10/10: Written Masterpieces by Women of Color

Whichever industry women find themselves in, they always manage to create masterpieces. From filmmakers, actresses, politicians, artists, TV personalities,and  entrepreneurs, to authors, women of color from different regions of the world thrive and express how truly ingenious they are.

While it is hard narrowing this list to specific women, there are lots of amazing books written by women of color to explore. You can however learn from this selection of books first from the plots, and then the use of words, scenarios, societal differences and much more life lessons shared within the context of these books to heal, transform and work toward a better future and life. 

  1. Noughts and Crosses By Malorie Blackman

A mind-blowing book series that explores an alternative world history where instead of the Europeans colonizing Africa and the rest of the world, Africans beat them to it — colonizing and enslaving the Europeans instead. The crosses (Black people) run the world, and the noughts (white people) are oppressed. The book is set in 21st century Britain and is written from two different perspectives -Sephy (cross) and Callum (nought) who are close friends but live in two very separate worlds. Noughts and Crosses is a series of 5 novels and 3 novellas in total and was recently adapted into a TV series on BBC

  1.  Acts Of Faith: Meditations For People of Color– By Iyanla Vanzant

A collection of daily mediative messages and affirmations dedicated to the healing of Black people. This is a small book that packs a punch and will stir an awakening for anyone who reads it. Vanzant explores the many challenges and pressures Black people face in today’s society and highlights the 4 key areas that create stress and imbalance for people of color. These areas are our relationship with ourselves, our relationship with the world, our relationship with each other, and our relationship with money. So if you are seeking a change in your life, in need of support or you feel a little lost on your life journey, then I suggest you read this book to find the answers you seek.

  1. Half of a Yellow Sun – By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A powerful novel that explores various themes such as class, race, war, colonialism, relationships, morals, values, and much more. Set in Nigeria before and during the civil war in the 1960s, the story is centered on the lives of 3 main characters. Throughout the novel, the characters are tested by their own personal struggles as well as the violence and suffering occurring due to the civil war. This book is full of ups, downs, and twists, you will unintentionally become emotionally invested in the lives of these characters.

  1. Sacred Woman – A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit – By Queen Afua

A guidebook created to teach women how to love, respect, care for, and heal their bodies, specifically their wombs. Queen Afua highlights the power that lies within women’s bodies, as well as the many challenges/health issues that Black women face due to diet, trauma, mental health, and the lack of support/care from healthcare professionals.  Through the use of affirmations, meditations, diet regimens, and daily routines; Queen Afua provides a clear-cut plan that women can implement into their lives to help transform their minds, body, and spirit to restore balance and good health.

  1. Slay in your lane: The Black Girl Bible By Yomi Adegoke, Elizabeth Uviebinene

A book created by two best friends Yomi and Elizabeth who explore the many challenges of being a Black woman in the UK. Through the use of personal stories, and interviews with a number of successful Black women in the UK, this book provides an insight into how education, work, dating, money, health, and representation are all impacted simply because of one’s skin color. Slay in Your Lane recognizes and celebrates the strides Black women have already made and also provides advice and encouragement for the next generation of Black women seeking success.

  1. Pachinko By Min Jin Lee

Pachinko is a monolithic novel that depicts four generations of a Korean family in Japan from 1910-1989. A powerful work of art that follows the life story of a teenager named Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman who falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. The novel gives an in-depth analysis of her struggles with racism when she moves to Japan that sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generation.

  1. The Girl with the Louding Voice – By Abi Dare

A journey of a determined and spirited 14-year-old Nigerian village girl, who is on a mission to find her “Louding Voice” by any means necessary. Adunni is the main character of the story and is determined to escape her life of poverty, hardship, and servitude by fighting for her right to a proper education. Adunni’s story highlights the harsh reality many young women face in not only Nigeria but countries around the world that do not allow girls/women to pursue an education, chase their dreams, and decide on the type of life they wish to live.

  1. Like Water for Chocolate – By Laura Esquivel

This is a fictional novel full of rich and beautiful metaphors that depict how our longings and desires shape our entire life’s journey. It relates the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. In desperation, Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close to her, so that Tita and Pedro are forced to circle each other in unconsummated passion. Only a freakish chain of tragedies, bad luck, and fate finally reunites them against all the odds.

  1. Clap when you Land – By Elizabeth Acevedo

If you are a fan of poetry, and the unconventional then this novel is for you. ‘Clap when you land’ is a dual narrative in-verse novel that tells the story of two sisters unaware of each other until the tragic death of their father, which forces them into a new reality.

Camino Rios is born and raised in the Dominican Republic with her aunt and is desperate to experience the American lifestyle/dream. Her sister Yahaira Rios on the other hand was born and raised in New York with her mother and father (the deceased). Yahaira is in search of her true identity and wants to experience first-hand, her culture and roots in the Dominican Republic.

Through the narrative of the two sisters, Elizabeth Acevedo explores themes of death, secrecy, duality, identity, immigration, the unknown, and sisterhood.

The Palace of Illusions – By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni 

A retelling of an epic Indian ancient tale, The palace of illusions is told from a woman’s point of view- it narrates the life of princess Panchali, the wife of the legendary Pandavas brothers in the Mahabharat. The feminist tinge throughout the book throws light on the challenges women have faced for centuries by virtue of their birth. The book would definitely be an entertaining read with its colorful scenes and also play a part in sensitizing men to the pain women used to face in medieval times and continue to face today

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