Own Voices Book Recs

This page is dedicated to discovering and celebrating Own Voices narratives.  For the purpose of this blog, “Own Voices” refers to any narrative about a marginalised group written by a member of that group.  Books featured here aim to raise up accurate representations of marginalised groups and debunk common misperceptions.  

break3Who, What, Why?

Since Own Voices authors have an authentic personal connection to the topic they’re writing about, Own Voices narratives give accurate insight into marginalised groups’ experiences.  Own Voices books help readers expand awareness of diverse stories beyond their private bubble.  For some, these stories validate shared experiences that may have been previously silenced or misrepresented.

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What About Other Representations?

Mainstream media is notorious for misrepresenting marginalised groups.  That’s not to say that non-Own Voices stories are all bad – try to read mindfully and question whether the representation is educated and sensitive, rather than reinforcing inaccurate stereotypes.

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Own Voices Fiction (That I’ve Read)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera  ★★★★★ (young adult, gay and Latino protagonist, depression and suicide)

Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah ★★★★☆ (young adult, Australian Muslim protagonist)

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas ★★★★★ (gay Greek-Australian protagonist, homosexuality in sport industry)

George by Alex Gino ★★★★☆ (junior fiction, trans protagonist, bullying)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie ★★★★★ (young adult, Native American protagonist)

American Born Chinese by Gene Luan Yang ★★★☆☆ (junior graphic novel, Chinese-American protagonist, bullying)

Paperboy by Vince Vawter ★★★★☆ (junior fiction, speech impediment)

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo ★★★★☆ (young adult, trans protagonist)

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera ★★★★★ (young adult, gay protagonist, grief and loss)

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Own Voices Fiction (On my TBR)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (young adult, PoC protagonist, racial attacks)

Flying Lessons and Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh (junior short fiction anthology, in partnership with We Need Diverse Books)

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Own Voices Nonfiction (That I’ve Read)

Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh ★★★★★ (American Muslim writer, feminist activist)

Walking Towards Ourselves: Indian Women Tell Their Stories edited by Catriona Mitchell ★★★★★ (short memoir anthology, Indian culture, domestic violence, arranged marriage)

Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation edited by Kate Bernstein & S. Bear Bergman ★★★★★ (essays, comic art, conversations from trans-spectrum creators)

Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia edited by Amra Pajalic & Demet Divaroren ★★★☆☆ (short memoir anthology, Australian Muslim authors)

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen ★★★☆☆ (young adult, mental illness)

Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East by Benjamin Law ★★★★★ (exploration of LGBTQIA life in different Asian cultures)

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out edited and photographed by Susan Kuklin ★★★★★ (memoir anthology from trans-spectrum teens)

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi ★★★★☆ (young adult graphic memoir, Iranian author, Islamic Revolution)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby ★★★★☆ (Locked-in Syndrome, chronic illness)

Fun Home: A Family Traginomic by Alison Bechdel ★★★★☆ (adult graphic memoir, lesbian author)

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Own Voices Nonfiction (On my TBR)

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla (short memoir anthology by minority ethnic writers, immigration, discrimination)

The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke (memoir, Australian PoC author, racial descrinimation)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (PoC author, childhood memoir written in verse)

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (adult graphic memoir, Vietnamese author, immigration)

Desert Flower by Waris Dirie (Somalian author, female genital mutilation)

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices edited by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Leatherdale (anthology from Native American creators)

Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir by Amy Kurzweil (adult graphic memoir, Jewish author, WWII)

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