Not every minority literature course covers the same books. But, if you’re looking to learn more about minority literature, these are some of the books you need to start with.

An English Major's Reading List: Minority Literature
Image by Pexels from Pixabay
An English Major’s Reading List: Minority Literature
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

As an English literature major, my college years at The University of Puerto Rico consisted of one reading list after another. One of my favorite literature courses was Minority Literature. What makes this course, and minority literature, so great is the learning process.

By reading minority literature, you are exposing yourself to the voices of those whose experiences may be far from your own. This helps increase your social awareness, a much-needed quality given today’s current socio-political situation.

These are just some of the books I had to read for my Minority Literature course. Consider giving them a read. The rabbit hole of minority literature is incredibly enlightening.

1. Read The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Read The Color Purple. 
Photo by Amazon. Book by Alice Walker.
Read The Color Purple.
Photo by Amazon. Book by Alice Walker.

If you haven’t read this book already, go read it and then come back. I promise it will be worth it. This epistolary novel tells the story of Celie and the struggles of being a poor black woman in the South.

The novel also covers the topics of racism, abuse, and sexism, specifically how they affect black women. If you need an empowering read about the hardships women face and how they overcome them, this is your book. Celie’s story is powerful, and makes this book a wonderful, inspirational, and emotional read.

2. Read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. 
Photo by Amazon. Book by Sherman Alexie.
Read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
Photo by Amazon. Book by Sherman Alexie.

This is an awesome book that needs to be on your minority literature reading list. Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel tells the story of Junior, a Native American boy. In this novel, Junior struggles with identity, race and racism, and poverty.

It’s not an easy read, but that’s what makes it so great. Alexie’s great writing allows you to empathize with Junior’s struggles (and there’s a lot of them). When something happens to Junior, you cannot help but feel as it’s also happening to you.

3. Read Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas

Read Down These Mean Streets. 
Photo by Amazon. Book by Sherman Alexie.
Read Down These Mean Streets.
Photo by Amazon. Book by Sherman Alexie.

As a Puerto Rican, this book was a very important book for me to read. A raw read, this book covers the topics of race, identity, and drug addiction. The autobiography reads like a novel and covers the life and struggles of its author, Piri Thomas.

A dark-skinned Puerto Rican growing up in 1960s and 1970s Spanish Harlem, Thomas’ life was anything but easy. His struggles illustrate the realities of many Latino people at the time. But it also offers a new perspective on current events. Read this book, you won’t regret it.


You don’t need to be a minority to learn about minority literature. If anything, learning about those who have led different lives and experiences is important to self-growth. Which one of these minority literature books are you going to read first?