Why We Need Diverse Books (and 24 Amazing Books You Can Read Now)

Why We Need Diverse Books (and 24 Amazing Books You Can Read Now)

Right before I started middle school, my favorite book was Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee.

It was about an 11-year-old girl genius that was already in high school, which like me, was mildly awkward and was desperate to make friends. The book tackled themes like, social acceptance, friendship, and family, which made it similar to other young adult novels.

But what made it stand out for me was that the girl in the story is Chinese-American, like me. I’d never read a book that had an Asian-American character, let alone a main character. The book touched on so many things I could relate to, from the view of Asian nerds to growing up with Asian parents, all things that I’d faced growing up and it finally gave me someone to relate to and look up to.

The author was herself a Chinese-American woman, born and raised in Southern California, similar to myself. Looking back I realize how rare it was for me to find a book that I saw myself in — so few books are written by people of color, and even fewer women of color at that. Even looking at today’s list of New York Time’s bestsellers, not a single person in this week’s top 25 is a person of color.

In an attempt to correct this, Ellen Oh and Malinda Lo launched the campaign We Need Diverse Book, advocating for more diverse experiences in books, “including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.” They’ve provided lists of books by authors of all different experiences as well as resources for budding writers themselves.

Their work illustrates how many experiences, including those of women of color, have been ignored. It is time to begin bringing their stories out of the darkness. By making books by women of color more accessible, we can prove their stories are not tangential to the rest of society, as media so often depicts them.

We need these books to create the heroes young girls can look up to, to shape the dialogue that will help the people of diverse society we live in relate to each other, and create the cultural shift that will bring down the foundations of racism and sexism.

If my argument isn’t convincing enough, here’s a list of 18 Adorable Reasons We Need More Diverse Books from BuzzFeed. If you are convinced though, below you can find a list of create books by women of color for you to pick up this Women’s History Month.



Happy reading!