6 Books to Diversify Your Bookshelf

With quarantine still in full swing, and most of us spending our time inside, good books are more essential than ever. This February, being Black History Month, I have tried to read a more diverse set of books. From thrilling YA Fantasy novels to collections of essays, focusing on prominent issues today, I believe this list will have something for everyone. This list of books is what I have read this month and I hope to use this as an opportunity to integrate more diverse authors and characters into my future reading choices. 

  1. 1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

    Person Holding a Book

    In Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, she tells the story of two half-sisters in 18th century Ghana. One is married to an Englishman and lives a comfortable life, while the other is sold into slavery and taken to the United States. This book recounts the very different lives of these two sisters, the history of their descendants, and how each of their lives were shaped by historical factors that they could not control.

  2. 2. The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

    woman reading a book by the window

    Salem and Handmaid’s Tale meet in this novel. This feminist fantasy debut novel follows Immanuelle, a woman born from an interracial couple, in the land of Bethel. Immanuel’s very existence is a disgrace and she does everything in her power to follow the Holy Protocol and conform as much as she can. But a turn of events leads her out into the woods where four witches were killed by the first prophet and their lingering spirits bestow a gift upon Immanuelle. The more she learns more about her family and Bethel’s dark secrets, the more she realizes she must be the change.

  3. 3. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

    This collection of essays details the issues of the feminist movement, namely the issue of intersectionality. This book talks about a variety of topics, like housing and food insecurity, education, healthcare, and gun control, in terms of being feminist issues. These essays take a look at how white women dominate the movement and often leave out POC. Kendall asks the question: How can we stand in solidarity if there is a distinct divide, with some women oppressing others?

  4. 4. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    hand holding book open

    This book takes the form of a letter from Ta-Nehisi Coates to his young son. It gives his story, through many anecdotes, of his place within the world and focuses on how the idea of race damages everyone, but especially Black women and men. It weaves the past, present, and offers a vision for the future.

  5. 5. The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

    The Rage of Dragons is a page-turning fantasy novel that tells the story of Tau, a member of the Omehi people who have been fighting an impossible war for 200 years. While Tau wants the chance to escape the fighting and settle down, his plans are smashed when those closest to him are murdered. Now, all Tau can think about is revenge and becoming the most prolific swordsman to ever live.

  6. 6. Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

    This urban fantasy novel, from J. Elle, tells the story of Rue, a Black teen from Houston, Texas. When her mother is shot, Rue’s life is turned upside down when her absent father takes her away from her home and little sister to an island full of magic and mystery. There, Rue finds things out about herself she never could imagine being possible and must embrace herself to fight evil forces, to save her home and sister.