One of the ways we can help create lasting change is to elevate black authors. This list of fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books was cultivated with the hope that through them, we can learn to make our world better.
Amid all of the injustice that has come to light in the last couple of weeks, there’s a thought that keeps rattling around in my mind. We haven’t just been missing the opportunity to create lasting change.
We’ve also been plain missing out.
Understanding the problem
Like many of you, I have been learning to accept complicity in our broken system. I took a look at this list, (one that I was once so proud of), which features over fifty personal development books that I’ve read and would recommend to my readers. Not a single black writer is represented. I can assure you that this wasn’t done maliciously, or with intent to exclude people of color.
Until last week, I didn’t even notice that my list was void of diversity. And that is the problem.
After a head smack, I felt a wave of embarrassment. And then I felt sad. Selfishly, I felt sad for myself. Because in neglecting to read and listen to black voices, I’ve been missing out.
Creating from a limited perspective
As creative people, we should be taking in as much of our world as we can. This means learning, listening, and seeing from different perspectives. So much of art is about making people feel understood, and that is an impossibility if we limit ourselves to what we already know.
Learning to listen
To create massive and lasting change, we need to take ongoing action. And reading is a really easy and wonderful way to be a part of this movement. Not only do we have an opportunity to support the black writing community by purchasing their books, but in listening to their words. Why not go right to the source?
Books to support black creatives
Below you’ll find a list of the books, written by black authors, that I purchased and downloaded from Audible last week. I also set aside a list of children’s books that I plan on purchasing for my nieces and nephews.
Fiction Books, written by black authors
Most of these came as recommendations in this fantastic episode from the Bad on Paper podcast. Bonus: when you’re shopping on bookshop.org, you also have the opportunity to support a black-owned book shop. I shopped using this link, to support The Lit Bar.
Non-Fiction Books, written by black authors
I prefer to listen to books when they are read by the author. Talk about enriching your experience! Here is what I added to my Audible library.
As I finish listening to these, I’ll add them to my master list of Personal Improvement Books.
Bonus Reads, written by black authors
If you’re looking to add even more richness to your bookshelf, the following came recommended by friends and people in my creative community:
Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, by Colin Powell | recommended by @ellieparvin
Do you have favorite books or recommendations written by people of color? Leave them in the comments.
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