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On Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library

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An NPR Best Book of the Year

Proudly introducing the Well-Read Black Girl Library Series, On Girlhood is a lovingly curated anthology celebrating short fiction from such luminaries as Rita Dove, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and more.

Featuring stories by: Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison, Dorothy West, Rita Dove, Camille Acker, Toni Cade Bambara, Amina Gautier, Alexia Arthurs, Dana Johnson, Alice Walker, Gwendolyn Brooks, Edwidge Danticat, Shay Youngblood, Paule Marshall, and Zora Neale Hurston.

“When you look over your own library, who do you see?” asks Well-Read Black Girl founder Glory Edim in this lovingly curated anthology. Bringing together an array of “unforgettable, and resonant coming-of-age stories” (Nicole Dennis-Benn), Edim continues her life’s work to brighten and enrich American reading lives through the work of both canonical and contemporary Black authors—from Jamaica Kincaid and Toni Morrison to Dana Johnson and Alexia Arthurs. Divided into four themes—Innocence, Belonging, Love, and Self-Discovery—On Girlhood features fierce young protagonists who contend with trials that shape who they are and what they will become. At times heartbreaking and hilarious, the stories within push past flat stereotypes and powerfully convey the beauty of Black girlhood, resulting in an indispensable compendium for every home library.

“A compelling anthology that . . . results in a literary master class.” —Keishel Williams, Washington Post
“A beautiful and comforting patchwork quilt of stories from our literary contemporaries and foremothers.” —Ibi Zoboi, New York Times best-selling coauthor of Punching the Air

ISBN-13: 9781631497698

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation

Publication Date: 10-26-2021

Pages: 224

Product Dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.90(d)

Glory Edim is the founder of Well-Read Black Girl, a book club and digital platform that celebrates Black literature and sisterhood. The author and editor of Well-Read Black Girl, Edim won the 2017 Innovator’s Award from the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes.

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Innocence

Girl Jamaica Kincaid 3

Recitatif Toni Morrison 6

The Richer, the Poorer Dorothy West 33

Fifth Sunday Rita Dove 39

Belonging

Who We Are Camille Acker 51

The Lesson Toni Cade Bambara 55

Dance for Me Amina Gautier 66

Had Behavior Alexia Arthurs 82

Love

Melvin in the Sixth Grade Dana Johnson 93

Everyday Use Alice Walker 110

We're the Only Colored People Here Gwendolyn Brooks 123

Self-Discovery

Seeing Things Simply Edwidge Danticat 131

In a House of Wooden Monkeys Shay Youngblood 145

Reena Paule Marshall 151

Epilogue

How It Feels to Be Colored Me Zora Neale Hurston 179

Acknowledgments 185

Further Reading 187

About the Authors 191

Credits 199