There have been a lot of posts with anti-racist reading lists, which is great, and I appreciate people doing this work. In fact, my local independent bookstore posted such a list, and I wrote this response to their FB post since I have been thinking about this issue quite a lot.
I really appreciate this list, and I appreciate the inclusion of fiction, especially for young people here. I would like to remind you and your readers, though, that Black people think about things other than race and police/state violence and that adding in some fiction and nonfiction that show Black people just existing are also important. One of the issues Black people face is that we’re expected to constantly educate people about race and to exist as Black first, people second. Fiction books that don’t center race as the primary narrative are essential to building empathy in readers. Perhaps you can create a list that centers those fiction and nonfiction narratives–written by Black authors–as well.
Books by Brandy Colbert, Varian Johnson, Samantha Irby, Liara Tamani, and others would nicely fill a list of that sort. I also created a Twitter thread during Black History Month that has several of the types of books I’m thinking of. Black lives matter not just to address racism but also as fully lived lives.
I love giving recommendations (book or otherwise), and I have been asked more than once for suggestions of what to read during this time. So, this is the post with all the recs! I was going to attempt to separate them into categories, but I just labeled them instead. I put pictures if I had them handily available because it would have taken forever to find pictures for all of them. Also, these are only the books I’ve read in the past five years. I mean, this list could go on, but I had to stop myself somewhere.
If you’re interested in any of them, please support a book and mortar bookstore that serves your neighborhood. Most are still taking orders and doing delivery. Bookstore Link can point you in the right direction if you don’t already have a bookstore in mind.
And this will be mostly children’s lit because you know how I roll. So here we go.
Comfort/Fun Books to Read during the Pandemic
Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot (middle grade, graphic novel)
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (YA)
Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot (mystery)
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (middle grade mystery)
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (YA fantasy)
If you’re totally into kissing books (WHICH I AM), you might like this book. As the title plainly states Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding is about main character Riley and her quest to kiss Ted Callahan..and finding some other guys to kiss along the way.