May 2023 Recommended Reads

It is almost summer and we have another great set of book recommendations for you to add to you reading list.

Friendship Never Ends by Alexandra Sheppard

Funny, heartwarming and full of relatable cringeworthy stories, Friendship Never Ends follows four best
friends over the course of a lifechanging summer.

After a disastrous end of term party leaves them feeling embarrassed, Sunita, May, Dawn and Gifty, decide
it’s time to grow up, reinvent themselves and say goodbye to their childish ways. It will be the first time
since primary school they’re not spending the summer together, and six weeks is a long time when you’re
14-years-old – and even longer when you don’t have reliable internet access!
Away from home and out of their comfort zones, these four besties put pen to postcard to stay in touch,
and time away from each other pushes them to learn who they are and what makes them unique – quirks,
flaws and all!

Publishing Date: 4th May 2023
Publisher: Knight Of

My Life as a Chameleon by Diana Anyakwo

Lily is a sixteen-year-old living in Manchester. It is nearly five years since her father’s death, and she is soon to return to her birthplace in Nigeria to reunite with her mother and siblings for the anniversary. As cold rain thunders on the streets of Moss Side she looks back over her young life and wonders . . . how did she get here?

As a young girl in Lagos, Lily is the baby of her large family. The daughter of a Nigerian father and Irish mother, she lives in a dual reality: one where moments of bright colour and tenderness exist alongside a sense of danger just beneath the surface of her apparently idyllic life. This is a tension that nobody dares speak out loud and it teaches Lily an early lesson: always blend in, always play the right part.

But the truth cannot stay hidden forever. Things in Lagos itself, and within her family, soon reach breaking point. As her city and her family implode into chaos around her, and at school her skin colour marks her out from the crowd, Lily struggles to know how to blend in. And when her mother sends her away to school in England, Lily’s sense of identity is challenged in even more painful ways.

My Life as a Chameleon is a powerful story of resilience and belonging, about family secrets and how they can destroy even the deepest bonds. It is a story about finding your place in the world and realising you deserve to be there.

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 4th May

Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Dancing is the one thing that can solve Stephen’s problems.

At Church with his family, the shimmer of Black hands raised in praise. With his band, making music speaking not just to their hardships, but their joys. Grooving with his best friend, so close their heads might touch. Dancing alone to his father’s records, uncovering parts of a man he has never truly known. His youth, shame and sacrifice.

Stephen has only ever known himself in song. But what becomes of him when the music fades?

Set over the course of three summers, from South London to Ghana and back again, SMALL WORLDS is a novel about the worlds we build for ourselves. The worlds we live, dance and love within.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 11th May 2023

The Last Gift of the Master Artists by Ben Okri

By a riverbank in Africa, two lovers meet for the first time. They make a promise to meet again the next day, same time, same place, but only one of them shows up.
This sounds like the beginning of a love story, but it’s more than that, for this breathtaking tale takes the reader into the heart of a vibrant world, a complex and intriguing civilisation of warriors and kings, philosophers and artists, parents and lovers. A world and culture which is about to end for, glimpsed on the horizon, seen but unsuspected, beautiful ships with white sails are waiting…

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 11 May 2023

Time to Shine at the River School by Sabine Adeyinka

Welcome to a new term at the River School! Jummy and Caro are thrilled to be working with their Nile House friends on the school corn-planting competition. But as they try to grow the biggest crops, they realize the beautiful Shine-Shine River is running low – why, and what does it have to do with the sinister bakery nearby?

The friends will have to step up if they want to save the river and its wildlife – and win the school prize in the process …

The sequel to the critically-acclaimed Jummy at the River School, chosen as both Indie Book of the Month and Blackwell’s Book of the Month.

A glorious collision of old-fashioned boarding-school tropes with vibrant 1990s Nigeria Irrepressible Jummy investigates a mystery full of laughter, environmentalism and friendship with a message of empowerment

Publish Date: 11th May 2023
Publisher: Chicken House Books

Small by Small : Becoming a Doctor in 1990s Nigeria by Ike Anya

As he works his way through his medical training, Ike Anya’s grandmother reassures him, everything worthwhile is achieved small by small. Ike’s story charts the triumphs and failures of his student days through to his first demanding year as a house officer.

A medical memoir unlike any from the West, this is filled with the colour and vibrancy of tempestuous 1990s Nigeria, where political unrest, social change and a worsening economy make a doctor’s life particularly challenging.

Publisher: Sandstone Press Ltd
Publishing Date: 18 May 2023

Speak Up! by Nathan Bryon, Illustrated by Dapo Adeola.

Join the brilliantly passionate and instantly loveable Rocket as she organises a peaceful protest to save her local library!

Bookworm Rocket loves to collect new books on her weekly visit to the library, and to read all about inspirational figures like Rosa Parks. She is heartbroken when she discovers the library will be closing down! Can she use what she’s learnt from Rosa and speak up to save the day?

This empowering, heartwarming picture book is a love letter to libraries and the power of reading. And it shows the incredible power we ALL have when we find our voice and speak up about the things that matter.

Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s UK
Publish Date: 25th May 2023

A Quick Ting On Series. AQTO: Black British Businesses by  Tskenya-Sarah Frazer

Day-to-day struggles, triumphant success stories, and unique circumstances. A Quick Ting On Black British Businesses takes you on an informative journey through the history (and future) of Black British entrepreneurship.
With the powerful rise of Black British culture, Black British entrepreneurship has rapidly become a point of great
conversation. A Quick Ting On : Black British Businesses looks back on significant moments in Black British
entrepreneurship, exploring the struggles, success and unique circumstances that face Black British businesses.
Including interviews and insights from some of your favourite Black British entrepreneurs from Sharmadean Reid MBE, Ozwald Boateng OBE to the late, great Jamal Edwards MBE and many more. A Quick Ting On : Black British Businesses takes you on an informative journey through the history and future of Black British entrepreneurship.

Publisher: Jacaranda Books Art Music Ltd
Publish Date: 25th May

A Broken People’s Playlist : Stories (from Songs) by Chimeka Garrick

A Broken People’s Playlist is set to the soundtrack of life, comprised of twelve music-inspired tales about love, the human condition, micro-moments, and the search for meaning and sometimes, redemption. It is also Chimeka Garricks’s love letter to his native city, Port Harcourt, introducing us to a cast of indelible characters in these loosely interlocked tales.

There is the teenage wannabe-DJ eager to play his first gig even as his family disastrously falls apart-who reappears many years later as an unhappy middle-aged man drunk-calling his ex-wife; a man who throws a living funeral for his dying brother; three friends who ponder penis captivus and one’s peculiar erectile dysfunction; a troubled woman who tries to find her peace-place in the world, helped by a headful of songs and a pot of ginger tea.

Infused with the author’s resonant and evocative storytelling, each page holds “the depth of a novel” (Hari Kunzru); a character, a moment that will-like a favorite song-long linger in the heart and mind.

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publish Date: 25th May 2023

More Perfect by Temi Oh

What does it feel like to wake up in the Panopticon? It’s like waking up for the first time ever. It’s like waking up with a third eye.’

When Moremi connects her brain to the Panopticon, a network which allows you to see inside the minds and dreams of others, she believes that it will save her from depression, loneliness and, eventually, death. That is until she meets Orpheus.

Orpheus was brought up in isolation by a Neo-luddite father. He was raised to question everything, including the government who plan to make the connection procedure compulsory.

They promise that connecting everyone to the Panopticon will end human suffering and usher in a more perfect world. But when Orpheus and Moremi uncover the dark side of the technology, they find themselves on opposite sides of a radical divide, between those who believe that the Panopticon will save humanity, and those who will stop at nothing to destroy it.

The Circle meets Inception in an immersive and futuristic story that explores love, loneliness and the limits of technology’s ability to save a humanity who might not want to be saved.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publish Date: 25th May 2023

The Battle Drum: A Novel by Saara El-Arifi

Murder. Secrets. Sacrifice.

Anoor is the first blue-blooded ruler of the Wardens’ Empire. But when she is accused of a murder she didn’t commit, her reign is thrown into turmoil. She must solve the mystery and clear her name without the support of her beloved, Sylah.

Sylah braves new lands to find a solution for the hurricane that threatens to destroy her home. But in finding answers, she must make a decision, does she sacrifice her old life in order to raise up her sword once more?

Hassa’s web of secrets grows ever thicker as she finds herself on a trail of crimes in the city. Her searching uncovers the extent of the atrocities of the empire’s past and present. Now, she must guard both her heart and her land. The three women find their answers, but they’re not the answers they wanted.

The drumbeat of change thrums throughout the world. And it sings a song of war.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Published: 25th May 2023


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