Since the riots last year, publishers and readers have been trying to do a better job at pushing/buying diverse books in kidlit. While there is still a ton of work to do, there are still a few authors of color with brillant, important, and lighthearted works that deserve to be pushed to the forefront. Here are 10 authors of color you should be following. Buy all of their books!
Tae Keller is a Korean-American middle grade author that writes stories that hit you in the feels, usually stories that focus on mental illness and family relationships. She won the Newbery Medal for her fantasy novel that's rich in
Korean folklore. Tae grew up in Honolulu, where she wrote stories, ate Spam musubis, and participated in her school’s egg drop competition. (She did not win.) After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she moved to New York City to work in publishing, and she now has a very stubborn Yorkie and a multitude of books as roommates.
Books I recommend: The Science of Breakable Things if you're more of a contemporary person, When You Trap a Tiger if you're more of a fantasy reader.
Rena is all about that #blackgirlmagic. Most of her stories are about black girls using magic to fight off bad guys and fighting for their family. Rena grew up in small-town Alabama where stories of magic and adventure sparked her imagination. Rena loves all things science fiction, ghosts, and superheroes. She’s a self-proclaimed space nerd. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading or brushing up on her French. Follow her at @renathedreamer and renabarron.com.
Book I recommend: Maya and the Rising Dark
Brandy is the author of so many important Young Adult books of this generation. She grew up loving to make up her own stories and putting them down on paper. She decribes herself as a pretty perceptive person with a wild imagination, and writing always felt like the best way to deal with all the "what if" scenarios I proposed to herself.
Book I recommend: The Only Black Girls in Town
Hanna is a Malyasian Young Adult and Middle Gradeauthor who tells stories about Muslim girls. Hanna is also one of the co-founders of KitaJagaKita, a volunteer-led directory that verifies and lists civil society movements and mutual aid funds, making it easy to both give and receive help during the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia.
Book I recommend: The Weight of Our Sky
Ashley specializes on writing books that will make you cry (can you tell I love those kinds of books by now) and black girlhood and friendships. She has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated from Rutgers University and worked in children's book publishing for over a decade.
Book I recommend: When We Were Everything
Justin A. Reynolds
Another writer that writes beautiful tear jerkers. Justin is unique to this list that he writes contempoorary stories about black boys, while including fresh and witty sci-fi elements in his books. There's not enough black boys in YA and this is one author that gives good representation in that category.
Book I recommend: The Opposite of Always
You definitely know this author, but I had to include her in here. If you don't...what are you doing? Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of African-based science fiction and fantasy (Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism). Okorafor has won a Hugo, a Nebula, a World Fantasy Award, and a Locus Award, and her many fans include Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, John Green, and Ursula Le Guin!!! So, if you haven't read her work, now is definitely the time. She's iconic and should soon be replacing that author who shall not be named with her magic-driven stories.
Book I recommend: Akata Witch
How many of these authors did you already know? Who's work are you excited to read? Comment below!
If you want to support a black owned business and support authors like these every month, subscribe to my monthly kidlit book subscription box, Reading in Color Crate here: https://www.readingincolorcrate.com/collections/all
This was April's box!