Today is Yom Kippur, one of the holiest of days in the Jewish faith. G’mar chatima tovah to our relations.
I’ve been putting this blog post off for a while. Other topics came up, but this week with rain about to hit the Seattle region hard it seems like a good time to share a fall reading list. Grab a few of these books and settle in to read, enjoy, reflect, and learn.
There are many different ways to reflect and learn, books can often draw us into longer dialogues with ourselves than a TED Talk or an article. Many times books are often a gateway into understanding something differently and challenges our views of the worlds we know. I know from reading different books this summer I changed the way I think about different topics.
Almost all of these books are written by authors of color; I am unsure of the race of one author but including it since the topic of the book is POC. Reading diverse authors helps us to broaden our narratives and combat the single images of people we can create if we only consume mainstream media.
Please pickup these books from your local library or purchase them from Fakequity’s Bookshop.org affiliate link. The proceeds go towards purchasing books by POC authors for public schools with majority POC students. Or buy them from your favorite POC owned bookstore.
Young Adult and Graphic Novels
Ophie’s Ghost by Justina Ireland – I honestly picked up this book because I like the artist who did the cover art. The book didn’t disappoint! This historical mystery was a pleasure to read to my kid.
The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor (graphic novel) – This is a refreshing take on American tall tales. It breaks the myths and legends around Paul Buyan and rewrites them to include Asians and People of Color.
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park – Another historical fiction book is a refreshing take on frontier life. If you read the Little House on the Prairie series as a kid and want something less racist give this book and the Birchbark House series by Louise Erdrich series a try.
The One Thing You’d Save by Linda Sue Park – Like the title says what is the one thing you’d save if you could only take one possession from your house? This story is told through poetry, and is a good one to reflect on our values. It can also open up a conversation about the current Afghan refugee community forced to leave with little physical possessions, migrants and immigrants fleeing violence in Latin America, or even historical events like the internment of Japanese Americans who were only allowed on small suitcase. Be careful with this conversation – I made my kid cry him after reading George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy and telling him he wouldn’t have been able to take all of his beloved possessions.
Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story by David A. Robertson – A graphic fictional memoir about the Indigenous/Native boarding/residential schools in Canada (and US).
Baby Speaks Salish: A Language Manual Inspired by One Family’s Effort to Raise a Salish Speaker by Emma Noyes – I was so excited to see this on the new book shelf at the library. I totally borrowed it despite not having babies around AND I put it on my summer book bingo card. We need to celebrate and promote language diversity and the preservation of indigenous languages.
Hi’iaka Battles the Wind (Hawaiian Legends for Little Ones) by Gabrielle Ahuli’I – This board book was at a Seattle Public Library Back to School fair. I picked it up and brought it home to read to my kid who is way beyond board books. The legend was worth sharing — so good. I am on the hunt for the rest of the series by this publisher and author.
I love picture books. No list would be complete without a few.
The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee – In this story a young boy has to go with his parents to their night job cleaning an office. His parents spin a tale of who works there during the day. It is an important book for making visible workers who are often invisible in our daily lives.
The Shadow in the Moon by Christina Matula – Mid Autumn Festival is days away (Sept 19-21). This was a fun book to prepare for our mooncake eating.
Seeds of Change: Wangari’s Gift to the World by Jen Cullerton Johnson – With the environmental catastrophes of this summer brought on by climate change, it was nice to read and share a book about positive actions we can take to be more supportive of the environment.
My sister, the serial killer: a novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite – I rarely read fiction but this book was a page turner. Bonus points for it being an international (not US) writer.
The Break by Katherena Vermette — I saw this title on Twitter and picked it up from the library. The author is Metis, Indigenous Canadian. This book is told through different characters narrating their chapters and building on each other. It is a family love story. In many ways it reminded me of Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
Speak Okinawa by Elizabeth Miki Brina – There aren’t very many books focused on Okinawa or Okinawans, thus I was so excited to read this. The memoir gave me more insights into Okinawan migration stories to America and the nuances into Okinawan identities. BONUS Book: Okinawa no ohimesama no hajichi no densetsu = Okinawan princess : da legend of hajichi tattoos by Lee A. Tonouchi – this book is written in Pidgin English. For people from Hawaii or familiar with the dialect/language it feels like home when reading it. I read it to my kid and introduced her more to our Okinawan heritage.
The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor – Carrie, frequent Fakequity contributor, has suggested this book to me for years. I’m glad I finally made the time to read/listen to it. It changed the way I think about autonomy and ownership overall, not just as it relates to body politics. If you get the audio version it is read by the author which always feels like a treat.
I have a huge stack of cookbooks from the library. I may not cook much from them, but I enjoy the pictures and reading about the recipes.
Cook Real Hawai’i: A Cookbook by Sheldon Simeon – This book is mouthwatering ono (Hawaii word for delicious), if I could I would eat the book. The pictures and descriptions of food from Hawaii makes me homesick. Even if I don’t cook from it I eye-ate all of the food.
Xi’an Famous Foods: The Cuisine of Western China, from New York’s Favorite Noodle Shop by Jason Wang – I’m still reading my way through this book. I appreciated the author’s honesty about how hard restaurant life is.
In Bibi’s Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean [A Cookbook] by Hawa Hassan – Flipping through this book, I learned so much more about African cultures and their food. I liked the book so much I borrowed it twice from the library to keep reading it.
Please share your favorite reads! I’m always on the hunt for new books. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on our social media pages.
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I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.