Feature image credit: @leilooshi
A new season brings new book releases, and we are dying to get our hands on the amazing range of books coming out this Fall 2020. As we create our reading lists for the season, it is important to continue to celebrate diversity and support the spectacular POC authors that are coming out with new works. Here are 7 of the most anticipated Fall book releases that give representation to people of color.
Spring by Leila Rafei (8/25)
Three different people, all interconnected, bear their stories during the Arab Spring revolts. Sami is a high school student in Cairo who is distancing himself from his conservative mother, Suad, due to his relationship with an American woman. Meanwhile, Suad, far from Sami in the Nile Delta, distracts herself as her daughter prepares to join the protests. Jamila, the refugee family maid, is struggling to keep up alongside them, as she deals with her own personal issues of pregnancy and a missing husband. As the revolts in Egypt become more chaotic, Sami, Suad and Jamila all must face difficult life choices and learn to cope individually during this turbulent time of political unrest.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (9/1)
Gifty puts all her energy into her scientific research as a PhD student at Stanford University; she specializes in neuroscience and uses mice to study reward-seeking behaviors, depression and addiction. She is also searching for an answer to why the people she loves are suffering. Gifty’s athletically gifted brother, Nana, died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury spurred an opioid addiction. Her mother spends all her time in bed, ill with depression. But science does not have all the answers for Gifty. Soon, she finds herself exploring her spirituality and returning to her evangelical roots she once knew as a child. Science, religion, love, loss, and the pain that comes from addiction and depression create emotionally-charged conversations in this moving masterpiece about a family of Ghanian immigrants.
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (8/4)
After a mother in a Nigerian town finds her son deceased and wrapped in fabric at her doorstep, she and the rest of the family become determined to understand the boy they once knew and cope with the loss. We are sent into the life of Vivek Oji who was raised by a distant father and overbearing mother and often finds himself dissociating from reality. Vivek finds his solace in Osita, his high-spirited cousin with worldly desires. As the two become closer, Osita has a hard time helping Vivek with his personal crisis, and an act of violence unravels in this novel that deals with loss, family and friendships.
Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie (9/1)
Noriko “Nori” Kamiza was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1948 and put under the care of her ashamed grandparents after being abandoned by her mother who had her with her GI African-American lover. Being mixed race in Japan, Nori is left to live in the attic and forced to endure chemical baths meant to lighten her skin. While she has come to accept her life, her half brother Akira arrives at the estate, determined to claim his inheritance. Upon meeting each other, the two form a bond that defies the tyranny of their grandparents, and Nori gets a taste of her first chance to be free.
On Fragile Waves by E Lily Yu (12/8)
Siblings Firuzeh and Nour were born into a war-depleted Afghanistan during turbulent times. As their parents decide to whisk the family to somewhere else, they dream about Australia, crafting fairytales of its opportunities and vibrancy. The family must navigate their way from Pakistan, to Indonesia, to Naaru, staying in shelters along the way and relying on strangers for help. Finally, they reach Australia, but the adjustment to the people and government is not so easy, and it may not be all that Firuzeh dreamt of.
Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro (9/15)
In this Young Adult novel Xochitl leaves her village and sets off on a journey through the desert alone, with only one desire in mind: to find a companion. The stars align when Xo meets Emilia, the daughter of her village’s tyrannical conqueror. The two find solace in one another as they travel great lengths across a desert that will teach them strength and overcoming hardships. But the desert holds night terrors that the two are not prepared for and they must survive and overcome the terrifying trek together.
Homeland Elegies by Ayad Ahktar (9/15)
Ayad Ahktar tells the story of an immigrant father from Afghanistan and his son, living in a country that ostracizes people from the Middle East. Ahktar examines the xenophobic tendencies in America and the difficulties it holds for immigrants, inserting his own commentary and personal anecdotes. Homeland Elegies opens up a deeper discussion on what it’s like to be an immigrant in America and the fears it instills in the families who must endure the racism.