Toni Morrison Books in Order

Literary works Toni Morrison

Q. Write down the books of Toni Morrison in order.

Toni Morrison Books in Order

1. The Bluest Eye (1970)

Genre: Novel

This novel tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young African American girl who desires blue eyes to gain acceptance and beauty by societal standards.

It addresses the impact of racism and the struggle for identity in an environment that often rejects darker skin.

Through Pecola’s tragic experiences, Morrison examines the damaging effects of beauty standards imposed by society and the deeper psychological issues stemming from racial inequality.

2. Sula (1973)

Genre: Novel

This book centers on the lifelong friendship between Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who grew up in a small Ohio town. It discusses themes of betrayal, love, and personal choices.

The story also examines the impact of their choices on their friendship and community, showing how their lives diverge into different paths and the consequences that follow.

3. Song of Solomon (1977)

Genre: Novel

A fiction novel, “Song of Solomon”, follows Macon “Milkman” Dead III from birth to adulthood as he searches for his ancestral roots and personal identity across the Midwest and Southern United States.

His journey reveals hidden family secrets that connect him to the broader history and experiences of African Americans.

Through rich symbolism and mythology, Morrison shows identity, freedom, and the meaning of heritage in the African American community.

4. Tar Baby (1981)

Genre: Novel

Set on a Caribbean island, “Tar Baby” is a work of fiction that centers on the romantic and cultural conflicts between a cosmopolitan model and a local man in self-imposed exile.

The story examines themes of love and identity, questioning societal norms, power and prejudice. The tropical setting serves to amplify these conflicts, reflecting broader societal issues.

5. Recitatif (1983)

Genre: Short Story

“Recitatif,” a short story and a unique piece in Morrison’s body of work, follows two black and one white women from their childhood in an orphanage through various encounters as adults.

This narrative uses their intertwined lives to discuss race, social dynamics, and how these forces shape individual destinies and identities. Morrison cleverly crafts their story to challenge the reader’s assumptions about race and identity.

6. Beloved (1987)

Genre: Novel

Set after the American Civil War, this story centers on Sethe, an escaped slave haunted by the ghost of her deceased daughter. It addresses the psychological and physical scars left by slavery.

The novel deeply examines the impact of these traumas, reflecting on the enduring pain and the struggle for personal and familial autonomy in the aftermath of enslavement.

7. Jazz (1992)

Genre: Novel

Taking place in Harlem during the 1920s, this novel examines the turbulent marriage of Joe and Violet Trace following Joe’s affair with a younger woman.

The story is about the life of city and the lives of its inhabitants, exploring themes of passion, betrayal, and the quest for redemption amidst the backdrop of the Jazz Age.

8. Playing in the Dark (1992)

Genre: Non-fiction

This non-fiction work analyzes how African American characters and themes have influenced American literature. Morrison discusses the underlying racial assumptions within the literary tradition.

It scrutinizes the invisible ways in which racial ideas infiltrate literary creativity and critical interpretation.

9. The Dancing Mind (1996)

Genre: Non-fiction

In this nonfiction piece, Morrison discusses the value of reading and the intellectual freedom it provides. She articulates the profound connection between a reader and a book, emphasizing how reading fully engages the mind and promotes thought and empathy.

10. Birth of a Nation’hood (1997)

Genre: Non-fiction, Essay Collection

This collection of essays, co-edited with Claudia Brodsky Lacour, examines the O.J. Simpson trial and discusses its cultural and racial implications. The essays analyze the media’s role in the prosecution, racial tensions, and the public’s perception of justice in America.

11. Paradise (1997)

Genre: Novel

The novel focuses on a small, all-Black town in Oklahoma and the violent confrontation that occurs when the town’s men attack a nearby convent that they perceive as a threat. The story examines themes of belonging, community, and the destructive nature of intolerance.

12. The Big Box (1999)

Genre: Children’s Book

This children’s book, illustrated by Joe Cepeda, tells the story of three children who live too freely according to their parents’ standards and are placed in a more restrictive environment. The narrative challenges the adult concepts of freedom and discipline.

13. The Book of Mean People (2002)

Genre: Children’s Book

Another of Morrison’s children’s books, illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre, features a rabbit discussing how people can sometimes be unkind. The book uses simple narrative techniques to teach children about kindness and understanding.

14. Love (2003)

Genre: Novel

This novel revolves around Bill Cosey, the owner of a resort hotel, his mysterious death, and how his life affects the women close to him. The story dissects the complexities of love, power, and legacy within a family and community.

15. The Ant or the Grasshopper (2003)

Genre: Children’s Book

Part of a series co-written with Slade Morrison and illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre, this book retells Aesop’s fable in a modern setting, discussing themes of work, play, and the virtues of both.

16. The Lion or the Mouse (2003)

Genre: Children’s Book

This book retells another of Aesop’s fables, focusing on themes of mercy, power, and humility. It has been adapted to a modern context to teach children about the impact of kindness and understanding.

17. Poppy or the Snake? (2004)

Genre: Children’s Book

This story concludes the series by offering a modern twist on the classic fable, emphasizing lessons on wisdom, trust, and discernment in a way that is accessible to children.

18. Remember: The Journey to School Integration (2004)

Genre: Non-fiction

This nonfiction book uses archival photographs and text to depict the history of school integration in the United States, providing a poignant look at the civil rights movement’s challenges and triumphs.

19. A Mercy (2008)

Genre: Novel

Set in late 17th century America, this novel tells the story of a young slave girl sent away by her mother to take a chance at a better life. It explores the roots of racial and cultural dynamics in early American society.

20. What Moves at the Margin (2008)

Genre: Non-fiction, Essay Collection

This book is a collection of Toni Morrison’s speeches and essays on various topics, including race, writing, and American culture. It offers insights into her thoughts on literature, society, and the writer’s role.

21. Peeny Butter Fudge (2009)

Genre: Children’s Book

This children’s book, co-written with Slade Morrison and illustrated by Joe Cepeda, is about a grandmother who breaks her daughter’s rules to have fun with her grandchildren. It is about the joys of family life and the wisdom of elders.

22. Little Cloud and Lady Wind (2010)

Genre: Children’s Book

This children’s book, illustrated by Sean Qualls, tells the story of a little cloud named Little Cloud who goes her way and finds her place in the sky.

It offers a narrative about independence and finding one’s path, providing a gentle lesson on confidence and self-discovery.

23. The Tortoise or the Hare (2010)

Genre: Children’s Book

Another installment in the “Who’s Got Game?” series, this book adds a new twist to the classic Aesop fable. Morrison and her son, Slade Morrison, reinterpret the story to discuss themes of strategy, patience, and the unexpected outcomes of competition.

24. Home (2011)

Genre: Novel

This novel follows a Korean War veteran on his journey back to his native Georgia and his attempt to save his medically abused sister. The story examines the themes of family, redemption, and the deep scars of war, both physical and psychological.

25. Desdemona (2012)

Genre: Drama

In collaboration with director Peter Sellars, Morrison revisits the story of “Othello” from a different perspective, focusing on the character Desdemona.

This dramatic work shows the female characters’ untold backstories and voices, offering a new take on the classic Shakespearean tragedy.

26. God Help the Child (2014)

Genre: Novel

The novel explores the life of Bride, a fashion and beauty industry executive whose traumatic childhood comes back to haunt her present.

It examines themes of beauty, identity, and the pain that the past can bring to one’s future, showing how personal transformations can lead to redemption and self-acceptance.

27. The Origin of Others (2016)

Genre: Non-fiction

Based on her lecture series at Harvard University, this work discusses the theme of “othering” and the role of race in literature and society.

Morrison examines how the imagination fuels racial divisions and how narrative can be used to humanize instead of marginalize.

28. Race (Vintage Minis) (2017)

Genre: Non-fiction

This short book includes selections from Morrison’s works that focus on race. It introduces her thoughts and writings on racial issues, provides insightful reflections, and engages the reader with profound societal questions.

29. Mouth Full of Blood: (2019)

Genre: Non-fiction (Essays, Speeches, Meditations)

This collection of society, culture, and art has been around for over four decades. The book compiles essays, speeches, and reflections on topics ranging from literature and culture to politics and social issues, showing Morrison’s profound influence as a thinker and writer.

30. The Source of Self-Regard: (2019)

Genre: Non-fiction (Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations)

This comprehensive collection reflects race, gender, power, and societal roles.