The Importance of Reading Diverse Books

Reading about different experiences people can have based on their race, gender, or sexuality is a way for others to learn about things they may personally never go through. For example, many minorities have had to protest to have equal rights and are still attacked for the way they were born. By understanding how people are oppressed, we can start to make positive changes in the world.

Below are four books that I would recommend to anyone who wants to start educating him/herself about real-life issues in the world.

  1. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up follows a sixteen-year-old black rapper named Bri, who dreams of becoming famous. Her father, a rising rap star who died before he made it, has left Bri with a lot of pressure to succeed. Worst, her family may get evicted from their home. After becoming Internet famous for the wrong reasons, Bri must make a choice: her reputation, or her family’s safety?

(If you like this book, check out Thomas’ other book, The Hate U Give)

  1. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Based on the author’s life, Girl in Translation is about Kimberly Chang, a young girl who emigrates with her mother from Hong Kong to America. Speaking almost no English and living in poverty, Kimberly and her mother work in a Chinatown sweatshop. Kimberly, with a natural talent for school, starts to live a “double life,” going to school during the day, and working late hours in the sweatshop at night.

  1. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara Batista is a secret poet. As an Afro-Latina teenager living in a religious home in Harlem, she uses poetry to escape the pressures her religious parent put on her. Xiomara wants to join the school slam poetry club, but she does not know how she can keep it a secret from her family. Told in verse, this is an inspiring story about a girl who cannot be silenced.

  1. Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings tells her inspiring story in this autobiography. Jazz is transgender and writes about her struggles and closed-minded people she has had to deal with. She writes about her experience transitioning, and even being on national T.V. Jazz and her family also have their own Lifetime reality show, I am Jazz.

Other diverse books to consider include: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, and We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.

Raising awareness through reading is a great way to teach everyone, young and old, about the struggles minority groups face, such as racism, homophobia, and xenophobia. Once people are made aware of these issues and struggles, they can start coming up with ideas and taking action to improve the world.