. The novel centers on three siblings who return to Louisiana to save their father’s sugarcane field. The story is steeped in New Orleans history, while also depicting modern life in the Deep South.

For more information: nataliebaszile.com

17. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Courtesy Penguin Random House

Americanah, which was released in 2013, remains one of the best-selling novels set in Nigeria. The story traces young Ifemelu’s journey from Nigeria to New York and back again. Readers will watch her grapple with her identity and love life, all while writing a popular blog about race in America.

For more information: chimamanda.com

18. All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou

Courtesy Amazon

Angelou is known for her signature storytelling, and in All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, the author brings readers with her as she recounts the years she lived in Ghana. In this captivating memoir, Angelou writes about trying to escape racism in America while also struggling to fit into African culture.

For more information: penguinrandomhouse.com

19. The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Set in Detroit, The Turner House tells the story of the 13 Turner children over five decades. The novel follows the rise and fall of the Turner family, which mirrors the rise and fall of one of America’s greatest cities.

For more information: angelaflournoy.com

20. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Courtesy Amazon

Woodson uses Brooklyn as the background for this coming-of-age story of three Black girls in the 1970s. The novel will have you dreaming of hanging out on brownstone steps on a warm summer night.

For more information: harpercollins.com


adventure, Africa, African American, Alabama, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, Americanah, An American Marriage, Angela Flournoy, Annie John, Another Brooklyn, Antigua, apartheid, art, Atlanta, authors, Ayobami Adebayo, Barbados, Behind the Mountains, black authors, Black Girl in Paris, books, Born a Crime, Boston, Brooklyn, California, Candice Carty-Williams, Caribbean, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, culture, Dear Haiti Love Alaine, Detroit, Eatonville, Edwidge Danticat, England, Everglades, Florida, France, From Scratch, Georgia, Ghana, Ghana Must Go, Haiti, Here Comes the Sun, inspiration, Jacqueline Woodson, Jamaica, Jamaica Kincaid, Jasmine Guillory, Land of Love and Drowning, London, Louisiana, Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite, Massachusetts, Maya Angelou, Miami, Michigan, Naomi Jackson, Natalie Baszile, New Orleans, New York, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Nigeria, Queen Sugar, Queenie, reading, Royal Holiday, Shay Youngblood, Sicily, South Africa, St. Thomas, Stay With Me, Taiye Selasi, Tayari Jones, Tembi Locke, The Star Side of Bird Hill, The Turner House, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Tiphanie Yanique, Trevor Noah, Zora Neale Hurston

You may also like

Receive New Posts Directly in Your Inbox