Black Lives Matter: 91 Books by Authors of Color

As an American living abroad, I am watching my homeland with equal parts disgust and hope. Disgust at the hatred, the evil, and the willful ignorance so rampantly on display in recent weeks. And (wildly) hope. Hope that this is the moment when real change begins.

The US is not unique in its widespread culture of racism and systemic injustice. It is unique in that it is one of a few countries with the influence and authority to denounce human rights violations in other countries while willfully ignoring the human rights violations “lawfully” carried out on American soil every single day.

I do not think the world needs to hear my voice right now except to say that I fully support Black Lives Matter. I believe that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I believe that change requires work, and I believe that those of us who are uncomfortable with this are the ones who need to hear it most.

There are many excellent resources that speak directly to systemic racism, the criminal justice system, police brutality, and the lived experiences of Black Americans. I’m not one of them. The one small thing I have to offer here is a list of books written by authors of color that I have personally read and can recommend.

I am not speaking from a place of authority and certainly not from some moral high ground. There is so much I do not know or understand. All I want to do is share one small change I’ve made in one small area. Over the past few years I have made an intentional effort to read more diversely. In 2014 I am ashamed to say that out of the 62 books I read, only 2 were by authors of color. For the past few years, 25-30% of the books I’ve read were by non-white authors. I can still do so much better, but I have found it personally enriching and rewarding to read voices and perspectives from authors who do not look like me, sound like me, live like me, or believe like me. I have also found the more I’ve read that almost all books written by authors of color implicitly, if not explicitly address race and racism.

The words/thoughts/messages/perspectives we consume, even for entertainment, influence our thoughts and beliefs. Our thoughts and beliefs dictate our actions.

Books in bold are those I highly recommend.

Books by BIPOC Authors:

Nonfiction

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

Heavy by Kiese Layman

Notes From a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuache

From Scratch by Tembe Locke

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clementine Wamariya

Hunger by Roxanne Gay

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Becoming by Michelle Obama

We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Fiction

Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jessmyn Ward

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Poetry and Short Stories

What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Leslie Arimah

How Long Til Black Future Month by N. K. Jemison

Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni

Non-Black Authors of Color

Nonfiction

Good Talk by Mira Jacobs

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

Yes, My Accent is Real by Kunal Nayyar

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

Fiction

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

The Tusk That Did the Damage by Tania James

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

The Boat People by Sharon Bala

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

There There by Tommy Orange

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

The Immortals of Tehran by Ali Araghi

Family Trust by Kathy Wang

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Exit West by Moshin Hamid

The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang

Poetry and Short Stories

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

The Undressing by Li-Young Lee

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

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