From left to right:  Cheryl Clark (Photo credit: Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou (photo credit York College of PA), Angie Thomas, N.K. Jemisin (photo credit: Laura Hanifin). Image sources are linked for each author’s name.

Reading, especially reading fiction, can help to develop empathy. The following writers have created fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and memoirs.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Americanah; Notes on Grief

Elizabeth Alexander
The Trayvon Generation; Antebellum Dream Book

Maya Angelou
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; And Still I Rise

Gwendolyn Brooks
Seasons; Maud Martha; Annie Allen

Valerie Brown
Hope Leans Forward;The Road that Teaches

Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie; People Person

Staceyann Chin
The Other Side of Paradise; Crossfire

Cheryl Clark
Living as a Lesbian; 48 Years

Lucille Clifton
Blessing the Boats; The Book of Light

Yrsa Daley-Ward
The Terrible, Bone

Diana Evans
Ordinary People; 26a; A House for Alice

Bernadine Evaristo
Girl, Woman, Other; Manifesto: On Never Giving Up

Jessie Redmon Fauset
Plum Bun

Roxane Gay
An Untamed State; Graceful Burdens

Nikki Giovanni
A Good Cry; Bicycles; Acolytes

Amanda Gorman
Call Us What We Carry; The Hill We Climb

Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God; You Don’t Know Us Negroes

Vanessa Julye
Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship

N.K. Jemisin
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms; How Long ’til Black Future Month?

Audre Lorde
Sister Outsider; The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde

Andrea Levy
The Long Song; Small Island

Michelle Obama
Becoming; The Light We Carry

Toni Morrison
Beloved; Song of Solomon; The Bluest Eye

Claudia Rankine
Just Us; The White Card; Citizen: An American Lyric

Ntozake Shange
Lost in Language and Sound; Nappy Edges

Anne Spencer
Time’s Unfading Garden; The Book of American Negro Poetry

Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give; On the Come Up

Alice Walker
The Color Purple; Gathering Blossoms Under Fire

Phillis Wheatley
A Hymn to the Evening; On Being Brought from Africa to America

Jamila Woods
The Truth About Dolls; Black Girl Magic

Jacqueline Woodson
Red at the Bone, The Year We Learned to Fly

From left to right: Ntozake Shange, Andrea Levy (photo credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire/PA Images), Michelle Obama (photo credit: Gage Skidmore), Jacqueline Woodson, Valerie Brown, Candace Carty-Williams (photo credit: Emil Huseynzade). Image sources are linked for each author’s name.

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