We celebrate our own freedom to read during Banned Books Week, but it is also right to champion those who bravely compose those very stories. Non-white authors receive more than half of book challenges each year — even though they are allowed much less of the publishing market! The reasons vary, and we can become distracted by the complaints, but what shouldn’t be lost are the vibrant creations of writers who deepen our understanding of the world.
by Toni Morrison
Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl, prays for her eyes to turn blue, so that she will be beautiful, people will notice her, and her world will be different.
by Sherman Alexie
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
by Alice Walker
Two African American sisters, one a missionary in Africa and the other a child-wife living in the South, support each other through their correspondence, beginning in the 1920s.
by Khaled Hosseini
Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant’s son in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.
by Maya Angelou
A black woman recalls the anguish of her childhood in Arkansas and her adolescence in northern slums in the 1930s and 1940s.
by Rudolfo Anaya
A coming-of-age story set in post-World War II New Mexico, in which an old woman with healing powers comes to live with a boy’s family the summer before he turns seven.