Confession: I am an intense book blerd.


Because of that, I love reading any and everything I can get my hands on. However, as an avid reader, I've noticed a lack of diversity in the books I come across and the characters that lead them. It's made me notice that as a whole, the publishing industry could use a little more color.

That's not to say that there aren't phenomenal writers of colors out there, because there are, but there is still more work to be done and ground to be covered. Prime example – two years ago, I interned at a literary agency in New York City. And it was there that I learned, on average, the black community only buys about two books a year. Compared to the 10 books the average white person buys, these jarring statistics systematically lead to the black community being underserved in the publishing world. What's even more interesting perhaps is the fact that says the demographic most likely to buy a book is the college educated black woman.

I can't help but think that there's a connection between not feeling like books are made with us in mind and us buying books. And that's where the issue lies.

In my quest for dope reads, I stumbled across four businesses that seek to prioritize POC representation in literature by bringing attention to books written by us and with us in mind. They are killing the game and redefining what it means to be mainstream reads. My reading list and I personally owe them a huge thank you, hopefully this article will do.

Well-Read Black Girl

Well-Read Black Girl started out as a personal blog and transformed into an empire of sorts. It is blog and brand dedicated to the phenomenal black women on our bookshelves – past, present, and the novel reads not yet born. What makes Well Read Black Girl stand out is their commitment to black women in literature. In giving a voice and platform to these readers, authors, and books, Well-Read Black Girl has created a niche audience and given them something never seen before in the book industry – women they can see themselves in consistently. Each month, members meet up to discuss plot twists and favorite characters over brunch. I'm so here for it.

Coloring Books

A post shared by Coloring Books (@coloringbooks) on

Ebony LaDelle is the CEO and founder of Coloring Books™, a newsletter and Instagram page featuring authors of color and books with diverse casts. It's safe to say that Coloring Books ™ is here to put a little more color into your inbox and hopefully your reading list. Ebony had this to say about creating the platform:

"I started Coloring Books out of frustration. I had been in publishing for a few years, and unlike my experience at Howard University, where I was able to market books from some of the greatest black storytellers of our time, past and present, I had a bit of a culture shock coming into a predominantly white industry that didn't know how to reach minority consumers. On the flip side, I heard countless times from people of color that had a hard time finding authentic and native storytelling for them or their little one. And that's how Coloring Books was born, to sort of be a hub where people can go to find books of color, and publishers could go to reach consumers."

Noir Reads

Noir Reads is a subscription box service featuring black authors that includes a reading guide and access to an online book forum. What I love so much about Noir Reads is that it allows black readers to connect with each other. While reading books by black authors is a treat, it is even better when you can talk about it with your fellow brothas and sistas. Noir Reads allows for conversation surrounding black literature to be normalized, which is the first step to black literature being highly regarded and canonized.

We Need Diverse Books

"Imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book."

We Need Diverse Books is committed not only to finding more people of color in the pages of books, but also to finding more people of color employed in the publishing industry - particularly in the realm of children's lit. They serve as a blog and resource for many offering book recs, awards, scholarships, and events saluting diverse authors. What makes them stand out from the rest is that they embody intersectional experiences, and vouch for every minority's representation. Until all people are equal, none of us are. Seeing that in the books we read is more important than ever, and We Need Diverse Books knows that.

Is there anything at the top of your reading list this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Sign up today and be the first to get notified on new updates, exclusive events, retreats and giveaways!

More Posts

Many of us have been conditioned to be "lack-minded" or "broke-minded" without even realizing it. This propensity toward being overpowered by the thought of not having, is a hard habit to break.

Keep reading... Show less

Anyone who says nice guys finish last probably hasn't met Russell Wilson, aka the highest paid football player in the NFL. If you've ever truly been in love, you know that it's never about the money. But boy, does it put an extra layer of icing on the cake knowing that you can afford to ball out with the one that you love.

Keep reading... Show less

Tracee Ellis Ross is known for her quick wit, affable personality, and impeccable style as the co-star of the television mega-hit Black-ish. But what I love most about her, is her willingness to be outspoken on topics most important to her.

Keep reading... Show less

Do you believe achieving financial independence is out of reach for you? A recent Center For Financial Innovations study found that only 28% of Americans are financially healthy due to factors such as the generational prosperity gap, increased costs of living, and market instability.

Keep reading... Show less

In 2013, BET introduced the world to Mary Jane Paul (played by Gabrielle Union), a successful TV news anchor from Atlanta who seems to have it all together… except for her love life, that is.

Keep reading... Show less

Personally, I blame Barbie. At least for starters.

I don't have any children of my own and thankfully, the parents of young daughters that I'm close to don't inundate their girls with dolls, so I can't comment too much on what Barbie looks like today (although Yara Shahidi's is pretty cute, I must admit). But back when I was a little girl, Barbie's dream outfit was a wedding dress, Ken was her constant companion and, if you looked really closely at her hand, there was a fake diamond in it. And since her hands were fused together, in order to take the ring off, you had to tug on it. Without the ring, there was a big hole in her hand that remained.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts