Many of my favorite books are published by independent publishers. Here are eight highly recommended April books from small publishers, all receiving starred reviews, quoted here.

Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System by M. Chris Fabricant (Akashic, April 5): “A chilling account of forensic science—beloved of prosecutors, judges, and TV writers but often wildly inaccurate.…A brilliant rebuttal of junk science in the courtroom.”

The Lonely Stories: 22 Celebrated Writers on the Joys & Struggles of Being Alone edited by Natalie Eve Garrett (Catapult, April 19): “In this above-average collection of personal essays, a richly diverse set of writers recall how periods of solitude have impacted their lives. Depending on their past or present circumstances, they evoke sensations of dread or despair, joy and enlightened freedom, often working through their darkest emotions to discover a renewed sense of well-being.”

Shelter: A Black Tale of Homeland, Baltimore by Lawrence Jackson (Graywolf, April 19): “The misunderstood city of Baltimore receives a probing portrait by a returning native son.…An extraordinary dual portrait of the author and his hometown—angry, tender, incisive, and bracingly eloquent.”

We Are in the Middle of Forever: Indigenous Voices From Turtle Island on the Changing Earth edited by Dahr Jamail and Stan Rushworth (The New Press, April 5): “A welcome compilation of interviews with Indigenous Americans about climate change.…Readers will be impressed by both the depth and breadth of the interviews as well as the contributors’ evocative, vivid storytelling and palpable emotion. A refreshingly unique and incredibly informative collection of vital Indigenous wisdom.”

Love & Justice: A Journey of Empowerment, Activism, and Embracing Black Beauty by Laetitia Ky (Princeton Architectural Press, April 5): The author’s “debut book is a stunning collection of urgent, intimate essays paired with powerful, annotated photos of Ky wearing her hair sculptures, often in lush outdoor Ivorian settings. Seamlessly marrying style and substance, the sculptures and essays reveal the author’s journey of self-acceptance, raise awareness of a wide range of social issues, and celebrate African aesthetic and spiritual traditions.…Come for the beautiful art as activism, stay for the deeply personal memoir and rich cultural history.”

Thin Places: A Natural History of Healing and Home by Kerri ní Dochartaigh (Milkweed, April 12): “A luminous memoir about growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.…For the author, who has suffered from alcoholism, depression, and suicidal ideation, the wild places surrounding her hometown help release her anxieties and bring her unparalleled peace.…A beautifully written tribute to the healing power of nature.”

Becoming Story: A Journey Among Seasons, Places, Trees, and Ancestors by Greg Sarris (Heyday, April 5): “A Coast Miwok leader narrates his life through essays focusing on his connection to the natural world and his ancestors.…Although not a traditional memoir, the stories mostly build on each other to create a coherent portrait of the author and his culture.…A fascinating and evocative memoir in essays.”

When Women Kill: Four Crimes Retold by Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated by Sophie Hughes (Coffee House, April 5): “A Chilean author reconstructs the details of four significant 20th-century murders orchestrated by Chilean women.…Interspersed with cogent feminist analyses of the crimes and the public and media reactions of the time, Trabucco Zerán includes diary entries describing her personal experience with the research, infusing the book with a fascinating memoirlike quality and rendering the narrative voice both personal and relatable.”

Eric Liebetrau is the nonfiction and managing editor.