This week the Houston Museum of African American Culture launched its 40th anniversary tribute to Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. I discovered her in college when an English literature course inspired me to seek out writers of color because the ones I knew were few and far between.

It’s a list I’ll keep adding to, but I’m collecting memories of the writers/creators whose work was significant for me when I was younger. It’s just a reference now, but something I’ll come back to.

If you’re from a different cultural tradition or a different continent, I’d love to learn what books and authors resonated with you. Please share yours.

Favorite Picture Books

  1. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak (1963)
  2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst (1972)
  3. Go, Dog, Go!, P.D. Eastman (1961)
  4. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Jon Scieszka (1989)
  5. Curious George, H.A. Rey (1941)
  6. The Polar Express, Chris Von Allsburg (1985)
  7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss (1957)
  8. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Judi Barrett (1978)
  9. The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein (1964)
  10. Tikki Tikki Tembo, Arlene Mosel (1968)
  11. The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams (1922)
  12. The Little Engine That Could, Watty Piper (1930)
  13. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Laura Numeroff (1985)
  14. Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson (1955)
  15. Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss (1990)

Favorite Poetry

  1. Listen Children, Lucille Clifton
  2. The Incident, Countee Cullen
  3. Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, E.E. Cummings
  4. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allen Poe
  5. Jacket Notes, Amiri Baraka
  6. Crutches, Nikki Giovanni
  7. Dream Deferred, Langston Hughes
  8. We Real Cool, Gwendolyn Brooks
  9. Allowables, Nikki Giovanni
  10. Invictus, William Ernest Henley

Favorite Authors

  1. Jamaica Kincaid
  2. Audre Lorde
  3. Gwendolyn Brooks
  4. Nikki Giovanni
  5. Sonia Sanchez
  6. Bell Hooks
  7. Maya Angelou
  8. Alice Walker
  9. James Baldwin
  10. Robert Frost
  11. Amiri Baraka
  12. Avi
  13. Sherman Alexie
  14. Richard Wright
  15. Junot Diaz

What are yours? Who did I miss? 



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