Image for Summer Reads by BIPOC Authors

Whether you prefer to read in a hammock, sitting by the water or while lying in the grass, these thought-provoking picks from your co-op staff will be hard to put down.

The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson (Local Author)

One snowy winter’s day, Rosalie Iron Wing returns to the home from which she was taken as a child. Orphan, widow, and mother — journalist and gardener — Rosalie has spent the previous two decades watching as her white husband’s family farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, she finally begins to confront the past and embrace the future — and, in the process, learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron, women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss. (Milkweed Editions)

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is 11 when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. But when their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself — and there is a cost to living inside a lie. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vignes twins will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern Black community and running away at age 16, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her Black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect? (Penguin Random House)

The Song Poet by Kao Kalia Yang (Local Author)

Kao Kalia Yang shares the story of her father, Bee Yang, a Hmong refugee in Minnesota who was driven from the mountains of Laos by America’s Secret War. Bee sings the life of his people through the war-torn jungle and a Thai refugee camp. But the songs fall away in the cold, bitter world of a Minneapolis housing project and on the factory floor until, with the death of Bee’s mother, the songs leave him for good. But before they do, Bee, with his poetry, has polished a life of poverty for his children, burnished their grim reality so that they might shine. (Metropolitan Books)

American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrera

America Ferrera and 31 of her friends, peers, and heroes share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, Indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all. (Simon & Schuster)

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Sisters Effia and Esi are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to her, Esi is imprisoned in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana. The other follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to present day, Homegoing makes history visceral and captures how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation. (Penguin Random House)