TBB’s Lit List – April 2024

Check out our recommended reads for the month of April …

Our selection of books this month include releases from children’s author E.L. Norry and writer and journalist Kuchenga Shenjé for you to add to you reading list.

The Library Thief by Kuchenga Shenjé

After he brought her home from Jamaica as a baby, Florence’s father (a bookbinder) had her hair hot-combed to make her look like the other girls. But when she brings scandal to his door and he throws her onto the streets of Manchester, she must rely on the secrets of bookbinding that she learned from him. Florence talks her way into the formidable Rose Hall to work with its rare books. But when the library is broken into and Florence discovers a half-burned diary in the fireplace, she must piece together the clues.

Publication Date: Tuesday 9th April 2024 (UK) | Publisher: Little Brown

Manny And The Baby by Varaidzo

London, 1936. Two sisters are ready to take the city and the world by storm.

Bath, 2012. Two young Black men are figuring out who they are, and who they want to become.

Manny Powell is forthright, intellectual, and determined to make her mark on the London literary scene. Her younger sister, Rita just wants to dance. Chasing their dreams across smoky Soho jazz clubs, they soon find themselves part of the burgeoning Black ambition movement and must learn how to navigate it as women. As tensions rise, and fascism and war snap at their heels, Rita finds herself drawn to the mysterious mimic and trumpeter, Ezekiel Brown, from Jamaica, and the trio are faced with choices that will alter their lives forever.

Itai has fled London to his late father’s flat in Bath. Listening to cassette tapes his father made, he realises there is a lot he doesn’t know about the man’s life — who is Rita? Why did his father record her life story? And might she hold the answers to Itai’s questions? Meanwhile, his developing friendship with Josh, a young athlete who moonlights as a dealer to fund his training, is on unsteady ground. As the country prepares for the 2012 Olympics, Josh is under increasing pressure from his bosses to find out just what the hell Itai is really doing in their city.

Manny and the Baby stood out for me from the first few lines. The beautifully balanced prose, the wonderful story, and sumptuous detail are constructed with poetic precision and held my attention right until the very end.Jacqueline Crooks, author of Fire Rush

An incredibly special writer, thoughtful and energetic, occasionally savage, wise beyond her years, with an eye and an ear for syntax that is masterful … Varaidzo is the future, and Manny and the Baby is a book for the ages.Nikesh Shukla

Publish Date: Thursday 11th April 2024 | Publisher: Scribe

An African History of Africa: From the Dawn of Civilization to Independence Book by Zeinab Badawi

Everyone is originally from Africa, and this book is therefore for everyone. For too long, Africa’s history has been dominated by Western narratives of slavery and colonialism, or simply ignored.

In this fascinating book, Badawi guides us through Africa’s spectacular history – from the very origins of our species, through ancient civilisations and medieval empires with remarkable queens and kings, to the miseries of conquest and the elation of independence. Visiting more than thirty African countries to interview countless historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and local storytellers, she unearths buried histories from across the continent and gives Africa its rightful place in our global story.

Publish Date: Thursday 18th April 2024 | Publisher: Ebury Publishing

Water Baby by Chioma Okereke

She’s the Pearl of Makoko and the world is her oyster.

In Makoko, the floating slum off mainland Lagos, Nigeria, nineteen-year-old Baby yearns for an existence where she can escape the future her father has planned for her.

With opportunities scarce, Baby jumps at the chance to join a newly launched drone-mapping project, aimed at broadening the visibility of her community.

Then a video of her at work goes viral and Baby finds herself with options she could never have imagined – including the possibility of leaving her birthplace to represent Makoko on the world stage.

But will life beyond the lagoon be everything she’s dreamed of? Or has everything she wants been in front of her all along?

Publish Date: Thursday 11th April | Publisher: Quercus Books

Fablehouse: Heart of Fire by Emma Norry

Protect your home. Conjure your fire. Fulfil your fate.

A gripping story about children finding their power within, with the guidance of the Black Knight from King Arthur’s Round Table. Fablehouse is a children’s home like no other. Heather and her friends who live here have magic at their fingertips.

The children have a powerful friend in Pal, an Arthurian knight who teaches them to harness the powers they find within themselves. But not everyone the children meet is on their side. Fablehouse is threatened by an inspector who is searching for a reason to close down this safe haven for mixed-race children.

The kids and their devoted carer Miss Isolde vow to save their home, but Pal is distracted. He cannot rest until he’s completed the quest given to him by King Arthur centuries ago. Can magic help the residents of Fablehouse fulfil their destiny, or will it leave them more isolated than ever? Heather can conjure up fire but is scared that she will never learn to control its force.

Fire can destroy – but can Heather also use it its warmth and protection to save her friends and their home

Publish Date: Thursday 25th April 2024 | Publisher: Jacaranda Books

While We Were Burning by Sara Koffi

After her best friend’s mysterious death, Elizabeth Smith’s picture-perfect life in the Memphis suburbs has spiralled out of control, so much so that she hires a personal assistant to keep her on track. Composed and elegant, Brianna is exactly who she needs and slides so neatly into Elizabeth’s life. Soon, the assistant Elizabeth hired to distract her from her obsession with her friend’s death is the same person working with her to uncover the truth behind it.

Because Brianna has questions, too.

She wants to know why the police killed her young Black son. Why someone in Elizabeth’s neighbourhood called the cops on him that day? Who took that first step that stole her child away from her? And the only way she’s ever going to be able to find out is to entwine herself deep into Elizabeth’s life, where the answers to her questions lie. As the two women hurtle towards an electrifying final showdown, and the lines between employer and friend blur, it becomes clear that neither of them is what they first appear.

A riveting page-turner…Koffi’s fresh, bold, and sharp prose sweeps you right into the murky gray spaces and wide spectrum of conflicting human emotion filled with messy characters. This is the type of contemporary fiction I crave-raw, original, and unapologetic. Gasp-inducing scenes, sensational twists, and brilliant writing make While We Were Burning one unforgettable and unputdownable debut not to miss.
Lọlá Ákínmádé Åkerström, author of In Every Mirror She’s Black

Publication Date: Thursday 25th April 2024 | Publisher: Jacaranda Press

Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh

When Obiefuna’s father witnesses an intimate moment between his teenage son and the family’s apprentice, newly arrived from the nearby village, he banishes Obiefuna to a Christian boarding school marked by strict hierarchy and routine, devastating violence. Utterly alienated from the people he loves, Obiefuna begins a journey of self-discovery and blossoming desire, while his mother Uzoamaka grapples to hold onto her favourite son, her truest friend.

Interweaving the perspectives of Obiefuna and his mother Uzoamaka, as they reach towards a future that will hold them both, Blessings is an elegant and exquisitely moving story of love and loneliness. Asking how we can live freely when politics reaches into our hearts and lives, as well as deep into our consciousness, it is a stunning, searing debut.

Chukwuebuka Ibeh’s writing has a certain delicacy to it, so wonderfully observant, and so beautifulChimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A moving debut about love and loneliness‘ Sunday Times.

Publish Date: Thursday 22nd February 2024 | Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd


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