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Inclusive and diverse books: lists

Picture of an open book, with a text in front of it, saying 'my reading lists'.

You want to create and get to know books that are more inclusive. But what do ‘diverse’ and ‘inclusive’ actually mean? At Every Story Matters we put it like this:

In an inclusive literature, characters, plot, illustrations and other elements with different socio-economic or cultural origins, sexual orientations or gender expressions, physical or mental disabilities exist side by side. This is the kind of literature that invites, reflects and values all readers, authors, illustrators and others, irrespective of how they differ from each other, whatever those differences may be.

Pigeonholing, you say? We’re opposed to that, naturally. Authors and books that are diverse are easily placed in a separate category and reduced to their inclusive character, whereas they are far more than that and deserve to be appreciated for their content and the reading pleasure they bring.

There is a lot still to be done, we all agree about that. Authors with diverse backgrounds or books featuring diverse characters are still not given equal opportunities. Such books are published less often, but that’s not because they get pushed into the background and are nowhere to be found. These reading lists celebrate diversity in literature in all its facets. Let the browsing begin. Above all, explore further for yourself. These lists are just the beginning.

This list combines bestsellers like I Am Malala (Malala Yousafzai)and Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) with titles you’re unlikely to have heard of, whether books about people with disabilities or stories set in non-Western cultures. In the books in this list you’ll experience diversity in all its many facets through the eyes of the protagonists.

More extensive lists with the most diverse subjects?

Fan of science fiction, fantasy and anything featuring supernatural powers? Then this is for you. The only precondition for inclusion on this list is that the central character is non-Caucasian. You’ll find book tips for all ages here

These books also have central characters who are people of colour:

Try reading a few books by authors with diverse backgrounds. There’s a fair chance you’ll get to experience some new points of view. This list features books that were published in 2021 and were written by women of colour.

Want to get to know more authors of colour?

Authors of colour select their favourite books:

It doesn’t need to be Pride Month for you to read stories from or about the LGBTQ+ community, but this list is packed with good tips. From poetry to romance and non-fiction: something for everyone.

Looking for children’s books about being queer?

How many books have you read in which the central character has a disability? Here you’ll find more than enough inspiration.

Looking for books for young readers?

Do you have your own book tips? Let us know in the comments, so that everyone can enjoy your recommended books.
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