Book Fetish

Celebrate Black Literary Luminaries With These Fun Finds

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Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

It’s Black history month, of course, but every month should be one wherein we celebrate the achievements, history, and future of Black people. As I was thinking about what kind of Book Fetish post to pull together, I was thinking about Black history, and specifically about the Black literary luminaries who have imprinted powerful stories and voices into our collective consciousness. I wanted to highlight some of these icons, as well as their words, as seen on T-shirts, mugs, and more. You’ll see some familiar names and some who may be newer to you, as these items include both historical Black writers and more contemporary ones.

Whether you love Black poetry, are a fan of all things Black YA, or are a fan of canonical Black literature, you’ll find something here to with which to deck out your reading life. Note that many of these items might not come from Black-owned Etsy shops — tracking down that information is much more challenging than looking up Black authors or writers online — but if you would like to spend some money with Black creatives, you’ll also love this roundup of gifts for readers by Black creators.

I know where I’ll be spending a few dollars this month!

Let’s dive in.

Fun Finds Featuring Black Literary Luminaries

Image of a Black woman wearing a pink sweatshirt. The shirt has several Black YA book spines on it.

If ever a perfect sweatshirt could exist, it’s this one. Find all of your favorite Black YA books right across your heart center. Choose from a variety of colors, with options for T-shirts and long sleeve tops, too. $20 and up.

Three bookmarks. One features an illustration of James Baldwin with a quote, one an illustration with Toni Morrison and quote, and one with Maya Angelou and quote.

Keep your place with this set of three gorgeously illustrated bookmarks, each featuring an author and their words. Hang with Toni, Maya, and James for $10.

Image of a neon pink bookmark featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates's image and words.

Looking for another option for Black literary bookmarks? This one is awesome and has five different featured authors. $16

Image of a portrait of Octavia E. Butler with one of her quotes.

“All that you touch you change. All that you change, changes you” is such a damn good quote. This is beautiful Octavia Butler illustration with an equally beautiful message. $16

Image of a Black mug with names of Black authors on it.

This mug features an array of Black authors with whom you can share your favorite beverage. $20 and up.

Image of an illustration of Stacey Abrams, with one of her quotes.

Not only is Stacey Abrams a powerful politician, she’s also an author. This is a lovely illustration of her, alongside a great quote. $18

Image of a book cozy with 20 different Black women from history illustrated on it.

This is up for preorder now, so snag one if it catches your eyes like it does mine. It’s a book cozy — a way to keep your books safe — and it’s decorated in Black women of history, including several authors. $30 and up.

Image of a blue notecard on a picnic basket. There are sunflowers beside it. The notecard features a rainbow of book spines, each by a Black woman author.

This rainbow colored notecard features tomes written by Black female authors. Share this with a friend or frame it for your own library. $4

Image of a stack of dark colored books. They have the names of Black authors on the spines.

This Black book stack sticker would look great anywhere you need a little flair. $3.50

Image of a yellow book-shaped pin. It is the cover of Kindred.

Love Octavia Butler? Love Kindred? Then pop this sweet lil enamel book pin to your tote or coat. $11

Image of a Zora Neale Hurston t-shirt in the style of a 90s rap icon top.

When I first saw this top, I thought it looked like a ’90s rap T-shirt. And that is, of course, the point. Zora Neale Hurston is an icon indeed and this shirt honors that. $30

Know there is also a really fun Maya Angelou edition, too.

Image of a poster featuring quotes from the book Set Boundaries, Find Peace

For self-help fans and those who care deeply about mental health, this poster illustrating some of the best quotes from Set Boundaries, Find Peace is a must-have. $15

Image of a doll in the likeness of Amanda Gorman

How many kids would cry seeing an Amanda Gorman doll? $68. This shop has a number of other incredible Black literary luminaries to choose from, too.

Vintage style Nikki Geovanni keychain

Carry a little Nikki Giovanni keychain with you wherever you go. $14

Image of a print with ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY on it.

Finally, for the kid lit fans, this printable poster with an homage to the classic Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry would be perfect in your reading nook or on your library’s walls. $9