With the Black Lives Matter movement creating waves of awareness across the world right now, a lot of us non-Black folk have been asked to think critically about how and what we read and so that is what I’m doing today.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I am a great diverse reader. Because I’m not. I’m a slacker and having looked at my shelves and Instagram feed I see a lack of Black experiences. Now more than ever we need to start changing. This isn’t a pledge for a month, or a year or for now. This is a pledge for a life time. To yes think about the race of the author and consciously pick up books by Black authors from all kinds of backgrounds, to read them and review them.
Before I start, I want to leave a link here to the master list of how you can help Black Lives Matter movements across the globe. From donating to signing petitions to educating yourself about what is happening right now, it is all in this link. For those who can’t donate (like me) because of financial difficulty, there are several YouTube videos you can stream that will donate all ad-funds accumulated to different foundations supporting BLM. Do what you can to help! We, as non-Black folk, need to keep up the momentum of the fight because if we are promising change we need to stick to that promise.
Between the months of January and May 2020 I have read 51 Books.
White: 32 ~ 63%
Black: 6 ~12%
Latinx: 10 ~20%
Asian: 3 ~ 6%
Among the approximately 285 books I own:
White: 198 ~70%
Black: 10 ~ 4%
Latinx: 24 ~ 8%
Asian: 48 ~17%
Indigenous: 2 ~ 0.7%
Yup the numbers are staggering. I really thought I was a decent diverse reader, but as you can see I’m not nearly good enough. Which means that there is only room for improvement and change, which starts now and basically never ends.
To help me (and you), I’ve created a list of books by Black authors I most definitely want to read in the (near) future. I know that I won’t get to them all by the end of the year, but reading Black-authored books doesn’t stop when 2020 ends. It needs to keep going and having this list will help me look back at all the options I have whenever I’m looking for something.
NOTE: I realize didn’t include a selection of anti-racism reads on this post. I wanted to mainly focus on fictional books about Black joy and magic etc. but this doc has a great list for beginners!!
ANOTHER NOTE: I also know that my Indigenous reads are also *severely* lacking and I intend to do something about it too. I plan on making a comprehensive list of books by Indigenous authors that I want to read as well and I will share it once I have it together!
On My Shelves Right Now
– Because it’s best to start with what you have –
The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Phillipe
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
King and the Dragon Flies by Kacen Callender
Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson
Truly, Madly, Royally by Debbie Rigaud
I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
Slay by Brittney Morris
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Color Me In by Natasha Diaz
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
If it Makes you Happy by Claire Kann
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
Daughters of Nri by Reni K. Amayo
King of the Rising by Kacen Callender
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Dear Haiti, Love Elaine by Maika and Maritza Moulite
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Oculta by Maya Motayne
American Street by Ibi Motayne
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Other Things To Do To Show Your Support!
- Support your local Black-owned book store (google it!)
- If you read Black-authored books, review them on Goodreads & retail sites
- Tip: Round .5 ratings up on GR (bc that’s what we’re supposed to do anyways)
- Remember that ARCs about/by BIPOC should go to BIPOC bloggers first
- Request anticipated books by Black authors at your library
- As you read books about racism/anti-racism remember to also read books about Black joy
- Remember that this is a long-term commitment. Keep track of what you’re reading and remember to diversify your shelves!
*more here @tae_keller*
I’m not here to preach to you because Lord knows I’m not very adequate at doing so. I made this post mostly to call myself out and get my act together. But I do ask that you actually look at the books on your shelves, in your shopping carts, on your TBR list and think about who you are missing.
And when you do your audit and see your disparaging numbers…feel the shame, feel the guilt but don’t let it consume you. Pick yourself up, promise to do better and actually do better.
It’s a long road ahead of us and we all need to do our part to better the world around us! Including our reading world!
Let me know what you think! Have you read any of these books? How are you planning on diversifying your shelves? What are some Black books you are looking forward to reading? Anybody up for a buddy for the books on my shelf?