Welcome to our Reading List! Find new recommended reads here every month, find spotlights and recommendations for our book world friends, and shop with us!

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May 2022 Reading Recommendations 
Bookshop List
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Celebrate and honor AAPI voices with our list of short story collections, children’s fiction, and adult memoirs.

*use the links to buy via The Word's Bookshop - proceeds from each sale will be donated to support our cultural equity programs!

See and purchase all the books HERE!


1.      At Least You Have Your Health by Madi Sinha

Genre: Fiction

Blurb: Behind the chic veneer of a wellness clinic lies a dangerous secret, in this compelling women's fiction novel from the author of The White Coat Diaries. – Bookshop.org

 2.    The Peanutbutter Sisters and Other American Stories by Rumi Hara

Genre: Short story collection

Blurb: An immigrant weaves a new, surreal Americana, complete with bubblegum fights and bomb queens. – Bookshop.org

 3.    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpra Lahiri

Genre: Short story collection

Blurb: This stunning debut collection flawlessly charts the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations. – Bookshop.org

 4.    Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Genre: YA Fiction

Blurb: As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity. – Bookshop.org

 5.    Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao

Genre: Graphic Memoir

Blurb: Insightful, original, and hilarious, toggling seamlessly between past and present, China and America, Gao's debut is a tour de force of graphic storytelling. –Bookshop.org

 6.    I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Blurb: In this high concept YA novel debut that's We All Looked Up meets The Sun Is Also a Star, three teens must face down the mistakes of their past after they learn that life on Earth might end in less than a week. – Bookshop.org

 7.    Forced Out: A Nikkei Woman’s Search for a Home in America by Judy Y. Kawamoto

Genre: Nonfiction

Blurb: Forced Out: A Nikkei Woman's Search for a Home in America offers insight into "voluntary evacuation," a little-known Japanese American experience during World War II, and the lasting effects of cultural trauma. – Bookshop.org


8.     Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Genre: YA Fiction

Blurb: Adib Khorram's brilliant debut is for anyone who's ever felt not good enough--then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay. – Bookshop.org

 9.    The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang

Genre: Essays

Blurb: An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. – Bookshop.org

 10.  Amina’s Song by Hena Khan

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Blurb: In the companion novel to the beloved and award-winning Amina's Voice, Amina once again uses her voice to bridge the places, people, and communities she loves--this time across continents. – Bookshop.org  

11.  ‘Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis

Genre: Picture Book

Blurb: Acclaimed illustrator and animator Kenard Pak's light-filled, dramatic illustrations pair exquisitely with Ilima Loomis' text to celebrate Hawaiian land and culture. – Bookshop.org

 12.  Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Genre: YA Mystery

Blurb: They Wish They Were Us meets The Queen's Gambit in the world of competitive Scrabble when a teen girl is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend a year after the fact when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages. – Bookshop.org




The Healing Reads List is a reading list that goes beyond anti-racism books. This list is all about healing and uplifting within and across communities. The books shared on this list have been sources of healing for us throughout this year. This is a rolling list so stay tuned for new healing reads being added!

Liza Michelle Bevams is a writer and multimedia artist exploring life in the Rocky Mountains. She is currently working on her first novel.


Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi 


“An extraordinarily powerful and very different kind of physical and psychological migration story."

—Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker

Grab a copy here


 The Sentences That Create Us: Crafting a Writer’s Life in Prison

Edited by Caits Meissner, Pen America


“This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read.” —Liza

Grab a copy here »


Teahouse of the Almighty by Patricia Smith


“This book took my breath away.” —Liza

Grab a copy here »


Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams.

"I could not put this book down!"


Grab a copy here »


Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses


"A real eye opener . . . It unpacks the seemingly 'universal' lessons we learn about what makes fiction good to reveal how whiteness and maleness have shaped those values." -Kumari Devarajan, Code Switch, NPR

Grab a copy here »


The Book of Delights by Ross Gay

Nonfiction Essays

"The delights he extols here (music, laughter, generosity, poetry, lots of nature) are bulwarks against casual cruelties. As such they feel purposeful and imperative as well as contagious in their joy." -The New York Times Book Review

Grab a copy here »

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Wounds of Passions: A Writing Life by bell hooks


“This book speaks to the heart.” -Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here »


Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler


“A prophetic and transformative novel.”

-Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here »


The Magic My Body Becomes: Poems by Jess Rizkallah


"The Magic My Body Becomes is an extraordinary collection that captures the beauty and complexities of identity." —Liza

Grab a copy here »


George M. Johnson- All Boys Aren't Blue

YA Nonfiction

"An absolute necessity . . . the personal stories and the healing and reconciliation of self in this title are all undeniably honest and relatable--a reminder of our shared imperfection and humanity." -Booklist

Grab a copy here »


Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

Autobiographical Novel

“This book is a gift of radical love that keeps unfolding and unfolding.” -Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here »


Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought- Briona Simone Jones (Editor)


 "This collection of multi-generational writing is a demonstration of how radical and transformative love, self-love, can be." —Liza

Grab a copy here »


Bernardine Evaristo- Girl, Woman, Other


 "Girl, Woman, Other, the intermingling stories of generations of black British women told in a gloriously rich and readable free verse, will surely be seen as a landmark in British fiction."

-The Guardian

Grab a copy here »


The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor


"This book took my breath away. It's an unexpected and urgent embrace of truth." --Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, Dare to Lead

Grab a copy here »


Natalie Diaz- Postcolonial Love Poem


"Diaz's collection is no doubt one of the most important poetry releases in years, one to applaud for its considerable demonstration of skill, its resistance to dominant perspectives and its light wrought of desire."- The New York Times Book Review

Grab a copy here »


Leslie Marmon Silko- Storyteller

Fiction and Poetry

"A source of healing, inspiration, and community." -Liza

Grab a copy here »


Kiese Laymon- Heavy: An American Memoir


"Reading this book gave me a new perspective on writing, love, forgiveness, and facing things that are difficult and uncomfortable to acknowledge. Kiese Laymon is a brilliant wordsmith." -Liza

Grab a copy here »


Toi Derricotte- The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey


"This is an insightful, courageous, and vibrant book. Derricotte's words linger and touch your soul." -Liza

Grab a copy here »


Key Ballah- Preparing My Daughter For Rain


"There is so much forgiveness and freedom in this book."- Liza

Grab a copy here »


Toni Morrison- The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations


"Morrison is more than the standard bearer of American literature. She is our greatest singer. And this book is perhaps her most important song" -The New York Times

Grab a copy here »


Ibi Zoboi- My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich

Middle Grade

"Highlights the importance of imagination and learning to celebrate what it means to be different in a world that demands conformity."- Horn Book

Grab a copy here »


Upile Chisala- Nectar


These poems celebrate, encourage, and offer the reader a new perspective on hope and self-love. 

Grab a copy here »


Black Imagination - Curated by Natasha Marin


"(D)on't think for one minute that Black Imagination is easy. As you will read here, it is hard-earned and sometimes dangerous, but it's necessary, and radical, to claim and work towards. Listening to my people in this book gave me so much life, and I'm pretty sure, dear reader, you're in for the same."- from the Foreword by Steven Dunn

Grab a copy here »


Yrsa Daley-Ward- bone


Yrsa Daley-Ward's collection bone captures desire, vulnerability, and joy beautifully. This book is a place to find solace..

Grab a copy here »