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Top 7 Books by Authors of Colour

Lifestyle

Sweltering heat and extravagantly-priced airplane tickets have driven everyone inside their houses for the summer. Although a glass of lemonade or flavored popsicles might help matters, a trip around the world from the comfort of one’s couch is unmatched. Here is a list of seven books written by people of colour who will act as your tour guide in this ambition!

Side note: If one wonders as to why we put special care into picking out books by people of color, it's because these books exist in their own right and deserve to be bore witness to! And not only do they not get enough representation, they are sometimes intentionally buried under the onslaught of upcoming books. These books deserve the hype that our beloved books get already(not to say you shouldn't read those books) and the reader should have the empathy to experience their feet in new shoes. People of color write books that will give you the same exhilaration as books written by white people do: they will make you cry, laugh, smile a bit, then a bit more, get really angry and finally, close the book with a resigned sigh. Plus, who doesn't love to fight systemic racism through education and subtlety?

1. The Village by the Sea by Anita Desai

  • Genre/s: Realistic YA
  • Age Rating: 12 and above
  • Country of Origin: India

The Village by the Sea is an exciting and moving story about life in both an Indian coastal village and in the unimaginably big city of Bombay. It is the story of thirteen-year-old Lila and her twelve-year-old brother, Hari. As the book begins, Lila is wading into the sea to bring scarlet hibiscus, sweet-smelling lilies, and butter-yellow allamanda flowers to the sacred rock the fishermen’s wives pray to, just as her mother did before her husband had to sell his boat to pay his debts and she, herself, fell ill. Now Lila and Hari must care for their ailing parents, as well as their two younger sisters.

Sensing adventure and a chance to save his family, and possibly his village, Hari impulsively joins a group of farmers and fishermen traveling to Bombay to protest the construction of a fertilizer factory that threatens to pollute the coastline and destroy their livelihood. Will the protest succeed? Can Hari survive in the city, and can Lila manage at home without him? Through their own resources, and the kindness of strangers, Hari and Lila must find a way to “Adapt! Adapt!”, as their ornithologist friend urges, just as the birds and animals must do to survive.

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2. What the Day Owes the Night by Yasmina Khadra

  • Genre/s: Literary Fiction
  • Age Rating: 16 and above
  • Country of Origin: Algeria

As a boy, Younes’ life was irrevocably changed when he left his broken home in the Algerian countryside for the colourful and affluent European district of Río Salado. Renamed Jonas, he now begins a new life and forges a unique friendship with a group of boys, an enduring bond that nothing, not even the Algerian Revolt, will shake. Yet with the return to Río Salado of Emilie— a beautiful, beguiling girl who captures the hearts of all who see her— an epic love story is set in motion that will challenge the bond between the four friends and force Jonas to make a series of difficult choices: Algerian or European, past or present, and whether to surrender to fate or take control of his destiny.

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3. The Sarabande of Sara's Band by Larysa Denysenko

  • Genre/s: Historical Fiction
  • Age Rating: 12 and above
  • Country of Origin: Ukraine

Sarabande is a novel presented mostly through the rapid-fire interactions of the characters in one-on-one situations or in small groups. Most of the novel revolves around the male protagonist, journalist Pavlo Dudnyk, who takes his schoolhood friend Sara Polonsky as his second wife. Sara, who blossomed from an inconspicuous overweight adolescent into a vivacious woman, used to mock him in school with the nickname “Underbutt” for his bony derriere that always needed padding on the classroom chairs.

When Pavlo marries Sara, he doesn’t realize at first that he’s also married into her extended family, Sara’s band of Polonskys, with their myriad quirks and peculiar behaviors. The novel presents a number of small slices of life and is filled with lively repartee. There are many comic moments, and the novel is saturated with a great amount of wordplay and humor. It gives the reader a good deal of insight into the present-day lives, loves, and tribulations of everyday Ukrainians.

Purchase a copy now!

4. The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat

  • Genre/s: Literary Fiction
  • Age Rating: 16 and above
  • Country of Origin: Iran

A haunting tale of loss and spiritual degradation, The Blind Owl tells the story of a young opium addict’s despair after losing a mysterious lover. Through a series of intricately woven events that revolve around the same set of mental images—an old man with a spine-chilling laugh, four cadaverous black horses with rasping coughs, a hidden urn of poisoned wine— the narrator is compelled to record his obsession with a beautiful woman, even as it drives him further into frenzy and madness.

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5. Krabat and the Sorcerer's Mill by Otfried Preussler

  • Genre/s: Children's Fiction
  • Age Rating: 7 and above
  • Country of Origin: Germany

New Year’s has passed. Twelfth Night is almost here. Krabat, a fourteen-year-old beggar boy dressed up as one of the Three Kings, is traveling from village to village singing carols. One night, he has a strange dream in which he is summoned by a faraway voice to go to a mysterious mill, and when he wakes, he is irresistibly drawn there. At the mill, he finds eleven other prisoners, all of whom are like him: the apprentices of its Master, a powerful sorcerer.

During the week, the boys work ceaselessly grinding grain, but on Friday nights, the Master initiates them into the mysteries of the ancient Art of Arts. One day, however, the sound of church bells and of a passing girl singing an Easter hymn penetrates the boys’ prison. Finally, a plan is set in motion that will win them their freedom and put an end to the Master’s dark designs.

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6. Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

  • Genre/s: Fantasy
  • Age Rating: 12 and above
  • Country of Origin: Malaysia

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, untrained, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the Crown Prince, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the emperor’s son.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. When treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, however, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream, thus striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

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7. The Fifth Season by N. K. Jeminsin

  • Genre/s: Dystopian Fantasy
  • Age Rating: 15 and above
  • Country of Origin: USA

This is the way the world ends... for the last time. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

Purchase a copy now!

We hope you found some amazing books written by POC's for the summer ahead. Whatever the weather might be like, these books(and more) will hold your hand through some amazing adventures!

Ashna Aggarwal
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Ashna is a sophomore in high school with a penchant for studying, reading and binge watching old F1 races. The hour before it starts raining is her favourite weather and she likes all things caffeine. Outside of the things she's good at, she likes to paint and dance.