7 Books on Diversity & Anti-Racism

If you’re like me, we all posted a black square on Instagram last week for #BlackOutTuesday, but what’s next? It’s my opinion that the rest of the learning must be done offline, and must start in our own homes. It might include having tough conversations with your family members or children, or choosing to watch a documentary on racism instead of your usual Netflix comedy series. Learning about systemic racism, and understanding my own white privilege, is a marathon, not a sprint. Even though I’m not posting online about it every single day, does not mean that I don’t support the movement and haven’t been doing my own learning in my personal time. And I do promise to continue to be a voice and incorporate diversity into my content however I can in the future. I may not always get the words exactly right, and I acknowledge that I won’t ever properly understand how racism feels, but what I can do is use this time is to listen, learn, and start my own long-term anti-racism strategy.

Instead of a typical book review where I go over all the thrillers I read this month, I thought I would share some nonfiction and fiction novels on diversity and anti-racism that are enlightening and educational. All of these have hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon and are on my personal “To-Read” list.

1. Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad

“As a white lady trying to hold up a mirror to my own privilege, these exercises were incredibly eye opening. I recommend this book to everyone who asks me how and where to start.” – Amazon reviewer

2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

“Maya Angelou’s first memoir, ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,’ captures the sweetest, purest, and the most honest inner voice of a Black child who grew up to be a heroine. Dr. Angelou does not censor anything; she wants us to know it all. It is so true, straightforward, and uncensored that many white parents have attempted to ban this book from schools… This powerful modern American classic has changed many readers’ (and listeners’) hearts and minds in a way that every great work of literature should. This book became a best-seller immediately after it was published.” – Amazon reviewer

3. So you Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo

“Ijeoma Oluo has some excellent advice for white folks in ‘So You Want to Talk About Race.’ This book may be most helpful to people who think ‘I’m not racist’ or who read about Black Lives Matter and #takeaknee and can’t understand why they’re necessary. Oluo addresses topics that you may hesitate to raise with Black friends, encourages you to revisit your understanding of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and explains concepts including emotional labor and white privilege. Consider this anti-racism 101.” – Amazon reviewer

4. Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, by Akala

“This should be required reading in every secondary school in the country, as well as on every teaching and police training course. It is superb.” – Amazon reviewer

5. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

“It normally wouldn’t be a book that I’d have picked for myself, just based on the summary. But I honestly think I’d go so far as to say this book had an impact on me and my life. I LOVED IT. I genuinely love all people and consider myself a really welcoming and open minded person, but this book opened my eyes to just how ignorant I still am… to the struggles Black people have faced in the past, to how white people and Christians in America have probably been taught just one version of history, not necessarily the right version, a reminder that all people are just people, and bigger than that, how both chance and our ancestors have such an effect on our lives today.” – Amazon reviewer

6. Beloved, by Toni Morrison

“Toni Morrison’s writing isn’t ‘great,’ it is mind blowing. This book reads almost like poetry. It’s a really, really, really heavy story – a woman escapes slavery with her four young children, only to reach freedom in Ohio right about the time the Fugitive Act was enacted. Her former owner comes for her and her children, and she makes a desperate decision to take her children’s lives, rather than have them live enslaved…. take your time and read this one a bunch of times. It can be really painful. But it is beautifully written and important to read.” – Amazon reviewer

7. Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson

“This is a beautifully written story of love, loss and a family. Centered around Melody, it’s the story of her mother, her parents, her father, and his mother. The families come from different places on the socioeconomic ladder and for different reasons… This is fast read with gorgeous language and people you will care about. It well deserves the praise it has received.” – Amazon reviewer

I have read “Beloved” and loved it – I ordered the rest of these from Amazon and will update you on my thoughts as I read them.

If there’s any particular content you want to see on here in the future about anti-racism and diversity, let me know in the comments. Again, I would love to keep the conversation here positive!

Leave a Comment


  1. Zoë

    Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is another great book to shed light on diversity and racism

    • Becca

      Yes, I love this book. It is really thought provoking, funny and heartbreaking all at once. The audio book version is wonderful as well. Trevor is great with voices and accents.

  2. The Help is one of my favorite books ever!! I’ll have to check out the other ones too 🙂

  3. Anon Reader

    I would suggest taking “The Help” off this list. It gets a lot of criticism for perpetuating the “Mammy” and “white savior” stereotypes. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead or Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi are both fictional reads by Black authors that would be great replacements! (And sorry to be negative- I know we’re all trying to educate ourselves and it can feel like a minefield).

    • Anon

      I 100% agree with this comment. I’m linking an op-Ed that details why The Help is so problematic.

    • Thank you for your comment and also for your kindness in the way you said it! I took The Help off the list and replaced it with Homegoing instead, which, after reading all the amazing reviews I just ordered a copy for myself. 🙂

      • Anon Reader

        That’s great! We read Homegoing in my book club – it has some pretty brutal scenes (especially the first part – so hang in there) but it’s a really powerful story and I was glad I stuck with it.

    • Katy

      I agree with this comment. I am a long-time reader, first-time commenter, and I am so glad that you posted this today, but I also think The Help perpetuates stereotypes, and that the other novels mentioned would be better choices.

      Truly, though, thank you for using your platform for this topic. So You Want to Talk About Race is an excellent place to start, for anyone new to thinking about anti-racism.

      It’s hard to know exactly the right thing to do sometimes, so thank you for putting yourself out there to help make things better.

  4. Leslie

    I think it’s so wonderful that you’re sharing these books and resources!! But, like another commenter mentioned, I wouldn’t include The Help. It was written by a white woman (and the movie directed by a white man) and there is a lot of conversation about how it’s not an accurate depiction and focuses on the “white savior” stereotypes. Here’s a link to an article I read about the movie over the weekend that could be helpful! https://time.com/5852902/the-help-history/ Personally, I had never read or watched it, but took it off my list after reading this and another article!

  5. Farrah

    Hi Caitlin!
    First of all, thank you so much for being such a positive role model. I always love reading your posts and feel encouraged 🙂 I am an African American 20-something and have been reading your blog for a couple of years now. Thank you so much for this post today:) It is very much appreciated!

  6. Jamie

    Hi Caitlin! Great list! Thank you so much for sharing. Would you consider a more diverse pick for July for your book club? There are so many to choose from! A great one is “How to be an Antiracist.” If you want a fiction book, check out “The Vanishing Half.” Maybe you could even have a POC join the live chat! Thoughts?

  7. I want to read Maya Angelou’s book!


  8. Kristen

    Thank you for this post! I plan on ordering a book or two right now!

  9. Ashley Trevino

    I don not believe in white privilege. I’m so sick and tired of people saying I’m a racist. Victim hood keeps people down. When are people going to wake up and see that this is yet another ploy to keep the Black people victims so they they don’t succeed. The people that started this movement are racists and as Lennin said everyone is falling in line being useful idiots. My black authored recommendation for you is by Thomas Sowell, “Discriminations and Disparities”. Your vote matters and the Democratic Party is keeping them down, wittingly or unwittingly the destruction of the family, which “civil rights movement policies” were a catalyst For overtly affected the black community. I understand that you think you are being loving but the most loving thing we can do is stop being a victim and start doing!

    • Cammie

      Whew! When you have to start a comment off with “I am tired of people calling me racist!” Lol! Girl check yourself!

  10. Mary

    Thank you for using your influence, Caitlyn. We can all learn more and do more. Step one is saying it out loud that Black Lives Matter–especially as women of the South. I know I have a lot of homework and work to do on the subject. I am reading, watching, listening and these books are a great suggestion. This is a pivotal moment in American history. I want to look back and know I was part of the solution and not part of the problem. Keep up the good work of doing good. I look forward to reading along with you and hearing your thoughts.

  11. Brooklyn

    Thanks Caitlin for posting! Another book to read is “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria” by Beverly Daniel Tatum.

  12. Thank you for sharing these resources with your large fan-base! It means a lot to see a blogger, that I look up to, sharing in support of the BLM movement and the fight against injustices that people who look like me face. Your efforts are appreciated and I pray that they continue! <3


  13. amr

    Thanks for sharing this list, it’s a good start!

    As a brand, I would love to hear more about how you plan to address BLM and equity for all POC in your daily work: partnerships, which clothing brands, etc. Many companies utilize prison labor here in US or cheap labor abroad. The fashion industry is notorious for cheap, exploitative labor. Have you considered or talked about this at all. You have a huge platform for changing the fashion industry.