One of the Instagram challenges for The Unread Shelf Project in March 2018 was to read books from your TBR by people of colour (POC) since its Black History Month in the US. I scanned my shelve and picked up a year old thrifted copy of Toni Morrisson’s Sula. In January, I scolded myself for borrowing God Help the Child from my local library while I had three of her books still unread and languishing on my TBR. In case you are interested- Beloved, Paradise, Sula. I had read a borrowed copy of The Bluest Eye in 2015 but its due for a re-read so it automatically does not count.
Then it dawned on me: I had never read Christian fiction by a person of colour or about a person of colour.
In a fit of trying to disapprove this thought, I quickly went through a mental list of my favourite titles. Alas, none came to mind. Those that did were more non-fiction writers
I am not so proud of myself for these choices because I am sure that there a quite a number of good Christian authors across the races. It’s just that time and space, I have limited my access to them.
In one of her recent posts, Heidi of The Caffeinated Bibliophile makes a couple of valid points on why she appreciates Christian fiction that I agree with. It is important that as a Christian, to be able to share your testimonies so that you can able to strengthen each other; to show that it is possible to overcome life’s challenges. Hence, publishing is an important platform.
As a teenager, I devoured the Christy Miller Series and I found comfort in how traversed her Christian journey while dealing with teenage angst. However, it would have been helpful to read about a Christian teenager from a coloured background who struggled with straightening her 4C hair while juggling her school work and figuring out how she can use her talent for God’s ministry.
However, having more diverse experiences reflected in Christian literature that we share is equally important because it is linked to the Great Commission.
For instance, I believe reading about the possibility of Chinese men who migrated to America during the gold rush years and found the Lord would be a welcome idea as suggested in this book.
How about life during the Civil Rights Movement and its relation to Christianity
It would be interesting to get a behind the scenes look at women missionaries who brought the gospel to Africa and how they felt about leaving their families behind and how they made peace with being single for life while doing the Lord’s work.
It would be interesting to gain insights into how both young and older people were able to take the Word to densely forested areas like the Amazon or in Eastern Europe with its religious liberty challenges.
Nonetheless, I am aware that while these suggestions may be valid, I would like to take into consideration, the logistical and technical issues. These authors may exist but they do not have access to the resources that will enable to access a publisher or an agent. This leads many to pursue the self-publishing route which may not have the widest reach and compromise the quality of work produced.
Well as a Kenyan, I am lucky since I have another opportunity to redeem myself since there’s another Black History Month in October in the UK. Hopefully, by then, I will have sourced some interesting recommendations. Please feel free to share both fiction and non-fiction recommendations in the comments section below. I know that we can do better.
P.S. Every time I read the title of this post, I have to imitate the choirmistress’ accent from this Jik bleach “generations” advert.