Books

The Best BIPOC Books Out Today

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack.

Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

When do you call it quits on a book? For a while, I know the latest thing has been to ditch a book if, after a decent number of pages have passed, to put it down, but I’ve noticed I’m wired a little differently. Being neurospicy means I have a bit of a higher threshold when it comes to something getting and sustaining my attention. There have been books that I’ve been wishy-washy on for the first 100 pages or so, but that I’ve ended up liking by the time I’d finished them.

Does that happen for you? Or, do you find that if you don’t like something by page 50, it’s a done deal? Let me know. I’m trying to see something.

As for today’s books, I’ve chosen the best books by BIPOC authors out today. They include a spicy sapphic romance, a collection of avenging fox spirit stories, and a couple of endearing children’s books. There’s also bonus content featuring books that’ll be big this summer, for members.

cover of Allow Me to Introduce Myself by Onyi Nwabineli

Allow Me to Introduce Myself by Onyi Nwabineli

Have you ever wondered what happens to the kids whose parents exploit them on social media for profit? Aṅụrị  Chinasa, now a 25-year-old Londoner, knows all too well. Though she’s successful at a young age, the alcoholism, relationship with her father, and all the other consequences of having been the focus of her stepmother Ophelia’s social media channel since she was small makes it all not worth it. And now that she’s moved on from the “family business,” the spotlight has turned to her younger half sister, Noelle, who Aṅụrị is determined to save.

cover of Flawless Girls Anna-Marie McLemore

Flawless Girls by Anna-Marie McLemore

Go ahead and put McLemore on that auto-buy list if you haven’t already. Their YA novels are always lyrical, highly imaginative, and often a little surreal. In Flawless Girls, the Soler sisters are their own people, resistant to the overly oppressive standards of polite society. But their grandmother, fearful of what being this free could mean for two young Latina women, enrolls them in Alarie House, an elite finishing school. While the younger Isla is back to herself and home in a day’s time, older sister Renata stays, returning months later a changed girl. She’s saccharinely sweet, and overly polite…and maybe even a little bit murderous. What’s more, the night she comes home is the night she vanishes. So, Isla re-enrolls to find out what happened to her sister, but a school as rigid and palatial as Alarie House will not be so open to spill its secrets.

A Little Kissing Between Friends cover

A Little Kissing Between Friends by Chencia C. Higgins

Y’all want spice? A stripper/music producer, friends-turned-lovers situation? Here, Cyn Tha Starr is on the up and up as a music producer, and not too serious when it comes to relationships. That is, until she starts to see her best friend — and the most popular dancer at strip club Sanity — in a new way. Juleesa, likewise, has been having fun with Cyn and just focusing on taking care of her son. But, when she and Cyn’s little something something starts feeling like something serious, they’ll have to decide if their friendship is worth the risk.

Also get into Higgins’ D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding for more sapphic spiciness.

cover of Ninetails: Nine Tales by Sally Wen Mao

Ninetails: Nine Tales by Sally Wen Mao

With lush world-building and Korean lore-inspired fabulism, the stories in this debut collection re-imagine the nine-tailed fox spirit present in Asian folklore as a vengeance-seeking redeemer. An abused teen girl is avenged by a fox spirit, silicone sex dolls come to life, and more.

BIPOC Children’s Books

cover of My Name Is Long as a River by Suma Subramaniam, illustrated by Tara Anand

My Name Is Long as a River by Suma Subramaniam, illustrated by Tara Anand

In this picture book, Kaveri Thanjavur Jayalakshmi Ganesan has a very long name that she’d much rather shorten to Kav. But then, Paati reminds her that her name comes from the mighty river she and her family travel along for the Pushkaram Festival, and she realizes how her name holds the special history of her family’s heritage.

cover of Loaf the Cat Goes To The Powwow by Nicholas DeShaw, illustrated by Tara Audibert

Loaf the Cat Goes To The Powwow by Nicholas DeShaw, illustrated by Tara Audibert

Loaf the cat’s favorite person is her boy, who she likes to keep tabs on. One day, he disappears, but she finds him by following his smell and finds him in a vibrant place full of drums, colors, and people. Her boy is at his first powwow, and she gets to witness him in all his splendor.

*subscribers read on for bonus content*

BIPOC It Books of the Summer

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