This year’s Summer Reading theme was “Discover a World of Stories.” As usual we post several reading challenges for patrons to try.  One of our challenges asked patrons to read authors that were of a different gender, race, sexuality, and nationality from their own. Those that participated picked some wonderful books such as Maya Angelou’s, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, and “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan. You may not realize, but those titles are considered #OwnVoices.  Back in 2015, author Corinne Duyvis started the movement when she created the Twitter hashtag to bring attention to authors that shared a diverse or marginalized identity with their protagonist. In the last few years, more and more #OwnVoices stories have been released.

   Here are a couple more great books that I recommend adding to your reading list, “The Bride Test” by Helen Hoang.  The book is about a Vietnamese woman who must convince a man who avoids romantic relationships that she suitable match for him.  This book is a light, fun read for the dog days of summer. On a more serious note, I recommend reading “Internment” by Samira Ahmed.  This book is set in a future where Muslim-Americans are forced to live in internment camps and the main character Layla Amin fights to change the status quo.  Its’s an exciting time to be a reader with so many deeply moving and diverse stories available to us.

    If you’re curious to know more, the Library complied several lists with #OwnVoices authors. Please stop by the reference desk to get a list for yourself. You can use “ownvoices” in our catalog to get a full list of available titles and authors. Just click this link.

Jigisha Patel is a Reference Librarian for the Kirkwood Public Library. She has been with the library since March 2018. She enjoys making jewelry, reading cozy mysteries and, science fiction. Her favorite authors are Harper Lee, JK Rowling, and Ellery Adams.