11 Books set in Jamaica by Jamaican authors for Caribbean Heritage Month

June is Caribbean Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the rich culture and history of the Caribbean. In honor of this special month, we want to highlight some amazing books that showcase authentic Jamaican heritage and are written by talented Jamaican authors. Whether you're looking to learn more about Jamaican culture or simply enjoy a good read, these books are sure to captivate you.

 

Why is it important to read books with authentic Jamaican representation?

Reading books that accurately represent Jamaican heritage is essential for gaining a deeper understanding of the culture, traditions, and history of the island. By supporting Jamaican authors and their work, you are helping to amplify diverse voices and stories that deserve to be heard.

Book Recommendations:

1. These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card

Discover a gripping family saga in These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card. This captivating debut unravels the secrets of the Paisley family, spanning centuries from colonial Jamaica to present-day Harlem. As the truths emerge, the characters grapple with identity, heritage, and the ghosts of their past. Dive into this haunting and beautifully woven tale that’s perfect for fans of rich, multi-generational stories.

2. Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn is a vibrant and powerful novel set in Jamaica. Follow the lives of Margot and her sister Thandi as they navigate dreams, sacrifices, and the harsh realities of life in a tourist-driven economy. With lush prose and unforgettable characters, Dennis-Benn sheds light on the complexities of love, family, and survival. This book is a must-read for anyone craving a deeply emotional and thought-provoking story.

3. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Booker Prize Winner)

Immerse yourself in the explosive world of A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, a Booker Prize-winning masterpiece. This epic novel delves into the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley, taking readers on a thrilling ride from Kingston’s gritty streets to New York’s underworld and back. With a cast of vivid characters and a narrative that spans decades, this book is an exhilarating exploration of history, politics, and humanity. Don’t miss out on this tour de force that has captivated readers worldwide.

4. Popisho by Leone Ross

Step into the magical world of Popisho, where every resident has a unique gift. This enchanting novel by Leone Ross weaves a tapestry of love, loss, and the extraordinary, all set on a vividly imagined Caribbean island. Perfect for fans of magical realism, this book will sweep you off your feet with its rich storytelling and unforgettable characters.

5. So Let Them Burn by Kamila Cole

Dive into So Let Them Burn, a gripping tale of resilience and redemption by Kamila Cole. Set against the backdrop of a fiery revolution, this novel explores the strength of the human spirit and the power of fighting for what you believe in. With its compelling narrative and richly drawn characters, this book is a must-read for those who love powerful, thought-provoking stories.

6. When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten

When Life Gives You Mangos is a heartwarming coming-of-age story by Kereen Getten. Follow Clara as she navigates the ups and downs of life in a small Jamaican village, uncovering secrets and finding herself along the way. This charming and poignant novel is perfect for readers of all ages looking for a delightful escape.

7. Sweetness in the Skin by Ishi Robinson

Ishi Robinson’s Sweetness in the Skin is a beautifully written novel that explores themes of identity, love, and belonging. Set in Jamaica, it tells the story of a young woman’s journey to self-discovery and acceptance. With its lyrical prose and deeply emotional narrative, this book will resonate with anyone who has ever felt out of place in their own skin.

8. Julie and the Mango Tree by Sadé Smith, Sayada Ramdial

Julie and the Mango Tree by Sadé Smith, illustrated by Sayada Ramdial, is a delightful children’s book about the joys of friendship and nature. Follow Julie on her adventure to save her beloved mango tree, learning valuable lessons about perseverance and community. This charming story, paired with vibrant illustrations, is perfect for young readers and their families.

9. Every Little Thing: Based on the Song 'Three Little Birds' by Bob Marley, Cedella Marley, Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Bring the joyful spirit of Bob Marley’s music into your home with Every Little Thing, adapted by Cedella Marley and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. This adorable picture book for preschoolers is based on the iconic song "Three Little Birds" and teaches children about positivity and resilience. With its catchy rhythm and colorful illustrations, it's a hit with kids and parents alike.

10. Get Up, Stand Up by Bob Marley, Cedella Marley, John Jay Cabuay

Get Up, Stand Up brings Bob Marley’s empowering anthem to life for young readers. Adapted by Cedella Marley and illustrated by John Jay Cabuay, this book encourages kids to stand up for their rights and make a difference in their world. Filled with inspiring messages and vibrant artwork, it's a must-have for any child’s library.

11. One Love by Bob Marley, Cedella Marley, Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Experience the uplifting message of Bob Marley’s beloved song One Love in this heartwarming children’s book. Adapted by Cedella Marley and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, it celebrates unity and love through beautiful illustrations and engaging storytelling. A perfect read for teaching kids about the power of community and togetherness.

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These are just a few of the many incredible books that celebrate Jamaican heritage and showcase the talent of Jamaican authors. As you immerse yourself in these stories, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for the vibrant culture and rich history of Jamaica. Happy reading!

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