105 Ways to Give a Book

An Unofficial List of Great YA By or About Women of Color

I saw this at Archimedes Forgets and thought that it was well worth promoting (and an easy post to write). The list comes from Color Online. X means read, # means on the TBR list, and ! means loved.

Susan’s Unofficial List of Great YA By or About Women of Color:
  1. When Kambia Elaine Flew In From Neptune, by Lori A. Williams (X)
  2. Every Time A Rainbow Dies, by Rita Williams-Garcia
  3. No Laughter Here, by Rita Williams-Garcia (X)
  4. Jumped, by Rita Williams-Garcia
  5. If You Come Softly, by Jacqueline Woodson
  6. The House You Pass On The Way, by Jacqueline Woodson
  7. Flygirl, by Sherri L. Smith (#)
  8. From The Notebooks of Melanin Sun, by Jacqueline Woodson
  9. Sold, by Patricia McCormick (X)
  10. A Step From Heaven, by An Na (!)
  11. The Parable of The Sower, by Octavia E. Butler
  12. Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  13. Persepolis, by Majane Satrapi
  14. The Rock and The River, by Kekla Magoon
  15. Secret Keeper, by Mitali Perkins (!)
  16. Mare’s War, by Tanita S. Davis (#)
  17. A Wish After Midnight, by Zetta Elliott
  18. Down To The Bone, by Mayra Lazara Dole
  19. Don’t Get It Twisted, by Paula Chase
  20. Jason & Kyra, by Dana Davidson
  21. Forged by Fire, by Sharon Draper (X)
  22. Kendra, by Coe Booth (#)
  23. Shine, Coconut Moon, by Neesha Meminger
  24. Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah (X)
  25. Born Confused, by Tanuja Desai Hidier (!)
  26. Skunk Girl, by Sheba Karim
  27. The Meaning of Conseulo, by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  28. In The Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez (X)
  29. Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler
  30. First Part Last, by Angela Johnson (X)
  31. Pemba’s Song, by Marilyn Nelson
  32. Wanting Mor, by Rukhsana Khan
  33. M + O 4EVR, by Tonya Hegamin
  34. Lucy The Giant, by Sherri L. Smith (X)
  35. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros (X)
  36. Throwaway Piece, by Jo Ann Hernandez
  37. White Bread Competition, by Jo Ann Hernandez
  38. Across A Hundred Mountains, by Reyna Grande
  39. Silver Phoenix, by Cindy Pon
  40. The Skin I’m In, by Sharon G. Flake (!)
I think I need to do some more reading. I also think that there are some great books missing from the list, but I can’t remember what they are — and it’s too late at night to go to the library and skim the Young Adult section for clues.


stacy whitman said...

This is a great list--and there are a lot of books to add to my own reading pile--but I'm not seeing a lot of fantasy on it. Cindy Pon's, really, is the only one I recognize as fantasy(though I haven't read a good half of the list, so I might be missing several). I'm actually working on putting together a list of fantasy/science fiction for YA & kids by authors of color (of either gender) or featuring characters of color, in response to another challenge by Color Online, and so far I'm coming up with a pretty short list (and hence haven't yet posted the list, because I'm still trying to build it). If you know any of the others on the list are fantasy, I'd love to hear about them. :)

Color Online said...

Hi Mother Reader,

Thanks so much for posting this. I never expected to see it posted elsewhere.


Regarding fantasy, in my community (I run a library at non-profit in Detroit), science fiction and fantasy aren't popular and as you mentioned finding sci-fi/fantasy by poc of color is a challenge.

The other factor in creating the list was listing books that were hits in my library and books I've read.

Thanks for doing the Diversity Roll Call Challenge. I'm putting up my own response on Monday.

Butler's Parable of the Sower falls under science fiction, but it isn't a YA title but suitable for the older reader.

I'll be adding Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-mbachu. She has a second title.

A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott is similar to Kindred by Octavia Butler and includes time travel. This self-published title (several mainstream publishing houses passed it over) has been gaining a lot of traction. Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray reviews it at BookSlut and the reviews are growing.

Color Online said...


In the original post I asked for recommended titles.

Would love to hear what you'd add. I decided to stop to leave room for readers' recommendations.

CindyD said...

I'm surprised that only one of Sharon Draper's books is on the list. And I would include all of Janet McDonald's books.

Color Online said...

Hi Cindy,

I love Ms. Draper's work. She is an established, well loved author. She isn't hard to find. How many of the other authors have you read? So often I'm told, "I don't know any AA writers. My aim is to promote those who aren't as well known like Ms. Draper for example.

Personally, I did not care for Off-Color but I have said I'll revisit Ms. McDonald's work. Which title would you recommend?

Melissa said...

I am ASHAMED at myself. (I'd barely read any on this list.) Rectifying that with putting many on my TBR list, and requesting a few. Thanks for posting the list.

Okibum said...

Thanks for posting this. I need this for when I go back into the classroom.

Nancy said...

Thanks for sharing such great information.

Anonymous said...

Hi Thank you so much for including my books, The Throwaway Piece and White Bread Competition. Here are a few tidbits: I had no say on the cover art. Jewel doesn't have tattoos or studs. Also the last two lines of the book were deleted and replaced by the publisher. If anyone would like to know the Real Last Line, after they read the book, please go to my blog and email me and I'll send it to you.
Thank you again for including me. I appreciate your support and am indebted to you.
Jo Ann Hernandez
BronzeWord Latino Authors

Color Online said...

Nancy and Okibum,

I'm glad to hear you're impressed with the list.

MR, thanks again for posting it. If any is interested in more books by people of color, please join us at Color Online. We'd love to have you.