The best way to increase your cultural competence is to spend time with folks from different cultures. But, we can’t always show up at events, move to a diverse neighborhood or travel the world.

So, here are some resources for you to read about, listen to, and observe folks from people groups different from your own.

These resources—both fictional and nonfiction—are only suggestions. If we’re missing some, please send us yours!

NOTE: These lists are brief, and not all-inclusive. We hope they’ll inspire you to read, watch and share!





  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
  • Learning to Be White, by Thandeka
  • Slavery by Another Name, by Douglas A. Blackmon
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell


  • The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • Ain’t I a Woman, by Bell Hooks
  • Race Matters, by Cornel West
  • Roots, by Alex Haley
  • Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr., selected by Coretta Scott King
  • The Souls of Black Folk, by W.E.B. Du Bois
  • The Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  • “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”, by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • Black Boy, by Richard Wright
  • Up from Slavery, by Booker T. Washington
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  • The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America, by Nicholas Lemann


  • Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl (Austria)
  • My Experiments with Truth: An Autobiography, by Mahatma Gandhi (India)
  • Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak (Russia)
  • Russka: The Novel of Russia, by Edward Rutherfurd (Russia)
  • Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang
  • Heroes, by Festus Iyayi (Nigeria)
  • The Sympathizers, by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Vietnam)
  • A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster
  • Q & A, by Vikas Swarup (India)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden (Japan)
  • The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck (China)
  • Shogun, by James Clavell (Japan)


  • The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan (China)
  • Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)
  • Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood,
    by Fatima Mernissi (Morocco)
  • Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Mali)
  • Silence, by Shusaku Endo (Japan)
  • Slavery and South Asian History, by Indrani Chatterjee, Editor (South Asia)
  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (South Africa)
  • The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Boy, by Camara Laye (Guinea)
  • First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, by Loung Ung
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (The Netherlands)
  • The Memory of Love, by Aminatta Forna (Sierra Leone)