Colour Outside AND In – Diverse books to read instead of the new Barnes & Nobles Classics

Hello! Most of you probably know about Barnes and Noble’s new classics line with people of colour on the front, but in case you didn’t: Basically, Barnes and Nobles thought it would be a great idea to design new covers with people of colour on them for classics – Alice in Wonderland, Romeo and Juliet, the Secret Garden and way more – and there are so many problems with this. First, this so-called “diversity” isn’t actually promoting diversity or supporting people of colour, quite the opposite. Frankly, putting people of colour on the front of books purely about white people, by white people, posing as the main characters, is blackface and brownface. The fact is many of these books actually have racist contents, and they certainly aren’t by people of colour. This isn’t a show of diversity, it’s a money grab. To make matters worse, some of the covers seem to be “Choose your own race”, with alternative covers portraying different races – and nothing is changed except skin colour and hair, not the shape of their faces or anything. If you want to know more about why this is absolute trash, check out book Twitter 🙂

ANYWAYS, what should Barnes and Noble really be doing? PROMOTING AUTHORS OF COLOUR FOR F*CKS SAKE!! But they aren’t, and that is awful. So I wanted to make a blog post showcasing awesome books with people of colour on the front, AND THE INSIDE! By people of colour of course 🙂 So let’s get STRAIGHT INTO IT. For some, you can check out my reviews for more deets 🙂

GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE by Natasha Ngan

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This awesome book is set in a rich Asian-inspired fantasy world, and discusses feminism, racism and oppression along with an exciting fantasy storyline with a mesmerizing f/f romance and a badass main character. Read my review of book two. 

CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi

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In this fierce Nigerian-inspired fantasy, Zélie is determined to bring back magic to her country so she and the rest of the mages who have lost their magic can rise from the ashes and reclaim their power.

THE GRIEF KEEPER by Alexandra Villasante

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Marisol has always dreamed of being American, but she never pictured fleeing El Salvador for fear of death because of her love for another girl and entering the US as “an illegal”. When her family is discovered, Marisol will do anything to keep them in America.

SLAY by Brittney Morris

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Kiera is secretly the developer of Slay, a kickass video game that acts as a safe space for black people everywhere. This fierce story of black power absolutely blew me away. Review here 🙂

LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI by Abigail Hing Wen

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Ever Wong has been sent to Taiwan for the summer to study Mandarin, but she is determined to rebel, and goes in search excitement, adventure and maybe even love.

DON’T READ THE COMMENTS by Eric Smith

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Aaron and Divya bond online through their favourite game, Reclaim the Sun, but Divya is a popular streamer and the trolls are after her, simply for being brown and a girl in a space like that. A heartwarming and powerful story of feminism, racism and friendship. Review here 🙂 Interview with Eric Smith here 🙂

THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS by Charlotte Nicole Davis

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Five fierce girls escape the pleasure house they were indentured to to claim their freedom, in this fiercely feminist fantasy story with western vibes. Review here 🙂

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh

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This stunning and lyrical story is a fierce retelling of the Ten Thousand and One Nights, woven with Arabian folklore and romance.

FOREST OF SOULS by Lori M. Lee

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When Sirscha’s best friend dies, she somehow revives her. Discovered to have rare powers, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King and his ancient, magical forest.

8 thoughts on “Colour Outside AND In – Diverse books to read instead of the new Barnes & Nobles Classics

  1. What a great list, Sasha!! Some of those are already on my TBR and I can’t wait to get to them 🙂
    I heard about the B&N ‘diversity’ mess and that’s so gross! Honestly, even if they wanted to focus on classics — it’s not like there aren’t any by PoC?? Just promote those for a change?? And it’s not like the books they boosted need any promotion at all. Just. So gross.

    Like

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