Diversify Your Reading Selection With These 15 Books From #OwnVoices Authors
Five years ago, YA author Corinne Duyvis took to Twitter to encourage readers to consume "books with diverse characters written by authors from that same diverse group." In a follow-up tweet, Corinne proposed the idea of creating a hashtag to make this genre of books more accessible to the everyday reader. Thus, #OwnVoices was born.
While many of the novels that fall into this category shed light on racial discrimination and immigration, Corinne stresses on her website that the meaning for this hashtag is to exemplify books in which the protagonist and author share a marginalized identity, including disabilities and sexuality and gender identity. The #OwnVoices movement has since sparked conversations regarding racial prejudice, injustice, and oppression.
Diversify your library selection ahead with 15 books from #OwnVoices authors.
The Hate U Give
Penned by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give follows high schooler Starr Carter, who was in the passenger seat when her best friend Khalil was fatally shot by a police officer. He was also unarmed. Khalil's death quickly becomes national news, and without a prime witness stepping forward, everyone in town and around the world is making their own assumptions of why he was shot. Was he a drug dealer? Was he trying to take advantage of Starr? With her family now in serious danger and her city filled with protesters, will Starr be able to share what actually happened that day?
Everything I Never Told You
Everything I Never Told You takes place in 1970s rural Ohio. Marilyn and James Lee are determined to give their daughter, Lydia, the American dream, something they were never able to successfully accomplish. One day, Lydia goes missing, and when her body is found in the town's lake, the Lee family is turned upside down. Author of Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng takes readers on an emotional and eye-opening journey of a Chinese American family.
On the Edge of Gone
Written by Corinne Duyvis, the founder of #OwnVoices, On the Edge of Gone takes place in the year 2035. Denise is doing everything she can to save her mom and sister from the big comet that is expected to strike their homeland. In a last-minute rescue, they are granted access to a ship; however, Denise uncovers that each person aboard holds a special skill. As a young girl with autism, Denise is terrified she'll be asked to leave. Even more, she wonders what is her special skill and will her family survive the comet?
A Thousand Splendid Suns
If you enjoyed Khaled Hosseini's bestseller The Kite Runner, you need to get a copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns. Inspired by his trip back home to Afghanistan, the novel tells the riveting story of two women who are brought together under the most haunting and oppressive circumstances. A story of self-sacrifice and friendship, this book needs to be next on your reading list.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Drawing from his own life experiences, Sherman Alexie's bestselling novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian tells the tale of Junior, a young boy who uproots his life from the Spokane Indian Reservation to enroll at an all-white high school. Their school mascot? An Indian.
Piecing Me Together
A dual winner of the Newbery Honor Book Award and Coretta Scott King Award for nonviolent social change, Piecing Me Together follows Jade, a young woman, who wants to make a difference and create a beautiful life for herself. Her mother is always encouraging her to seize opportunities that come her way, and as Jade does, she realizes some opportunities are only stunting her growth as an individual, especially as an "at-risk" girl. Renée Watson's groundbreaking novel is a timeless tale of never giving up even when the going gets tough.
The Sun Is Also a Star
Now a major motion picture, The Sun Is Also a Star is a modern take on serendipity. Natasha doesn't believe in destiny and is less than a day away from being deported to Jamaica. Daniel checks every box of what a "good son" should be; he gets good grades, is a family man, and has always been working toward his future. But what happens when they meet one fateful day on a crammed New York City street? Nicola Yoon intertwines the lives of two teenagers whose lives couldn't be more different.
With the Fire on High
Elizabeth Acevedo, author of The Poet X, is back at it again! With the Fire on High follows Emoni Santiago, who only cares about one thing: sustaining the best life for her daughter and abuela. Overwhelmed with the decision to pursue her passion of cooking, Emoni must decide to risk everything for an attempt at a new career or continue on her current path, which provides a stable and reliable life for her and her family.
A National Book Award finalist, American Street is the coming-of-age story of a young Haitian woman, Fabiola Toussaint. She's ready to make a good life for herself in America, but when her mom is detained by US immigration, everything changes. Ibi Zoboi's take on encountering a brand-new world without the person you trust and love the most comes from her experience as a Haitian immigrant.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea
In A Very Large Expanse of Sea, Shirin has built up many walls due to the degrading comments, violence, and prejudice she has encountered as a Muslim woman one year after 9/11. She'd rather stay under the radar than open up or confide in anyone. That is until she meets Ocean James. Tahereh Mafi's perspective as a Muslim female teenager post-9/11 may tell the story of an event that happened almost two decades ago but still holds much relevance today.
Tyler Johnson Was Here
Twin brothers Tyler and Marvin Johnson attend a party where mindless fun quickly takes a fatal turn into a shooting and police raid. Tyler is found dead, and in a turn of even more unfortunate events, Marvin uncovers his twin's murderer: a police officer. Jay Coles tackles prominent topics of gun control and the Black Lives Matter movement in Tyler Johnson Was Here.
All American Boys
In All American Boys, Rashad is shopping for a bag of chips when he is mistaken as a shoplifter by policeman Paul Galluzzo. It was all a misunderstanding, but Rashad's cry for help and innocence is left ignored as Paul continues to violently and physically harm the boy. On the sideline is Paul's basically adopted son, Quinn, who is a basketball star on the varsity high school team. There's also the bodega security camera that recorded the whole thing. Told in alternating racial perspectives by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, this is a story of standing up for what is right even if it means hurting the ones closest to you.
The New York Times bestseller Internment is the heart-pounding and thought-provoking novel of Layla Amin, who finds herself as well as her family in an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. Samira Ahmed takes her readers on a journey of self-discovery and revolution and compels individuals to fight for change.
I'm Not Dying With You Tonight
Nominated for an NAACP Image Award, I'm Not Dying With You Tonight is the powerful tale of two teenage girls of different races who must set everything aside and come together to get through the night alive. While Gilly Segal's main characters confront their own views and misconceptions of racial injustice, readers will also be challenged to examine their own assumptions about race and prejudice in America.
In the Time of the Butterflies
Julia Alvarez, who herself left her home of the Dominican Republic for the US in the 1960s, intertwines the stories of four sisters who live under the unruly conditions of political oppression from General Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. In the Time of the Butterflies captures the essence that is family while at the same time highlighting the daily horrors of dictatorship.