Top 5 Books Written By & Featuring People of Color | Top 5 Tuesdays

Hi all! This is just to say that Top 5 Tuesdays and their topics are brought to you by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm. Check out her blog, she’s awesome!

Though she is taking a break this month, I wanted to carry on with the exercise and I’ll just be picking my own topics. I didn’t post last Tuesday because I’ve been so busy with getting ready to go back to work that blogging just hasn’t been one of my top priorities. I have a little time now, and I thought this would be a good time to spotlight books written by and featuring people of color. There’s a lot of civil unrest in America right now, and, as something I can do to be an ally to my fellow brothers and sisters of color, I wanted to take this time to promote diversity and Black History as featured in the book world.

Ghost Boys by Jewel Parker Rhodes

My library was very fortunate to host Rhodes for an Author Event and it was a huge success. Rhodes has written so many excellent books that feature African Americans in everyday life as well as Black history.

This particular book focuses on systemic racism in the police force. It’s told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Jerome, who has just been shot and killed by a police officer because he was playing with a toy gun. This book, written for middle-grade readers, covers a lot of serious themes and doesn’t shy away from problems America faces as a country. It’s well written and I was deeply moved by it when I read it. It’s a great book to focus in a book club or to use as a starting point to talk about race issues with kids.


Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay

I think, in addition to being a great book of essays, Gay’s book is also a great book to read if you’re questioning whether or not you’re a feminist. She tackles a lot of topics, but one of them is that it’s okay to be a “bad” feminist, that we’re human, we make mistakes, we can’t be great at everything and that’s okay. I love the humor and Gay’s easy, almost conversational way of writing. It feels like she’s talking to you as you read and I love that. This book is short, sweet, and full of really insightful notions.

I’ve read other works by Gay, but this one is definitely my favorite. Still, if you’re looking for non-fiction work by a person of color, I’d highly recommend Gay.


Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower – Brittney Cooper

Speaking of feminism! Cooper’s book addresses a very specific aspect of sexism, in that women are not allowed to be angry, because we’re seen in a very negative light. Her book breaks down specifically how Black women’s anger is seen negatively as destructive and ugly. Cooper dissects the power of eloquent rage, and how it can be used as a superpower.

I learned so much reading this book. It posited so many things for me to think about that I’d never considered before. Cooper’s writing is so intelligent and accessible. I would definitely recommend reading this in a book club, because I think it makes the perfect text for discussion.


Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds

This book addresses another broken piece of America, gun violence. Told in verse and over the span of 60 seconds, Will is riding an elevator down from his apartment so he can go kill a man he believes to be responsible for killing his brother. He’s visited on each floor by ghosts of friends and family members who have all been the victims of gun violence. They each have a story to tell and complicate Will’s decision to continue the cycle of violence in his neighborhood.

This book reads very quickly, and I highly recommend listening to the audiobook, because Reynolds reads it and it is excellent! I listened to it in one sitting and was really blown away. I normally don’t like novels-in-verse, but this one is so well done and highly deserving of its accolades.


The Great Greene Heist – Varian Johnson

I wanted to end this list with a fun read. Johnson’s book is a middle-grade heist story involving a diverse group of kids led by Jackson Greene. It’s humorous and has a lot of action. It’s quick, it’s fun and it has a great cast of characters, each kid having a specific talent that, when all are added together, make for a great heist team. This book also features people of color on it’s cover, which is something that is highly needed, especially in juvenile fiction. Kids need to see themselves in books, to feel represented, and this book does that!

It’s also a series, so if you enjoy this book, there’s more to read!

Thoughts & Thanks!

Well, that’s the list! I hope this list introduces you to some new, diverse reads. These stories really intrigued and moved me and I’m happy to be able to have a platform where I can share my love for them. I’d love to know if you’ve read any of these books and what you think about them, or, if you haven’t, if you’re planning to read them now. Let’s chat about it in the comments!

Thank you for reading this post. And, as always, happy reading!

4 thoughts on “Top 5 Books Written By & Featuring People of Color | Top 5 Tuesdays

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