One of the things I missed out on while growing up in a majority white family as a Person of Color was learning about the importance of reading books by authors who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. I fell in love with reading when I was little, but that was when books by BIPOC authors were rare. Now that I’m an adult, reading is a wonderful way for me to dig into my culture, learn about other cultures, and support authors of color like me.
Once I started my journey into publishing, I learned that books by People of Color are often more difficult to get published. And when they are published, they often receive less money for advances and marketing. This is one of many reasons why it’s important to read, review, and preorder books by BIPOC authors.
Below, check out a list of 30+ books we love and recommend by BIPOC authors. Not only are they all great reads, but it’s, of course, wonderful to diversify your home library with authors from all different backgrounds—and these titles do just that.
Novels by BIPOC Authors
Ann Tran is proud of the life she has created for herself, even if she is estranged from her mother, Huơng. But when she learns the most influential woman in her life, her grandmother, Minh, has passed away and left Ann's childhood home to her and her mother, she's forced to reconcile a relationship she believed to be lost. In a parallel tale, readers are sent back in time to hear young Minh's story in the aftermath of the Vietnam war and her journey immigrating to America.
The curse started with their ancestor who left her marriage for true love and resulted in the curse on the Duong women that would only allow them daughters and promised that they would never find love or happiness. Years later, a trusted psychic shares the news that this year will be different for their family and promises that there will be a marriage, a funeral, and the birth of a son. This multi-narrative novel brims with twists and turns that will have you laughing and crying.
Zakiya Dalila Harris’ novel, The Other Black Girl, was a New York Times Bestseller. This dynamic thriller about two Black women working in NYC publishing incorporates social commentary, like the manipulation against BIPOC that can often be overlooked in the workplace.
Infinite Country is a novel that follows a girl named Talia who is currently being held at a correctional facility in Colombia. Talia needs to get out before missing her flight and her one possible chance to be reunited with her family in the North. This novel depicts the journey of her parents traveling to America for a better life and the circumstances about her father’s deportation and the family’s splintering. The author is also dual citizen and daughter of Colombian immigrants. It was a Reese’s Book Club pick and also an instant New York Times Bestseller. I have personally been wanting to read more books about my birth country, so this book is definitely at the top of my TBR pile!
Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s novel in verse delves into longing, loss, and identity crises following a dream but making it a reality as she resurrects pop star Selena Quintanilla from the dead. For readers who love millennial angst and Twitter rants as well as a love story, this book is for you.
Mandanna created a spooky and lighthearted read that is perfect for any fall reading list. In this novel, Britain is used to being alone, but when she receives an invitation to the Nowhere House to help three witches learn how to control their magic–she can’t resist going. With dangers at every corner she must decide whether to risk it all to protect the people she now considers family.
Empire of Wild is written by a brilliant award-winning Indigenous author. This contemporary novel was inspired by the traditional Canadian Métis legend of the Rogarou, which is a werewolf-like creature that haunts the woods of native communities.
This debut supernatural suspense novel follows Beatriz as she struggles to secure a safe home after her father was executed and her home was destroyed during the overthrow of the Mexican government. When she gets to the solace of the countryside, she soon realizes that the Hacienda is not a sanctuary, but a haunted home and calls upon a young priest to help her. While I am not normally a fan of stories that will keep me up at night out of fear, this book had me at the forbidden romance trope expertly woven within a sinister world.
Sabrina and Corina is a National Book Award finalist and winner of the American Book Award. Kali Fajardo-Anstine's book shares the moving tale of feminine power while exploring themes of abandonment, heritage, and the feeling of home.
Hamid, a New York Times-bestselling author, created a work of art that will sit with you for weeks if not months. In this novel, Ander finds that his skin color has become very dark overnight and soon reports of similar things happening to other people pour in. The lyrical prose dissects the internal struggle of each person as their place in society is now uncertain due to the color of their skin, and everyone must figure out who they are beyond face-value.
Dial A for Aunties is a hilarious novel about an accidental murder and the strength of family ties as Meddelin Chan's meddling aunties try to help her get rid of the body. This book will make you both laugh out loud and reach for tissues with its romantic comedy and the immigration story that leaves you craving more.
Mia P. Manansala’s culinary cozy series is the perfect addition to a fall reading list. This is an #ownvoice story that centers Filipinos, aunties, and titas and lolas in a mystery that will keep you at the edge of your seat. At the recommendation of one of my favorite book bloggers, this is also at the top of my list.
Nghi Vo’s instant National Bestseller crafts a Gatsby retelling that consists of a coming of age story full of mystery and magic.
Aster was an instant #booktok sensation with the premise of her latest book, Lightlark which follows ruler Isla Crown, as she enters the Centennial—a dangerous game that is the only chance for each ruler to end the curse that has plagued their lands. Although considered a young adult novel, any fans of the Hunger Games or other dystopian hits will really enjoy this read.
This novel follows twelve characters in Native communities as they travel to the Big Oakland Powwow. Each person has a complicated past and along their journey they discover connections to one another as they grapple with their spirituality, sacrifice, and history of their ancestors. Simply put, this is a powerful story that everyone should add to their TBR pile.
Sarah dreams of becoming a screenwriter, but 10 years down the line she finds herself teaching screenplay writing rather than being hands-on in the industry. When she is approached by a reporter, she decides that it's time to talk about the trauma she has been through and must confront her own sins along the way. This novel explores the #MeToo movement with nuance and authenticity, and pieces everything together in this contemporary thriller.
Brown Girls is a debut novel that brings together a story of childhood and adulthood, and incorporates an exploration of female friendship within a group of Women of Color who are just trying to find where home is. Andreades beautifully depicts the array of people and cultures in this coming of age story that explores womanhood, class, and race in Queens, New York.
If you loved Sex and the City, this book is for you. Wahala follows three Anglo-Nigerian friends Ronke, Boo, and Simi as they incorporate charismatic Isobel into their friend group. At first it seems like their new pal is bringing out the best in each woman, but soon chaos reigns and they find their friendship tested in this wonderful debut novel.
In this novel, North America was never colonized and the Great Lakes are surrounded by the Ojibwe nation where a Peacekeeper must confront his father after his mother’s best friend is killed.
Nuclear Family explores the dynamics of a Korean-American family living in Hawaii and follows their humorous journey as their son is possessed by the ghost of his long-lost grandfather who is determined to travel back to North Korea. This is a book that is beautifully strange, which makes it perfect for any reading list.
While I can’t read too many spooky novels, I can never get enough of a warm and cozy romance read, especially by a BIPOC author. On Rotation follows a Ghanaian-American woman in medical school who checks all the boxes for the “Perfect Immigrant Daughter” and a sexy, brilliant, man that sees her for who she is. If you love Grey’s Anatomy or any hospital drama, add this book to your cart.
Two friends, both named Sara, hop in a rideshare, but only one makes it home safe after realizing she took the wrong car and ended up on the opposite side of town. But which Sara was the target? This is a definite must-read that will have you at the edge of your seat (and second-guessing your ride-share apps) as you try to unravel all of the twists and turns.
Simply put, this is a beautiful collection of Dominican short stories that follow the Beléns across many generations. Gomera-Taverez weaved in difficult topics like machismo, mental health, and identity in this magical debut.
Memoirs & Non-Fiction Books
Somebody’s Daughter was an instant New York Times Bestseller. Ashley Ford uses gripping honesty as she discusses the impact of her father’s incarceration on her childhood. While this story is of one woman’s coming-of-age experience, it embodies the reality of many families in America who have parents behind bars and shines light on how to break through intergenerational trauma.
Crazy Brave is a memoir about family and the complexities of betrayal and love. While the beginning is a little slow, once the story picks up, you won't be able to put it down. Joy Harjo paints a clear picture of the hardships Native American women may face—racism, alcoholism, and domestic violence—while also making space for love and freedom.
Mango and Peppercorns follows cook Tung Nguyen after she escapes the fall of Saigon in 1975 and takes refuge in Miami in the home of graduate student Kathy Manning. The story follows their decade-long partnership and recaps how they turned strangers into family through food and their signature mango and peppercorn sauce. It also includes 20 Vietnamese recipes that mirror their story from the acclaimed award-winning Hy Vong Vietnamese restaurant. As the daughter of a chef, this one really spoke to me!
My Broken Language tells the tale of a sharp-eyed girl who is haunted by the secrets of the barrio. She weaves together the stories of her family and the lessons of North Philly and Yale as she explores the definition of home, memory, and belonging. Quiara Alegría Hudes is a Pulitzer-winning playwright and the co-writer of In the Heights. I have been a fan of the musical since I was in high school (10 years ago) and just know, based on the stories incorporated there, that this book is going to be a treat.
Minor Feelings is a New York Times Bestseller that incorporates cultural criticism, memoir, and history to expose racial truths in America. Cathy Park Hong grew up as the daughter of Korean immigrants. She struggled with her racial identity and uses her story to uncover and speak the truth about the Asian American experience.
Samantha Irby’s essay collection is a #1 New York Times Bestseller that draws on the raw, funny bits of her new life. Described as a laugh-out-loud, "spit out your beverage" kind of book, this is something that I can't wait to pick up.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ memoir covers her journey of self-discovery, starting with her childhood in India to her teenage years in the United States. She shares her challenges and triumphs in a book that is as philosophical as it is rebellious.
Harris’ memoir explores motherhood and the reality of how Black families are treated by doctors and the education system. Any mother can relate to Harris’ fight for answers for her child and her tenacity when nothing goes according to plan. As a Latina mother who has struggled getting diagnosis for my sons and myself, this was a tough but beautiful read that I highly recommend.