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25 Books By Black & POC Authors That Celebrate Diversity

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25 Books That Celebrate Diversity — All By Black Authors & People Of Color

Books help us hear the stories of other nations, times, and cultures, but our reading lists are so often white-washed and lacking in diversity.

When we do encounter books about non-white figures, they are usually tales of struggle and hardship from some downtrodden, minority group grappling with white supremacy.

While these stories are accurate and important to read, the focus on the struggle of minorities undermines the cultural richness of people whose heritage and identities remain powerful despite centuries of oppression.

Yes, we should acknowledge and respect the historic struggle of non-white groups, but Black people and People of Color are living and writing among us today, sharing celebratory tales of diversity and inclusivity. 

Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) are often underrepresented in media and not given platforms to voice their experiences. This only perpetuates the racism that erodes our society.

Many talented non-white authors are writing stories that reflect the diversity of modern society and celebrate differences. These are books that celebrate diversity, books about equality, identity, about futures and past.

RELATED: 6 Tangible Examples Of Real Change Inspired By Black Lives Matter Protests & Activists In The Wake Of George Floyd's Murder

They are books about who we are as one human race. 

1. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

This novel is a testament to the unconditional love that bonds families together.

The Sai family, ripped apart by trauma and geographical distance, band together in solidarity after the death of their estranged father. It is a story full of twists and turns that is both painful and celebratory.

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2. A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

Arab-American writer Etaf Rum tells the story of a Brooklyn teen who is reluctantly introduced to potential husbands. It is a deeply complex tale of a dark family history that celebrates Arab culture while critiquing some of its traditions.

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3. Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim and Others

A whole canon of powerful Black writers, including Jacqueline Woodson, Jesmyn Ward, and Tayari Jones, come together in this anthology to share stories of identity and self-discovery. It is a reminder of the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature, and turns a mirror back on the literary world and its lack of diversity.

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4. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Sánchez’s novel is a heartbreaking story of a young girl’s grief after the death of her sister. Julia attempts to rebuild her family while still holding on to her aspirations that defy her parent’s wishes.

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5. Owls Don’t Have to Mean Death by Chip Livingston

Livingston has written several gut-wrenching novels about his experience as a gay, Native man. This fictional story follows Peter Strongbow who just asserts his identity in his community when he discovers his partner is living with HIV.

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6. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

If you’ve ever been in love, this book will tug at your heart in the best way possible. Childhood sweethearts Ifemelu and Obinze leave their home of Nigeria to live separate lives in the US and Britain. They both long for home and one another.

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7. Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

For a laugh-out-loud glance into womanhood and blackness, check out this essay collection. It will challenge everything you thought you knew about whiteness, beauty, race, and money.

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8. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this boldly honest story of a Jamaican-British woman caught between two cultures in London. Anyone who is caught in a quest for love, filled with heartbreak and disappointment, will resonate with her story.

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9. There There by Tommy Orange 

Orange is a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations of Oklahoma, and this is his debut novel. It follows 12 characters, with surprising connections, living in Native communities. It is a beautiful celebration of the spirituality and resilience of Native people.

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10. Everything I Never Told You by Celest Ng

This is an absolute page-turner that follows a Chinese-American family whose chaotic history is unraveling after the shocking death of their favorite child. You won’t be able to put this one down.

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11. Black Indian: A Memoir by Shonda Buchanan

Buchanan explores her family’s legacy as African-Americans with indigenous American roots, and the way in which society punished and oppressed them for this dual inheritance. It is a stark account of a rich, cultural heritage that is unnecessarily persecuted.

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12. Something To Declare by Julia Alvarez

Aspiring writers should get their hands on this essay collection. Alvarez details her family’s transition from the Dominican Republic to America, and the early years of her creative development.

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13. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

With a cast of 12 characters on an entwined journey, Evaristo shows an image of Western society as it’s never been told before. Her characters challenge notions of gender, sexuality, race, and identity on a beautiful journey of discovery.

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14. The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me by Keah Brown

Brown was born with cerebral palsy and is the creator of the viral #DisabledAndCute campaign. Her autobiography shines a light on what it’s like to be a disabled person of color, and how both of these parts of her identity are often ignored by mainstream media.

It is not a tale of hardship and struggle though — Brown has a unique way of lacing humor and wit into every page.

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15. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga 

This captivating story is set in the heart of India and gives readers a penetrative glance into Indian society in a way that only an Indian writer could. The story is told by a volatile narrator who is caught up in murder, bribery, and other questionable activities.

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16. Minor Feelings: An Asian-American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

Hong uses humor and her own story as the daughter of Korean immigrants to challenge some of the stereotypes and biases cast onto minorities in America. It is a brave call to action for minorities to take charge of their own identity. 

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17. Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Native American author Daniel H. Wilson sets his novel in a not-so-distant future where technology is destroying humankind. As the world starts to burn, The Osage Nation in Oklahoma becomes one of the last remaining safe places.

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18. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Set on the Korean island of Jeju, this novel follows the lives of two friends from opposing backgrounds. They work as female divers in a society that flips patriarchal stereotypes on its head.

The story spans across many transformative decades through the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s, World War II, the Korean War, and the era of cellphones.

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19. Caucasia by Danzy Senna

This story follows multi-racial sisters, Birdie and Cole. Birdie appears white while Cole fits in better with the other children at their Afrocentric school.

When their parents divorce, the sisters are separated with no way back to one another. It is a captivating look at the politics of race and skin tones.

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20. Native Son by Richard Wright

In a state of panic and fear, Bigger Thomas (a young black man) kills a white woman and is thrust into an unjust legal system that will inevitably target him for his race. This book will shatter everything you thought you knew about rights and wrongs, class, and race.

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21. Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

Cooper restructures the negative portrayal of the angry black woman into an image of power and strength. She celebrates this anger as being not only justified, but a necessary superpower for black feminists.

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22. The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani

Jaya, a New York journalist, is ripped apart by her third miscarriage and the unraveling of her marriage. Struggling with her anguish and identity, she goes to India to uncover her family’s past and a personal strength that she never knew was possible.

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23. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Set in Cleveland, the book follows two families who are brought together by their children. The Richardsons attempt to adopt an Asian-American child in a custody battle that tears apart an entire town and damages their relationship with the Warrens, a mother-daughter duo with a past full of secrets.

If finishing this book leaves you longing for more, you can also check out the TV adaptation on Hulu.

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24. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

If you like a good scare, this book is one of the best horror novels of 2020 so far.

Four young men go hunting on a patch of land reserved for the elders in their community. After hunting down an elk on the powerful land, the animal bides its time until it can strike back. Warning: there is gore!

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25. The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin

Chin is a lesbian writer of Chinese-Jamaican and Afro-Jamaican descent. Her memoir is a story of triumph against all odds.

She details her life as a young woman growing up in a dysfunctional home with an absent father, and her journey to discovering her voice as a poet and activist.

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RELATED: The Stunning Love Stories Of 5 Incredible Black Authors

Alice Kelly is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.

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