By Madison Gepper, 2020
Black Lives Matter is a movement that can be supported by numerous ways, and readers can do their part to help! GenZ Publishing has gathered 7 different ways for readers to support Black and POC voices in the publishing industry, including members of our own GenZ Family.
It’s more important now than ever to listen to Black voices, and a great way to do that is to read their stories. All of their stories are important— from commentary on anti-racism and white privilege to children’s books with diverse characters. Each of those books can offer a unique point of view that advocates for marginalized voices. Looking for a great place to start? Check out some of these inspiring GenZ titles by Black and POC authors.
Taste for Change: The Girl, The Snake, and The One Who Returned by Kenechukwu Obi (World Fiction)
It’s so important for Black and POC readers to not only feel represented but to also feel celebrated in literature. Diverse characters and illustrations allow readers to identify more closely with what they are reading. This is especially true for cover art. (Check out the beautiful, inclusive cover art on Hazell C. McKenzie’s Suitcase of Dreams and Veronica Butler’s Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze.) Showcasing images of strong, Black characters on covers and in illustrations also helps spread positive messages about diversity, mirroring the faces that we see in the world around us. By celebrating diverse characters, we teach readers to celebrate diverse people.
Read a great book by a Black author? Share your excitement for the story! You can do this by writing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or your own book blog. It’s a great way to encourage people to read the book and amplify the stories that Black authors are trying to tell.
Let’s face it. Buying book after book can get expensive. So if you want to read a book about POC characters, by POC authors, a library is a great way to make the story available to everyone in your community, regardless of economic barriers. If your library doesn’t have the book available, put in a request to buy a copy. Having library books by and about POCs is a great way to reach a broad group of readers and encourage positive change in the community.
Next time you’re looking to buy a new book, see if your local Black-owned bookstore has a copy! A great list of Black-owned bookstores can be found here: https://aalbc.com/bookstores/list.php
If you read a book that encourages representation or teaches you about anti-racism, share your new knowledge! Recommend the book to friends, give it to a new reader at a book swap, or donate it to a local book drop-box. Disperse the story to more people in any way that you can. You never know how it might inform someone or help someone identify with literature in a way they haven’t before. The more people that read these books, the bigger the positive impact on the community and help to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Conversation is one of the most important parts of the Black Lives Matter movement, and books clubs are a great way to do that. Whether it’s reading a book by a Black author or discussing a book about anti-racism and white privilege, some valuable conversation is bound to take place. By focusing on stories about Black voices, these book clubs encourage people from all backgrounds to self-reflect, to learn, to grow, and to advocate for Black voices.