When I think about fall, I can’t help but picture drinking a warm cup of apple cider, wearing a cozy sweater, and curling up with a good book as my boys jump into huge piles of leaves. Also on my to-do list for fall? Setting up a diverse “to be read” pile of books.
One of the things I missed out on from growing up in a majority white family as a Person of Color was learning about the importance of reading books by other Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. I fell in love with reading when I was little, but it 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.
And 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 just one of many reasons why it’s important to read, review, and preorder books by BIPOC authors.
Here is a list of 15 books by BIPOC authors to diversify your library.
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, it embodies the reality of many families in America who have parents behind bars and shines light on how to break through intergenerational trauma.
Zakiya Dalila Harris’ novel, The Other Black Girl, was also 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.
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.
This editors' pick on Amazon follows their decade-long partnership, telling the story of 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!
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.
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.
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.