Books are a great way to learn about the experiences of others. There have been a great number of writers that have explored their own narrative through fiction and non-fiction. Reading books for leisure can be a great way to entertain yourself and take a break from the chaos of life. They allow you to step into someone else's shoes for a moment. These books featured are all written by authors of color. They give a voice to the various experiences of people of color that emphasize the intersectionality that makes them unique.
1. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
This book is a West-African inspired fantasy that follows a young woman, Zelie Adebola. The main character is a gifted maji with powers who learns who she is with the help of her brother and new friends. This story is unique because it changes how and who see in these fantasy stories. It places Black people in a genre that hasn't included them. The author Tomi Adeyemi is clearly inspired by West African folklore and traditions which she incorporates into the story. The book is fairly new and coming off the hype of Black Panther rewrites the genre completely. Luckily if you get through this book, Adeyemi's sequel has already released, "Children of Virtue and Vengeance" which continues the story of Zelie.
2. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The book takes place in a Cleveland neighborhood where a progressive group of residents lives. The story focuses on the intertwining lives of mother-daughter Mia and Pearl Warren and the Richardson family. Relationships are tested over a custody dispute that occurs among the residents. The story challenges ideas of identity and going against the status quo. The character Mia Warren brings a sense of mystery that drives the story from the beginning to the end. The book is being adapted to a Hulu limited series starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.
3. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
This book has become very well known in the past couple of months. A film based on the book starring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton came out over the summer. The book is set in New York City where Natasha meets Daniel who bets be can get Natasha to fall in love with him in one day. The only problem is Natasha and her family are about to be deported back to Jamaica. Natasha and Daniel spend the day contrasting in their different outlooks on the world and learn a lesson on love. This book covers issues of identity and immigration all in the romance between two teenagers. This book is definitely for hopeless romantics and those looking for a different type of love story.
4. Crazy Rish Asian by Kevin Kwan
This book is iconic for its funny and unique narrative. New Yorker Rachel Chu goes to Singapore with her boyfriend to meet his family. To her surprise she founds out her boyfriend, Nick is extremely rich. Rachel then has to learn to navigate the rich elite of Singapore, Nick's family, and even her own history. The book was turned into a film that became iconic in its own right. It was a cast of completely Asian actors that showed what Hollywood films can and should look like. the film brought to life the words of Kevin Kwan that make you want to read the book and its accompanying books in the trilogy.
5. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah has become one of the best-known comedians to come out of South Africa. He has had various stand-up shows on Netflix and hosts the Daily Show. What makes his comedy so unique is his background. Noah grew up during apartheid as a mixed-race child. His book is a coming of age tale of the triumphs, low points, and hilarious moments of his childhood. What's so important about this book is the narrative being shared. Its one that Noah personally uses in his stand up but not one people have heard about. Similar to American history, South Africa has a troubled and oppressive history that can be hard to talk about. Noah reinvents this history through the eyes of a child just trying to live his life along with his mother and grandmother.
6. Becoming by Michelle Obama
This book completely speaks for itself. It is the memoir of former first lady Michelle Obama. Its an uplifting and powerful memoir of reflection on a life of accomplishments. Michelle Obama in the memoir shares her life growing up on the south side of Chicago to being on the campaign trail with Barack Obama. It sheds a light on a woman who was never seen as just the first lady. She is a highly intelligent and educated woman who has created her own path in history. This book is a great read to inspire yourself and reflect on your own ongoing journey.
7. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This book follows two sisters in the span of 300 years between Ghana and America. Two sisters are separated one marrying an Englishman and the other being sold into slavery. The book explores the topics of race, history, and love. The book educates its readers historically while still being a fiction novel. It's written by an African author who explores the relationship between Africa and slavery along with interracial relationships during the 18th century. The novel covers a lot of ground in the 300 years as it traces the two sisters' decedents.
All of these books explore fictional, nonfictional experiences and imaginations of people of color. They redefine their respectful genres into what they should be, inclusive. These stories are examples of what is important in storytelling. All of these authors put apart of themselves in these books through their various identities. Their stories are important and valued which is why we should all read these books and enjoy them for ourselves.