25 Books to Read by Authors of Color

“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.”

– Alfred Adler

This is a good time for reflection. I’ve done a lot of that lately. I have taught ESL (English as a Second Language) for the last 18 years. Yet, I am still racist. I try not to be, but as a girl raised with white privilege I have blind spots. When I find a blind spot though, I change that and see what I didn’t before.

One of the things I noticed this week, is that I have not read nearly enough books recently by authors that are not white. I need to continue to learn. I will do better.

Reading builds empathy and helps us see with the eyes, ears, and heart of those different from ourselves.

Books by Authors Who are Colorful

This book was great! (review here)

I actually just got book 2 of this series from Netgalley this week. Usually, I don’t have time to read a lot of sequels or long series. I do make exceptions for really good ones and this is one of them.

I read Other Words for Home recently. It is beautifully written! This is a verse novel so I really admire the talent it takes to write something like this. This book is a good one to learn about what a culture shock it is to move to the other side of a planet. Also, to learn what it is like to have no choice in the matter when your parents say you go and you have to leave all your friends, your culture, your language, and even very dear family. You leave a piece of yourself behind.

I’m starting to think,
might be the bravest thing a person can do.”
― Jasmine Warga, Other Words for Home

I read bits of this to my class each year. The story and the description is so powerful! I love this book!

“Even the silence
has a story to tell you.
Just listen. Listen.”
― Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

“I do not know if these hands will become Malcolm’s—raised and fisted or Martin’s—open and asking or James’s—curled around a pen. I do not know if these hands will be Rosa’s or Ruby’s gently gloved and fiercely folded calmly in a lap, on a desk, around a book, ready to change the world . . .”
― Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

I was able to check this book out digitally from the library. I loved it!

I read this book in grad school for Library Science. Its not a genre that I’d normally read but the book was delightful and though provoking

I LOVE this book! I reviewed this book here.

Sharon Draper is a Master Story teller! Read ALL her stories!
Non-fiction Narrative told in a fun way. This is a great read!
This one is written for teens. I enjoyed reading it very much.

I read and recommended it to a student who didn’t like reading very much. This girl was from Nigeria, so I thought she’d like seeing something familiar in the book. She LOVED it!

I loved the blend of culture with science fiction.

I have this book on my TBR pile right now.

This has the most amazing description and world building, but it is not for younger readers. (graphic sex)

So many teens have been hooked on reading because of Shusterman’s stories.

This woman can tell a story! I was blown away by this one!

Here are some I’ve heard are good but haven’t had a chance to read yet.

I met Elizabeth Acevedo at the NTTB Festival last year. She read a passage from her Poet X book. Oh Wow! She has a powerful way with words!

I’m sure there are dozens more that I missed. I’m always on the look out for more suggestions. If you know of any good stories I’ve left off the list, please leave a comment or email me!

Links to More Lists

Good reads Listopia https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/127797.Masterlist_of_Black_YA_Writers

Another Good Reads List: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/123716.Middle_Grade_Young_Adult_Books_Written_by_African_American_Authors_for_2019

Book Riot has this list https://bookriot.com/2018/10/03/ya-fantasy-books-by-women-of-color/

Book Audit

This page has a ton of great resources to help you see if you need a more diverse book shelf. This is something the librarians and English teachers do (or should do) periodically to make sure their collections are diverse and updated. https://library.jburroughs.org/SummerInst2019/reading

Links from Burroughs Stamper Family Library
Doing a YA Collection Diversity Audit: Understanding Your Local Community (Part 1)

Doing a YA Collection Diversity Audit: the How to (Part 2)

Doing a YA Collection Diversity Audit: Resources and Sources (Part 3)

Books Stores

You might notice there are no amazon links in this post. Please buy these books from indie bookstores which are owned by people of color.


Here are 47 bookstores https://ew.com/books/black-owned-bookstores-to-support/

My Challenge to You:
1. Choose a bookstore from one of these lists, or a store you know is owned by a person of color.
2. Order 1 or more books from there, written by a person of color.

#SemperInDoctrina always learning

Stay Safe Everyone!

Please Recommend More Good Books In the Comments!