top of page
Title.png

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!

A portion of the proceeds from all of your purchases at our store on Bookshop.org are donated back to us, helping us keep our fight for cultural equity going!

You can now also purchase gift cards through our Bookshop!

August 2023 Reading Recommendations 
Bookshop List

Summer reading!

Monthly reading lists curated by our phenomenal Communications Fellow, Carissa Villagomez!

*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!

9780593471340.jpg
9780063207264.jpg
71p09LRPapL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_.jpg
download (1).jpg
download (2).jpg
9781665925648.jpg
9780268205676.jpg
download (3).jpg
download (4).jpg

Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: Literary fiction

Blurb: From the bestselling, National Book Award-winning author Elizabeth Acevedo comes her first novel for adults, the story of one Dominican-American family told through the voices of its women as they await a gathering that will forever change their lives.

Bookshop.org

Plantains and Our Becoming by Melania Luisa Marte

Genre: Poetry

Blurb: A rousing, beautifully observed, and tender-hearted debut poetry collection about identity, culture, home, and belonging--for fans of Jasmine Mans and Fatimah Asghar.  ​Bookshop.org

 

The Kingdom of Surfaces by Sally Wen Mao

Genre: Poetry

Blurb: A virtuosic new poetry collection from Sally Wen Mao, "a consistently inspiring and exciting voice" (Morgan Parker).

Bookshop.org

 

I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times by Taylor Byas

Genre: Poetry

Blurb: Inspired by The Wiz, this debut, full-length poetry collection celebrates South Side Chicago and a Black woman's quest for self-discovery--one that pulls her away from the safety of home and into her power. ​Bookshop.org

 

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

Genre: Literary fiction

Blurb: From James McBride, author of the bestselling Oprah's Book Club pick Deacon King Kong and the National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird, a novel about small-town secrets and the people who keep them. ​Bookshop.org

The Rivers Are Inside Our Homes by Victoria María Castells

Genre: Poetry

Blurb: The Rivers Are Inside Our Homes handles themes of loss and exile, aging generations, fable and fairy tale, marriage and hurt, with the island of Cuba at its heart.  ​Bookshop.org

 

Writing in Color: Fourteen Writers on the Lessons We've Learned by Various YA Authors

Genre: Nonfiction anthology

Blurb: Rethink the way you approach writing in this revolutionary and informative new anthology from fourteen diverse authors that demystifies craft and authorship based on their experiences as writers of color--perfect for fans of Fresh Ink and Our Stories, Our Voices.  ​Bookshop.org

 

My Father, the Panda Killer by Jamie Jo Hoang

Genre: YA fiction

Blurb: A poignant coming-of-age story told in two alternating voices: a California teenager railing against her Vietnamese heritage, juxtaposed with her father as an eleven-year-old on a harrowing and traumatic refugee journey from Vietnam to the United States.

Bookshop.org

 

The Ferguson Report: An Erasure by Nicole Sealey

Genre: Erasure poetry

Blurb: A meditation on our times, cast through a reconsideration of the Justice Department's investigation of the Ferguson Police Department. ​Bookshop.org

LIZA'S HEALING

SELECTIONS

LizaBevams_CroppedHeadshot.png

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.

9781946724243.jpg

HoodWitch

by Faylita Hicks 

Poetry

"It's breathtaking. An absolute necessity."

—Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here

Shake Loose My Skin book cover.png

Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems

by Sonia Sanchez 

Poetry

"[Sanchez] looks deeply into that most dangerous of places-the heart."

Quarterly Black Review

Grab a copy here

9780822965589.jpg

I Can't Talk about the Trees Without the Blood

by Tiana Clark 

Poetry

"Clark bridges a Tennessee landscape's past and present in her stellar debut, evincing a potent mix of history, injury, and divided identity."

Publishers Weekly

Grab a copy here

9780393353631.jpg

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems

by Joy Harjo 

Poetry

"In these poems, the joys and struggles of the everyday are played against the grinding politics of being human."
Bookshop.org

Grab a copy here

softscience.jpg
DirectedByDesire_BookCover.png

Directed by Desire
by June Jordan 

Poetry

"Directed by Desire . . . is a powerful addition to the entire canon of American poetry."
Booklist


“I must become the action of my fate”

June Jordan in “I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies”

Grab a copy here

Soft Science
by Franny Choi 

Poetry

"Choi creates an exhilarating matrix of poetry, science, and technology."

Publishers Weekly

Grab a copy here

americansonnets.jpg

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

by Terrance Hayes

Poetry

Overwhelming in every sense. Overwhelming in its brilliance, yes, but also overwhelming in its pacing, its style . . . The book, despite its breadth and clever turns, is a confrontation . . . His poems are like the slow and steady picking of a lock, until the door handle clicks."

Hanif Abdurraqib, Poets and Writers

Grab a copy here

9781556594571.jpg

The New Testament

by Jericho Brown

Poetry

“To read Jericho Brown's poems is to encounter devastating genius."

—Claudia Rankine

Grab a copy here

freshwater.jpg

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi 

Fiction

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

—Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker

Grab a copy here

sentences.jpg

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

Edited by Caits Meissner, Pen America

Nonfiction

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

Grab a copy here »

9781505984347.jpg

Questions for Ada
by Ijeoma Umebinyuo 

Poetry

“These poems trace a path of healing full of power and vulnerability that resonates long after reading them."

—Liza

Grab a copy here

Teahouse_of_the_Almighty_700x.jpg

Teahouse of the Almighty by Patricia Smith

Poetry

“This book took my breath away.” —Liza

Grab a copy here »

gen.jpg

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams.

"I could not put this book down!"

—Liza

Grab a copy here »

2.png

Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses

Nonfiction

"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 »

4.png

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 »

Undrowned cover_HR.png
WoundsOfPassion cover_HR.png

Wounds of Passions: A Writing Life by bell hooks

Nonfiction

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

Grab a copy here »

2.png

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Sci-fi/Fantasy

“A prophetic and transformative novel.”

-Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here »

zami.jpg

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 »

body.jpg

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

Nonfiction

"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 »

magicm.jpg

The Magic My Body Becomes: Poems by Jess Rizkallah

Poetry

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

Grab a copy here »

mouths.jpg

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

Nonfiction

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

Grab a copy here »

9780374312718.jpg

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 »

girlw.jpg

Bernardine Evaristo- Girl, Woman, Other

Fiction

 "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 »

postcol.jpg

Natalie Diaz- Postcolonial Love Poem

Poetry

"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 »

storyteller.jpg

Leslie Marmon Silko- Storyteller

Fiction and Poetry

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

Grab a copy here »

heavy.jpg

Kiese Laymon- Heavy: An American Memoir

Nonfiction

"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 »

when you.jpg
blknotebooks.jpg

Toi Derricotte- The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey

Nonfiction

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

Grab a copy here »

keyballah.jpg

Key Ballah- Preparing My Daughter For Rain

Poetry

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

Grab a copy here »

source.jpg

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

Nonfiction

"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 »

9780399187360.jpg

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 »

nectar.jpg

Upile Chisala- Nectar

Poetry

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

Grab a copy here »

9781944211844.jpg

Black Imagination - Curated by Natasha Marin

Anthology

"(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 »

bone.jpg

Yrsa Daley-Ward- bone

Poetry

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

Grab a copy here »

bottom of page