100 books like Like One of the Family

By Alice Childress,

Here are 100 books that Like One of the Family fans have personally recommended if you like Like One of the Family. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Blanche on the Lam

Joan L. Kelly Author Of Notions of Murder

From my list on cozy mysteries to snuggle up with now and then.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a person who likes to nibble on poetry and taste history and non-fiction. But I love to devour fiction, especially mysteries. Reading a feel-good adventure with an excellent plot and engaging characters is my way of relaxing. My philosophy is that life can often be difficult, and fiction stories, such as cozy mysteries, are good therapy. When I’m not reading, quilting, or spending time with my grandkids, I’m writing stories. As a former teacher, I try to live up to the saying: Writing is painting pictures with words.

Joan's book list on cozy mysteries to snuggle up with now and then

Joan L. Kelly Why did Joan love this book?

I get a kick out of a story that presents a main character who doesn’t fit the expected norms of a hero or heroine. A feisty, middle-aged African-American housekeeper/cook is not your typical amateur sleuth. When her checks bounce because her rich employer fails to pay her, Blanche goes on the lam. Hiding as a maid for a wealthy family, things look bleak when a murder occurs in the home.  Blanche calls on her savvy and wit to discover the truth. As the story unfolds, the author uses humor and biting sentences to present a glimpse into the foibles of southern society toward domestic help. This is the first of this cozy mystery series featuring a very memorable character, Balance White. An enjoyable read!  

Once you read Blanche on the Lam, I believe you won’t hesitate to search out book two of the series to see what further adventures…

By Barbara Neely,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Blanche on the Lam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning author Barbara Neely presents the first in a series of novels featuring Blanche White, bla ck domestic worker extraordinaire and accidental sleuth. '

Book cover of Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household

Claudia Smith Brinson Author Of Stories of Struggle: The Clash over Civil Rights in South Carolina

From my list on revealing what is hidden, lost, forgotten.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in sixteen places by the time I was twenty-two. A peripatetic youth may teach you that different is interesting, that stereotypes don’t hold, that the emperor has no clothes. When I moved South and worked as a journalist, I found black elders’ stories so different from the official stories of white authorities. Horrified that these men and women would die with their heroism untold, I interviewed more than 150 black activists for Stories of Struggle. I want to know what is missing; I want it found. Like a detective, an anthropologist, a scientist, and yes, a journalist, I want to know, and I want others to know.

Claudia's book list on revealing what is hidden, lost, forgotten

Claudia Smith Brinson Why did Claudia love this book?

Out of the House of Bondage destroys the myth of the Southern plantation mistress as a delicate, gentle being presiding over a household maintained by passive, devoted, enslaved women.

A professor of history and law at Duke University, Thavolia Glymph scoured female slaveholders’ diaries and enslaved and freed people’s narratives to expose the mistresses’ use of violence – cowhide whippings, “until she was just a piece of living raw meat”; burning with hot irons, “hot enough to take off flesh”; beating to death a crying baby – and enslaved women’s resistance, perceived then and described later as laziness, misbehavior, and insubordination.

Glymph’s uncovering of abuse upsets a familiar false narrative, dismantling previous scholarship and exposing white women’s use of violence to assert power. A seeker of missing voices and lost stories, I am deeply interested in what has been ignored, misinterpreted, or omitted.

By Thavolia Glymph,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Out of the House of Bondage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The plantation household was, first and foremost, a site of production. This fundamental fact has generally been overshadowed by popular and scholarly images of the plantation household as the source of slavery's redeeming qualities, where 'gentle' mistresses ministered to 'loyal' slaves. This book recounts a very different story. The very notion of a private sphere, as divorced from the immoral excesses of chattel slavery as from the amoral logic of market laws, functioned to conceal from public scrutiny the day-to-day struggles between enslaved women and their mistresses, subsumed within a logic of patriarchy. One of emancipation's unsung consequences was precisely…

Book cover of Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement

Jennifer L. Pierce Author Of Racing for Innocence: Whiteness, Gender, and the Backlash Against Affirmative Action

From my list on women’s rights in the American workplace.

Why am I passionate about this?

Women’s rights in the workplace have been my passion for thirty years. As a sociologist who does fieldwork and oral histories, I am interested in understanding work through workers’ perspectives. The most important thing I’ve learned is that employers can be notoriously reluctant to enact change and that the most effective route to workplace justice is through collective action. I keep writing because I want more of us to imagine workplaces that value workers by compensating everyone fairly and giving workers greater control over their office’s rhythm and structure. 

Jennifer's book list on women’s rights in the American workplace

Jennifer L. Pierce Why did Jennifer love this book?

Did you know that until 1974, the job category ‘domestic worker’ was excluded from labor rights that were established in FDR’s New Deal legislation such as the minimum wage and workers’ compensation? Did you know that 1960s union leaders ignored the exploitative labor conditions of domestic work because they considered these workers “unorganizable”?

Historian Premilla Nadasan’s wonderful book tells the story of Black domestic workers’ exclusion from legal rights to which other workers were entitled and their fight to gain those rights beginning in the 1950s and extending through the establishment of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1974.

Telling this history through the life stories of domestic workers who were leaders in this movement makes this book a particularly compelling and worthwhile read.  

By Premilla Nadasen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Household Workers Unite as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Telling the stories of African American domestic workers, this book resurrects a little-known history of domestic worker activism in the 1960s and 1970s, offering new perspectives on race, labor, feminism, and organizing.
In this groundbreaking history of African American domestic-worker organizing, scholar and activist Premilla Nadasen shatters countless myths and misconceptions about an historically misunderstood workforce. Resurrecting a little-known history of domestic-worker activism from the 1950s to the 1970s, Nadasen shows how these women were a far cry from the stereotyped passive and powerless victims; they were innovative labor organizers who tirelessly organized on buses and streets across the United…

Book cover of Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women's Digital Resistance

Micki McElya Author Of Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America

From my list on antidotes to the unrelenting poison of “Aunt Jemima”.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stories of the past are always about making claims to the present and future. These claims include which stories—whose stories—are persistently silenced, ignored, or made very hard to hear, see, and know in the dominant culture. I am a cultural historian of U.S. political history, broadly imagined. My work is almost always driven by the same question: Why didn’t I already know this? Quickly followed by: What has it meant that I didn’t know this? Invariably, the answers are found in the histories of women, gender, race, sexuality, class, and immigration.

Micki's book list on antidotes to the unrelenting poison of “Aunt Jemima”

Micki McElya Why did Micki love this book?

Bailey originated the term “misogynoir” in 2008 to describe, she writes, “the anti-Black racist misogyny that Black women experience, particularly in US visual and digital culture.” The controlling image of the “Mammy” has long been a hyper-visible, toxic presence in this milieu. In this book, Bailey examines the digital resistance and social media-based activisms of Black women—particularly queer and trans women—who seize representational power to dismantle the distorting stereotypes, expose their systemic impacts, and make spaces for telling their own diverse, gendered Black stories and enable others to do so as well. Throughout, Bailey makes clear that cultural representations have material, life-and-death effects, but also the capacity to create new and better worlds.

By Moya Bailey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Misogynoir Transformed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Where racism and sexism meet-an understanding of anti-Black misogyny
When Moya Bailey first coined the term misogynoir, she defined it as the ways anti-Black and misogynistic representation shape broader ideas about Black women, particularly in visual culture and digital spaces. She had no idea that the term would go viral, touching a cultural nerve and quickly entering into the lexicon. Misogynoir now has its own Wikipedia page and hashtag, and has been featured on Comedy Central's The Daily Show and CNN's Cuomo Prime Time. In Misogynoir Transformed, Bailey delves into her groundbreaking concept, highlighting Black women's digital resistance to anti-Black…

Book cover of Piecing Me Together

Jamie Jo Hoang Author Of My Father, The Panda Killer

From my list on loving what makes you different.

Why am I passionate about this?

All my life, I’ve struggled with accepting who I am. It’s no secret that the Vietnam War was unpopular in America; as such, I spent my adolescence hiding who I was. Literature like this didn’t exist when I was a kid. If it had, I think I would’ve seen myself differently. As a writer, I explore similar themes in my work and highlight the importance of discussing how our childhood experiences (good and bad) shape us. Uniformity is a destroyer of identity; my mission is to show how loving what makes us different allows us to love the differences we see in others.

Jamie's book list on loving what makes you different

Jamie Jo Hoang Why did Jamie love this book?

Jade’s Fish out of Water story about a black girl attending St. Francis High School across town and feeling out of place is so relatable.

She’s the kind of friend I would have sought out in my younger years because of how economically similar our situations were. Jade’s desire to collage ugly things into something beautiful is my favorite thing about her character. I love how circumstance does not diminish her ability to see value in her surroundings. This is the underdog story every teen should read.  

By Renee Watson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Piecing Me Together as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner
New York Times bestseller
"Timely and timeless." --Jacqueline Woodson
"Important and deeply moving." --John Green

Acclaimed author Renee Watson offers a powerful story about a girl striving for success in a world that too often seems like it's trying to break her.

Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And Jade has: every day she rides the bus away from her friends and to the private school where…

Book cover of Go Tell It on the Mountain

Elisabeth Åsbrink Author Of 1947: Where Now Begins

From my list on memory and oblivion.

Why am I passionate about this?

My Hungarian father was 7 years old when he almost got deported to Polen by the Nazis, but was miraculously saved by his mother. He came to Sweden, where I´m born, and never looked back, completely focused on the future. So I, his only child, focus on memory and oblivion. It´s like we stand back to back—or like I´m a seamstress, trying to stitch the past with the present. In my British mother´s family history is Salonica, the magical Jewish city in the Ottoman Empire. My Spanish-Jewish grandfather spoke the same Castillian dialect that Cervantes used to write Don Quijote. And I´m born in Sweden. These are my universes and where my writing is born.  

Elisabeth's book list on memory and oblivion

Elisabeth Åsbrink Why did Elisabeth love this book?

I only recently started to read James Baldwin and am blown away by his intensity and poetic language. In this first novel he describes the world of his childhood in Harlem, NY. It is American identity, history, and passion, it´s a portrait of a young man as well of the wounds of slavery hurting in every individual born into the American system. And it’s a beautiful story.

By James Baldwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Go Tell It on the Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Go back to where you started, or as far back as you can, examine all of it, travel your road again and tell the truth about it. Sing or shout or testify or keep it to yourself: but know whence you came.'

Originally published in 1953, Go Tell it on the Mountain was James Baldwin's first major work, based in part on his own childhood in Harlem. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson…

Book cover of Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City

Jerry Mikorenda Author Of America's First Freedom Rider: Elizabeth Jennings, Chester A. Arthur, and the Early Fight for Civil Rights

From my list on history of the Civil Rights Movement.

Why am I passionate about this?

History is learned in the worst way by most, through textbooks. Textbooks are written heavy on dates, timelines, and synopsizing events for multiple-choice, maybe a few, essay questions in schools. Whose facts are they? To paraphrase Frederick Douglass, what does the Fourth of July mean when you’re black? History is taught in these fact silos. But that’s not how it happens. History happens in layers that build under pressure, erupt, and shift like rock sediment evolving over time. I chose these five nonfiction books because they unapologetically show the fault lines and pressures that make American history. These books also uncover the hidden gems created by those societal pressures.       

Jerry's book list on history of the Civil Rights Movement

Jerry Mikorenda Why did Jerry love this book?

You wouldn’t think anyone could unearth something new about New York City. But that’s what Carla Peterson did with this book. I first came across it while researching my own work. By focusing on her own family history, Peterson flipped the wagon on the perception that NYC’s African American population was mostly enslaved laborers. 

Reading this, I discovered an elite class of black entrepreneurs who worked tirelessly to end slavery in the state and gain the civil rights all other New Yorkers enjoyed. Thoroughly researched, the book reads with the ebbs and flows of a novel. Anyone writing future screenplays, novels, or streaming series about old New York must face Peterson’s stereotype-busting work. 

By Carla L. Peterson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Black Gotham as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking history of elite black New Yorkers in the nineteenth century, seen through the lens of the author's ancestors

Part detective tale, part social and cultural narrative, Black Gotham is Carla Peterson's riveting account of her quest to reconstruct the lives of her nineteenth-century ancestors. As she shares their stories and those of their friends, neighbors, and business associates, she illuminates the greater history of African-American elites in New York City.

Black Gotham challenges many of the accepted "truths" about African-American history, including the assumption that the phrase "nineteenth-century black Americans" means enslaved people, that "New York state before…

Book cover of Stories of Freedom in Black New York

Anna Mae Duane Author Of Educated for Freedom: The Incredible Story of Two Fugitive Schoolboys Who Grew Up to Change a Nation

From my list on Black New Yorkers you wish you had learned about in history class.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an associate professor of English at the University of Connecticut. I’ve spent most of my career thinking about the role children have played in American culture. Adults, past and present, often overlook the intelligence and resilience of children who have managed to change both their immediate circumstances, and the world around them. I seek out these children and do my best to honor their stories. I’ve written or edited four other books on race and childhood, and have a podcast on children in history.

Anna's book list on Black New Yorkers you wish you had learned about in history class

Anna Mae Duane Why did Anna love this book?

This beautifully written history focuses on another nineteenth-century Black New Yorker who defies expectations and deserves our attention. Like Educated for Freedom and Black Gotham, White’s story places us in historical moments surrounding the 1827 law ending slavery in New York State. White puts us on the vibrant, noisy, streets of the city, inviting us to see both hope and defiance in how Black people dressed, how they walked down the street, and what they did at the theater. At the center of this history emerges James Hewlett, a man whose life is worthy of at least one feature film, but has remained largely unknown outside of specialists in the field. Hewlett was a Black Shakespearean actor who insisted on his right to interpret Shakespeare for himself and for the community, even as white tastemakers sought to keep the bard’s words to themselves.

By Shane White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stories of Freedom in Black New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stories of Freedom in Black New York recreates the experience of black New Yorkers as they moved from slavery to freedom. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, New York City's black community strove to realize what freedom meant, to find a new sense of itself, and, in the process, created a vibrant urban culture. Through exhaustive research, Shane White imaginatively recovers the raucous world of the street, the elegance of the city's African American balls, and the grubbiness of the Police Office. It allows us to observe the style of black men and women, to watch their public…

Book cover of I Love Myself When I am Laughing: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader

Why am I passionate about this?

If five gentlemen from Mexico, a colored/negro woman from Eatonville, Florida, a former President who happened to be white, with historical privilege, from Plains, Georgia, and two Professors of History can use their knowledge, training, God’s gifts to help us to understand history better, why shouldn't I also be passionate and excited to write. Telling stories, writing, contributing, and unearthing lies and truths so that a child who looks like me – or who does not look like me – is provided a better world. Let me hokey about this – maybe the word is dorky – whatever, the privilege is mine.

Anthony's book list on history books which weave a wonderful tale, while making us laugh, scream, cry and think, while we are bowing and saying bravo at the same time!

Anthony Paul Griffin Why did Anthony love this book?

This work is not a history book but a collection of Zora Neal Hurston’s writings. Hurston wrote fiction and nonfiction and was a trained anthropologist. Her work taught me that history is oft-times found in the strangest places. This reader did this for me – a writer and anthropologist Hurston was. When I read the reader, I wanted to raise my hand and ask questions. Other times, I remained silent, only talking to myself and thinking.

In my former life as a trial lawyer, I remember quoting her writings in a final argument to explain language and culture. As my voice broke, tears flowed – this was the first time I explained the power of this book. They understood, and some of my jurors cried with me.  

By Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Love Myself When I am Laughing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The foundational, classic anthology that revived interest in the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God—"one of the greatest writers of our time"—and made her work widely available for a new generation of readers (Toni Morrison).

During her lifetime, Zora Neale Hurston was praised for her writing but condemned for her independence and audacity. Her work fell into obscurity until the 1970s, when Alice Walker rediscovered Hurston's unmarked grave and anthologized her writing in this groundbreaking collection for the Feminist Press.

I Love Myself When I Am Laughing... And Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive established Hurston…

Book cover of Don't Push Me

Lakisha Johnson Author Of Almost Destroyed

From my list on African American Christian fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a love for Christianity since I was a child. However, it wouldn’t be until years later that the love for it would turn into a passion for penning Christian Fiction. I began my journey in ministry in 2014 and two years later, I released the first novel. Since then, God has allowed me to write on many different topics I’ve now recognized were needed. I want others to see Christian Fiction doesn’t have to be boring or dry, but can be entertaining, inspirational, and full of life. This is why I’ve chosen these books as recommendations and I hope the readers will enjoy them even more than I have.

Lakisha's book list on African American Christian fiction

Lakisha Johnson Why did Lakisha love this book?

D.A. Bourne weaves a story of Christian Fiction and overcoming racism during a time it’s at an all-time high. We all know racism is a touchy subject a lot of people don’t like to talk about, but it’s a sad reality many face every day. This story surrounds autoworkers and their families who find themselves faced with racial conflict that tests their faith, patience, ability to forgive, and all the things they’ve always believed in. 

By D.A. Bourne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Push Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How do you handle being harassed because of your skin color?How do you deal with the false stereotypes at your new workplace?How can you comfort your spouse when she's a victim of hate?How much longer can you be pushed before you take action?The story begins about a group of autoworkers and their families as they deal with racial conflict in and out of the assembly plant. Their faith and patience will be tested as they approach an unpredictable season.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in African Americans, New York City, and racism?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about African Americans, New York City, and racism.

African Americans Explore 767 books about African Americans
New York City Explore 1,080 books about New York City
Racism Explore 192 books about racism