Hour 36: #Diverseathon & #OwnVoices

Today is the start of #Diverseathon, a week-long readathon that encourages you to read books by…you guessed it…diverse authors, particularly focusing on #ownvoice. If you’re not familiar with it, #ownvoices describes books written by authors that identify with the same marginalized group as the protagonists that they’re writing. This could include authors that identify as and are writing characters that are POCs, disabled, LGBTQ+, non-cisgender, etc.

The intention is two-fold: 1) reading #ownvoices books sends a message to the publishing community (which is traditionally, white, able-bodied, straight, and cisgender) that these books have audiences and encourage them to publish more of them, and 2) reading about characters from marginalized groups expands your own awareness of diversity and empathy, something I think we can all benefit from.

So this hour’s challenge is to post a comment with your favorite #ownvoices recommendations, or if you have a photo of your recommendations, post a comment with a link to that photo. Give your fellow readers some suggestions for diverse books, and think about joining #diverseathon this week.

Here are a selection of diverse and #ownvoices titles from my shelves:


What’s on your list? Let me know below!

The winner of our Hour 30 challenge (who not only posted a photo of rainbow books, but all books featuring LGBTQ characters too!) is:


Thanks to your amazing rainbow photos, I’m donating $78 to the Human Rights Campaign. And Jenna and Rachel are matching that amount! So the campaign will be getting $234 total. Great job, everyone!

Here are three more door prize winners, just to say thanks:

Gayan Hutchinson

Nikki Yager

Sammantha Harvey

I’ll be in Hour 39 as we start the home stretch.

76 thoughts on “Hour 36: #Diverseathon & #OwnVoices

  1. Abi Marie Ainley says:

    I got an arc of Swing Time by Zadie Smith last year (Novemberish?) and I still vividly remember the amazing experience of reading it. Absolutely recommend it!


  2. My two most favorite diverse reads from last year:

    Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

    & Here Comes The Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

    Such powerful, extraordinary reads! (And both debuts! That floored me).

    This year I read The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and that was also a great read dealing with immigration issues, differences in cultures and racism.

    I highly recommend all of these. Happy #Diverseathon everyone!


  3. Joy Bishop says:

    I think my favorite right now is If I Was Your Girl. The author, a transgender woman, uses the YA format to explain some of the challenges and struggles of trans teens in a way that is accessible for people who may have no experience with them. I loved it and have been encouraging everyone to read it!


  4. Last year I made a conscious decision to read more diversely and as a result found some new favourites. Some of the best books I read were:

    The Color Purple
    On Beauty
    As I Descended
    The Sun is Also a Star
    Wide Sargasso Sea
    Eleanor and Park
    Will Grayson, Will Grayson
    Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
    Coinman: An Untold Conspiracy
    More Than This
    The Crown’s Game


  5. I’m very passionate about diversity! As a latina, I know how important it is to have representation in books. I recently read a book with a Puerto Rican MC and I was so happy with it, I cried! So I definitely recommend “The Education of Margot Sanchez” to everyone, specially those who are latinos and want to see themselves represented. ♥

    I also run an instagram page dedicated to promote diverse books! We’re getting close to 1k followers in just 1 month, which is AMAZING!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reading Swing Time right not and it is SO GOOD. Last year I was blown away by Heidi Heilig’s The Girl from Everywhere (altho I don’t know how Heilig identifies, so maybe not an #ownvoices read!). I read Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems, a staggeringly stunning poetry collection that includes the long poem, ‘Voyage of the Sable Venus’, composed of titles and descriptions Western museums use to describe works of art featuring women of color. Uh-mah-zing and sobering.


  7. reganws says:

    Recent reads:
    Everything, Everything
    Another Brooklyn
    This is Where it Ends
    We love you Charlie Freeman (current read)

    On my tbr pile:
    Home going
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
    Underground Railroad
    When Breath Becomes Air

    On my tbr list:
    The Sun is Also a Star
    The Hate U Give
    Brown Girl Dreaming
    Six of Crows

    There are others in my tbr piles too but I need to get back to reading 😬


  8. Stephanie Bengtson says:

    I’m in the middle of a four hour drive, but I have Between the World and Me on audio keeping me company! My post is on Litsy!



  9. saresmoore says:

    Three #ownvoices books that I just read this year:

    The Color Purple by Alice Walker
    Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (YA Bildungsroman about life and sexuality)
    El Deafo by Cece Bell (all-ages graphic novel about growing up deaf)


  10. One of my recent favorites is The Mothers by Brit Bennett – she writes beautifully and powerfully. Another amazing one (and a modern classic) is The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.


  11. Carolyn says:

    I hope you don’t mind a little education before I share. There’s no such term as ‘non-cisgendered.’ You would just use transgender but never ‘transgendered.’

    As for your question and in honor of that quick lesson, some wonderful books from transgender authors with trans MCs:
    George by Alex Gino (Middle Grade)
    If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (YA)
    Spy Stuff by Matthew Metzger (YA)
    A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde (Adult Romance)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Brien Ashdown says:

    I absolutely love “The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Díaz. A great story about a Dominican guy written by a Dominican guy.


  13. Matti Aikio – a sami (a indigenous group for Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia) writer who wrote about the sami comunity.
    Baldwin is gay and black and was told when he wrote Giovanni’s Room about white gay/bi that he would lose his black readers if he started writing about queer topics.
    Lewis was queer and in The Monk we have queer undertones with one of the couples.
    Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo guy) was mixed (half black half white) and Georges is one of the few books he wrote with a mixed protagonist.


  14. Heather says:

    I just started Redefining Realness by Janet Mock as part of my resolution to read more diverse books this year. My favorite (so far) is Persepolis by Marianne Satrapi about her earlier years living in Iran during the revolution.


  15. Leah Bergen says:

    I highly recommend Viramma: Life of an Untouchable by Viramma and Josiane Racine and Untouchables by Narendra Jadhav. Both of those are firsthand accounts of being at the “bottom” of the Indian caste system. Link on Litsy
    LeahBergen’s post on Litsy


  16. Jess. says:

    I’m just starting Brown Girl Dreaming. I’ve heard great things about it, and can’t wait to dive in.

    One of my favorite authors is NK Jemisin. I love how her books are considered fantasy, but deal with issues of race, sexism, oppression and power.


  17. Deb in Hawaii says:

    I’m currently listening to Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (Anazing!) and have Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson checked out from the library because I loved Another Brooklyn. I adored Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (read by Lin Manuel Miranda) and also Underground Railroad in audio and I have If I Was Your Girl, Bad Feminist & Hidden Figures working their way to the top of my e-book TBR list.


  18. Tim says:

    Coates’ work is modest in length but vastly important in content and, one hopes, in influence. The book is invaluable in terms of consciousness-raising, and I doubt that I will ever be able to look at race and power in society in the same way that I did before. Each generation should have a definitive text about the state of racism. This is our generation’s definitive text.



  19. Amanda Bender says:

    I’m just about to start March: Volume 1. I’m looking forward to seeing other posts so I can add more #ownvoices reads to my TBR


  20. Khaled Hosseini! I read The Kite Runner several years ago and if I wasn’t moved to actual physical tears, then I was certainly close. I’ve also got And the Mountains Echoed and A Thousand Splendid Suns on my TBR. I’ve also got Octavia Butler’s Fledgling and her Adulthood Rites trilogy, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok, Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan, Maya’s Notebook and Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende, Unbowed by Wangari Maathai, N. K. Jemison’s Inheritance trilogy, and a collection of Maya Angelou books. Don’t forget about Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, either.

    I’ve been working to diversify the selection of books on my shelves and so far I think it’s starting to work. Now I need to actually read them. So many amazing books to read, ahhhh


  21. Holly Barker aka Hooked_on_books on Litsy says:

    So many great posts already! I would suggest Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy. Both speak to incarceration of black men and both are incredible, compelling reads.


  22. dreamwritersdreaming says:

    Read yesterday: “The Dear Remote Nearness of You” by Danielle Legros Georges

    TBR today: Martin Espada’s “Republic of Poetry”, Frederico Garcia Lorca’s “Book of Poems (Selections)” Dual-Language edition, “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” by Joy Harjo, Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet”, and “The Homeless Year” by LB Lee (which is a reread for me).


  23. I’ve just finished Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier for #diverseathon and loved it and now on to El Deafo by Cece Bell. Just 3 hours left to complete 24in48 🎉


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