Most book lovers would agree that one of the best parts of reading is the ability to travel to new places and experience new lives from the comfort of their favorite armchair. An art form designed to inspire empathy, books can place us in the minds of characters whose experiences are vastly different from our own and make us fall in love with their hearts anyway. It is for this reason that the inclusion of multicultural diversity in literature is so important and why Celebrate Diversity Month is observed throughout April.
To honor this holiday and celebrate all the different voices telling stories through the written word, here are some of the Bookstr staff’s favorite books written by international or multicultural authors.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
“I chose this book and this author because of the unique perspective they brought to this sci-fi retelling of China’s only female emperor. Zhao crafts a very interesting story with an amazing polyamorous love triangle! The representation in the book was great. The world-building was excellent, especially seeing a fantasy book not rooted in the typical European origins. Highly recommend!”
Brock Mackinnis, Editorial
The Guild Hunter Series by Nalini Singh
“Nalini is from New Zealand, is of Indo-Fijian descent, and writes fantasy romance with a highly diverse cast. Her Guild Hunter series is currently 15 books, which will be expanded by at least two more. The series follows a vampire hunter, an archangel, and their closest friends as they find love, come to terms with past traumas, and defeat their enemies. Singh takes special care in her character descriptions, not only in appearance but mannerisms, bringing authenticity to the multitude of nationality represented.”
Kristi Eskew, Editorial; Instagram @kristi_eskew87
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
“The book is centered around a bookshop on a riverboat in Paris. The main character Jean Perdu sees his ‘literary apothecary’ as a form of therapy/medicine for his customers. He provides the books to suit whatever ‘ailments’ the customer is experiencing. He has a past that he refuses to acknowledge until he’s forced to do so. In doing so, he embarks on a journey with some unlikely companions across Paris to find the mysterious writer of a novel that touched him deeply. I couldn’t put the book down. I wonder what books Jean Perdu would recommend for me at different points in my life. I can’t wait to read George’s other book, The Little Village of Book Lovers, which is also connected to this book. Nina George is a German author and freelance journalist. She also has three pen names.”
Christina Hardesty, Graphics; Instagram and Facebook @christinahardesty55
Princess Princess Ever After by Kay O’Neill
“For those like me who sometimes lack the attention to sit still and read text-based novels, graphic novels are where it’s at! Princess Princess Ever After, written and illustrated by New Zealand author Kay O’Neill, tells the story of two princesses, Amira & Sadie, who journey on an adventure of personal discovery & friendship to defeat a jealous sorceress. They even find romance along the way! The story is super heartwarming & humorous, the illustrations are pleasing, and I love the queer & multicultural representation.”
Jhade Gales, Graphics; Instagram @jhadegales.designs
Mis(h)adra by Iasmin Omar Ata
“This graphic novel follows the daily life of an Arab-American epileptic named Isaac and is based on the author’s own experiences. Throughout the novel, Isaac has to deal with familial expectations and stigmatizing doctors while also trying to make his way through college. The author (who also goes by Delta and uses they/them pronouns!) is a Middle Eastern & Muslim comic artist, author, game developer, 2D animator, and designer of backgrounds, characters, and sound. The actual novel has themes of self-acceptance and mental health recovery with a big focus on brighter futures! It’s very heartwarming and funny, and the art style and colors are incredibly unique. Heavily recommended for everyone!”
Jester Z., Editorial
As the reading community has seen in recent years, increased diversity in literature allows readers to feel seen and validated, inspires empathy, and can be the launching point for activism and positive change. Now is the time to pick up a book written by someone with different experiences from oneself, learn and enjoy, and do one’s part to make the world a better place for all.
For more diverse book recommendations, click here!