Finding Queer PoC Books

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Jessica Yang

Staff Writer

Jessica grew up in Silicon Valley, yet somehow ended up rather inept at technology. She dreams of reading luxurious novels all day in a greenhouse, and is guilty of writing puns for money. Majoring in Japanese and English literature made her both wary and weary of the Western canon. She can be bribed with milk tea. Follow her on Twitter @jamteayang.

Searching the library shelves for queer PoC books is no walk in the park. At times, it feels like the publishing industry regards marginalized identities as something straight out of a dystopian YA novel. You can belong to one faction, or another. But both? Ridiculous.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseGenerally, if a book is queer, it’s also white. But while progress continues to move at the speed of cold molasses, it’s just not true that queer PoC books don’t exist at all. They do, trust me. Reading and supporting them is so, so worth it.

Off the top of my head, I can think of a few: When the Moon Was Ours, Not Your Sidekick, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. (If you can’t tell, YA is totally my wheelhouse.) Here’s what I’ve found useful for finding queer PoC books:

  1. Google is your friend. Trust me, you are not alone in the world. Others have absolutely searched for queer PoC books and created lists. You can find book lists on book sites, blogs, and Goodreads shelves.
  2. Ask your librarian. If your librarian is cool and moving with the times, they likely can direct you to the books you seek. If they are not, and you feel comfortable asking anyway, it doesn’t hurt to put this kind of request on their radar.
  3. Go from general to specific. Look up lists featuring queer books or PoC books. Then scan the list of queer books for books that also star PoC, and vice versa. This takes a little more work, but you can often find books that slipped through the cracks of other, more specific lists.
  4. Look for resources in the book community. This can range from book sites such as Gay YA to book bloggers and authors who frequently recommend books on their radar that might fit the criteria. Again, you are not alone, and there are wonderful people in the book community whose reading wishlist likely overlaps with yours. For example, if you find a queer PoC book that you really like, check out the author’s Twitter.
  5. Don’t be afraid to check out indie published books. While mainstream publishing still has a long way to go, indie publishing is a different story. You’re much more likely to get lucky with indie publishers — some are even LGBTQIA focused. Pretty cool, right?

So that’s how I ferret out awesome queer PoC books to read. What do you do to find these books? What are your favorite books?