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26 Books Written by POC That Should be Movies

Even though people will always say that the book is better than the movie, there are so many incredible libros that deserve to become films. Not only because the stories are worth telling on either the small or big screen (or both), but because they are narratives that aren’t being shared in Hollywood. This is especially true of POC stories, written by POC authors. That’s why when Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel, Crazy Rich Asians, became a massively successful film ($238.5 box office worldwide), it was such a triumph and an important moment. It was proof that you didn’t have to have an all-white cast to have a successful movie, or a book full of characters of European descent to have a best-seller. In fact, it went further than that, proving that something that featured a mostly Asian cast and characters could win.

We need more stories about people of color, by people of color to be seen on TV and in the movie theaters. To get the ball rolling, we selected 26 books that would make for great films–producers take note!

I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

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GIVEAWAY (CLOSED) & BOOK REVIEW!!!! I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 If you have read my previous posts, this book was one I came across browsing the shelves at Barnes & Noble. I reached out to my #bookstagram family and was met with extreme enthusiasm to read it! When it finally came time to pick it up from the library, I read it in two days and was so amazed by it! This YA novel touched on so many subjects: teenage angst, depression/anxiety, family death, being an outcast and scapegoat, and immigration. All of this, told through Julia, a teenage first-generation Mexican American who recently lost her sister and feels like an utter disappointment to her family. I rode the highs and lows with Julia and felt so attached to her due to the fantastic writing of @erikalsanchez . I recommend it to everyone! Sadly, I returned this book to the library before I could get any good pictures, so I went and bought a copy. However, I feel selfish keeping it for myself and feel as though I should spread my love for this book to others! So, I’m giving it away! Rules to enter: 1. Follow me (and lets stay friends, okay?) 2. Reply to this post with your favorite emoji and your last five-star book that you’ve read! And that’s it! Share in your stories if you’d like! Pretty simple! Giveaway is US only. This post is not affiliated with Instagram or any other account besides myself. Giveaway closes on Wednesday, 4/17 at 11:59 EST. #bookgram #booknerd #booklover #imnotyourperfectmexicandaughter #bookgiveaway #youngadultbooks #bookreview #igreaders #readersofinstagram #booksaremagical #fivestarbookreview

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The first book we think should become a film is Erika L. Sanchez’s I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. The National Book Award Finalist and New York Times bestseller tells the story of Julia and Olga, who are Mexican sisters in Chicago. When Olga, the perfect older daughter, is killed in a traffic accident, the family suffers, and Julia is suddenly the recipient of her mother’s pain and grief. Julia, who has always been the more independent sister, finds out that Olga might not have been as perfect as she seemed.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

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Another book that would make for a good film is The Wedding Date, by New York Times Best Seller author Jasmine Guillory. She penned the novel last year, and it has quickly become a rom-com fave. When Alexa, who lives in San Francisco, and Drew, whose home is in L.A., meet in a faulty elevator, he convinces her to be his date for his ex’s wedding. They hit it off, but is the long-distance romance that follows a fling or something more?

The Joy of Doing Things Badly: A Girl’s Guide to Love, Life and Foolish Bravery by Veronica Chambers

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Some of the best films are about celebrating your imperfections and learning to live life imperfectly. That’s why Veronica Chambers’ book, The Joy of Doing Things Badly: A Girl’s Guide to Love, Life and Foolish Bravery, would make for the perfect comedic film. In it, she tells personal stories that encourage us all to live with “foolish bravery.” Because life isn’t about doing everything perfectly, it’s about living life.

Number One Chinese Restaurant: A Novel by Lillian Li

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When TIME, InStyle; NPR; The Village Voice; The Wall Street Journal; O, The Oprah Magazine, and other big publications rave about a book, you take heed. The all loved Lillian Li’s book, Number One Chinese Restaurant, a novel about the inner workings of The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland. Amazon calls it “an exuberant and wise multi-generational debut novel about the complicated lives and loves of people working in everyone’s favorite Chinese restaurant.” We can see this being turned into a good movie!

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

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Repost from our forever #WRBG friend @mallit313! She shares a wonderful synopsis below. Come to @mahoganybooks tonight (Washington D.C.) to discuss ❤️ ✨ ・・・ @acevedowrites first novel, Poet X, was a dream. The writing, the characters, and the plot were super relatable and it was a complete page turner. So much I read it in 3 whole days! So I was super excited to read her 2nd novel, “With the fire on high” about a Puerto Rican/African American girl from Philly, who uses her family’s love and legacy of cooking to help her through some hard decisions and making her dreams become a reality. I loved that Acevedo wrote the protagonist Emoni as a teen mom whose life experiences were just like any other kids with the same dreams and struggles except with a bit more responsibility. That in spite of being in what some may perceive as a difficult situation she used that as her strength to guide her through her senior year of high school. I highly recommend this read to both the young and the old. Lastly, I enjoyed the bits of history imbedded in the story as well as the recipes that were included! Make sure to eat before reading so you aren’t salivating from all of the delicious descriptions of the Latin cuisines included in the story. As always @acevedowrites thank you thank you for writing stories that reflect us colored girls 🙌🏾❤️ BTW: Isn’t this the most BEAUTIFUL book cover that you have ever seen?! 😍 : : : #withthefireonhigh #elizabethacevedo #YA #newread #bookstagram #booksaremagic #latinawriters #wellreadblackgirl #nowreading #YAbooks

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Elizabeth Acevedo hit a home run with her immensely successful book, The Poet X, and she’s back with another Latinx novel. With the Fire on High is a story about Emoni Santiago, a teenage mom who has to balance her obligations to her child and abuelita, with her desire to be a chef. We need narratives like this to make it onto the big screen. This story represents our stories, our drive to succeed, and our balance between our dedication to family and our own dreams.

Optic Nerve by Maria Gainza

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“In between autofiction and the micro-stories of artists, between literary meet-ups and the intimate chronicle of a family, its past and its misfortunes, this book is completely original, gorgeous, on occasions delicate and other times brutal. And this woman-guide, who goes from Lampedusa to The Doors with crushing elegance, is unforgettable: she knows too much even though she declares herself scatter-brained and uncapable for modern life, even though she only feels alive in front of a secret painting, hiding somewhere in a South American museum.” —Mariana Enríquez, author of THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE 👁 OPTIC NERVE by María Gainza, translated by Thomas Bunstead, goes on sale April 9, 2019. You can pre-order now—and yes, our holiday sale applies! Use code HOLIDAY18 on catapult.co for 25% off everything and free priority shipping. #opticnerve #opticnervebook #mariagainza

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Optic Nerve is a book by Maria Gainza, her first work to be translated into English. It focuses on an Argentinian woman, who narrates her story, intermingling it with art, which she is obsessed with. This would make for a visually stunning film, where we get to see the intersection of world-famous art and this woman’s own life.

Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis’ Fleet-of-Foot Girl by Megan Reid

We need to see as many films about black and brown excellence as much possible. We need to show the younger generations that anything is possible and teach them about those trailblazers who made it possible for the stars of today to shine. Like Althea Gibson, “the first Black athlete to cross the color line of international tennis,” the first African-American to win a Grand Slam, and also the first African-American to compete on the Women’s Professional Golf Tour.

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter: A Crafty Chica Novel by Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Kathy Cano-Murillo, the Latina behind The Crafty Chica also writes popular novels! Her book, Waking Up in the Land of Glitter, would make for one of those equally popular, heartfelt made-for-TV movies. It’s about Estrella “Star” Esteban, whose family owns La Pachanga Restaurant. When Star jeopardizes the family business, her relationship with her boyfriend, and her career, she agrees to join a national craft competition, with her BFF and a local TV personality, to redeem herself and make things right.

The Right Swipe: A Novel Paperback by Alisha Rai

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Dating has definitely gone digital, so rom-coms have to keep up with the times, no? Alisha Rai’s The Right Swipe is a story about Rhiannon Hunter, a successful dating app creator who finds herself ghosted after a romantic rendezvous with former professional football player Samson Lima. Months later, she sees him again — working with a business rival. He’s back in her life for a second chance, but is she game? Does this not sound like the perfect 2019 romantic comedy?

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

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Another fabulous story that would look great on the big screen is Mitali Perkins’ You Bring the Distant Near. The National Book Award Nominee follows five generations of the Das family, who immigrated from India first to Britain, then to America. It shows the differences between five females from the different generations, living amongst two cultures — one is concerned with preserving Indian culture and tradition, another wants to be an actress, and a third is involved in an interracial relationship. As one Amazon reviewer said, “Who is getting the movie rights to this one?”

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up is the latest novel from Angie Thomas, author of the #1 New York Times best-selling book-turned-film, The Hate U Give. The story is about Bri, a 16-year-old aspiring rapper whose first song goes viral “for all the wrong reasons.” Her family is facing eviction, her mom lost her job, and Bri is facing controversy due to her rhymes. But she has to make it in order to save the day. We see this book becoming a big movie as well.

How to Leave Hialeah by Janine Capó Crucet


Films that offer glimpses into several different lives and stories are cool. You learn so many little lessons, and get to see various narratives in one production! Janine Capó Crucet’s How to Leave Hialeah tells different tales, with the common thread being the experiences of Cubans in Hialeah. Telling these stories together in a film invites viewers to see the neighborhood come alive through those who live there.

What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan

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Thank you @littlebrown for the free review copy . #RBJbookreview What we were promised was a book that was on my radar because the description sounded exactly like my type of story. An interesting setting, a family recently coming into a lot of money, a long lost brother returning after years of being estranged, and lingering feelings left over after an arranged marriage. The lovely @annebogel helped put this book at the top of my list by adding it to her summer reading guide. . This book was such a fascinating look into the very wealthy upper class families in Shanghai. I am talking wealthy with a capital "W." I love the contrasting storyline of the upscale Zhen family and their housekeeper Sunny who barely makes ends meet and lives in a group living situation. Sunny was a woman after my own heart. She watches others to find out their needs. Not the every day needs you would think of, but rather the simple stuff you don't notice. For instance, if she saw a puddle of water near the tub she would place the towel closer to make it more efficient and comfortable for owners of the homes she cleaned. I love characters who appreciate attention to detail like I do. . The story is slow and shifts from present-day Shangai to a rural village in China. As the story was wrapping up I thought I knew exactly the direction it would take and was definitely shocked to find out how things were going to actually end. I stayed up way too late to finish the book because I needed to know how it would end. This story won't leave me. I keep coming back to it and thinking through what the ending meant and about how the characters handled different situations. . Lucy Tan's debut novel is written with similar immersive writing as Maggie O'Farrell and Fatima Farheen Mirza. . . . . . @littlebrown #whatwewerepromised #lucytan #readlikerachael #bookstagram#booktography #instabooks #bibliophile#booknerd  #bookworm #reading#instabook #igreads #bookish #bookaddict#reader  #ilovebooks  #literature #bookaholic#epicreads #booksofinstagram  #booktag#bookstagramfeature #bookstagrammer#booksofinstagram #booksofig#bookblogger

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Luxury. Family secrets. Drama. We are here for it! Lucy Tan’s book, What We Were Promised is just the novel to make into a juicy film. It follows the Zhen family, who just moved to modern Shanghai after living and working in the U.S. Wei and Lina are in an arranged marriage, and Lina still has feelings for Wei’s brother Qiang. Of course, Qiang shows up in their lives again!

Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen by Queen Liliʻuokalani


Another true story that is worth making into a film is that of the last Queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliʻuokalani. When Hawaii was annexed to the United States, the Hawaiian monarchy became a thing of the past. Lili’uokalani wrote a book, first published in 1898, where she talks about the history of the islands, and pleas for the United States to restore the Hawaiian monarchy — these pleas went unheard. We owe it to Queen Liliʻuokalani and the Hawaiian people to learn about her story, their story, and what really happened before Hawaii became a state.

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

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One week until school is officially out for SUMMER ☀️ ❤️ 🏖 . . I love fluffy novels. When I say “fluffy” it’s not a bad thing, I don’t mean to say they are silly or not worth my time. Fluffy to me is light and entertaining. Reading a fluffier book lets me turn my brain off and settle in for a cozy quick read. . . It’s like how I don’t always drink cider but when I do, I always enjoy it! . . What’s your favorite “fluffy” book or series? I’m going to need a few recs to come down from this school year! . . . This book is reviewed as “uproarious” what is not going to be to love?! . . . . #bookstagram #bookworm #bookphoto #girlswhoread #readingissexy #bookcommunity #bookobsessed #booksofig #booknerdingans #goodreadschallenge #paperbacklove #cozybookreads #whatshouldireadnext #bookishlove #bookishlife #booksbooksbooks #thewangsvstheworld #jadechang #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #almostsummer #fluffybook

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The Wangs vs. the World is an adorable story that would work well as a movie. It teaches us all that money is great, but family is everything. When Charles Wang loses his riches during a financial crisis, his family goes from a Bel-Air mansion, private school, and luxury cars to the bare minimum. The Wangs are forced to pack up and head out to upstate New York, where eldest daughter Saina lives. This major life shift ends up uniting the family in a way nothing else has before.

Nisei Daughter by Monica Sone

Movies based on true stories give us glimpses into someone else’s real-life experiences. In order to truly understand and represent America in all its facets, we should have narratives from as many different backgrounds represented at the movies. Nisei Daughter is an important story that should be told. It’s Monica Sone’s story about growing up Japanese-American in Seattle during the 1930s. During WWII, her family is forced into an internment camp, a terrible fate that so many Japanese families, including those who were born in the U.S., had to unjustly endure.

The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers

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The Go-Between, a novel by Afro-Panamanian author Veronica Chambers, is another book-made-into-film that should happen. The story centers around Camilla del Valle, the rich Mexican daughter of a big actress mother and voice-actor father. She’s living the glamorous life, but when her mom gets a role in Hollywood, the sudden change to L.A. proves difficult for Cammi.

How to Be a Chicana Role Model by Michele M. Serros


The late author Michele M. Serros left us with gems of books that need to be turned into movies. One is the novel How to Be a Chicana Role Model. In it, she tells the story (through several vignettes) of a writer who is trying to balance living between two cultures. The theme, and it’s content, is something us Latinxs can all relate to!

The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes


The Dirty Girls Social Club written by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is similar to Sex and the City and Waiting to Exhale, but recast with all Latinas. These six friends meet at Boston University and catch up every few months after, dishing on what’s going on in their very different lives. We need more fun, fashionable, and cool films that focus on Latinx women, and this would be a great one!

The Tattooed Soldier by Hector Tobar

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"The Tattooed Soldier" – Hector Tobar ✨ ✨ 🇬🇹 Guatemalan Characters 🇬🇹 ✨ ✨ {Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Héctor Tobar's debut novel is a tragic tale of destiny and consequence set in downtown Los Angeles on the eve of the 1992 riots. Antonio Bernal is a Guatemalan refugee haunted by memories of his wife and child murdered at the hands of a man marked with a yellow tattoo. Not far from Antonio's apartment, Guillermo Longoria extends his arm and reveals a tattoo–yellow pelt, black spots, red mouth. It is the mark of the death squad, the Jaguar Battalion of the Guatemalan army. A chance encounter ignites a psychological showdown between these two men who discover that the war in Central America has followed them to the quemazones, the "great burning" of the Los Angeles riots.} ✨ ✨ Love finding books about/with Central American characters ☺️ ✨ ✨ #latinx #latinos #latina #bookstagram #latinxscreate #booklover #tbr #fridakahlo #bibliophile #lit #diverseathon #flor #comolaflor #bookishfeatures #bookstagramfeature #guatemala #thetattooedsoldier #hectortobar #flowers

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The Tattooed Soldier, by Hector Tobar, gives a glimpse into the conflict that many immigrants are trying to escape when they flee their countries. Protagonist Antonio Bernal has settled in Los Angeles from Guatemala, where his wife and child were murdered by a man with a yellow tattoo. Antonio is blindsided when he sees the man in his neighborhood and recognizes the same tattoo, a symbol of the Jaguar Batallion of the Guatemalan Army. Just reading this makes you want to know what happens next, no? Imagine if this were a movie!

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors: A Novel by Sonali Dev

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Our next read that should become a film is Sonali Dev’s Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors: A Novel. The story takes us to San Francisco, where the Rajes family lives. Descended from royalty, their surgeon daughter Trisha finds herself to still be the rebel. DJ Caine is a chef hired by the Rajes, who comes from less lavish beginnings. He quickly butts heads with Trisha, but Caine soon finds out that Trisha is the only doctor who can save his sister’s life. This celebrated read is a fresh take on the Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

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Havana in 1958 and Miami in 2017 are the two locations and years that will tell the tales of Cuban sugar heiress Elisa Perez and her granddaughter Marisol in Chanel Cleeton’s novel Next Year in Havana. When Elisa dies, Marisol travels to Cuba and learns about her grandmother’s life before she was forced to leave the island during the revolution. Marisol learns family secrets, while also really realizing what it means to be Cuban. With the different time periods, locations, and interesting storyline, this would make for one good film!

Chicana Falsa: And Other Stories of Death, Identity, & Oxnard by Michele M. Serros

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Another book by Michele M. Serros that we can see being turned into a film, be it for TV or movie theaters, is Chicana Falsa. In it, different poems and stories talk about what it’s like to grow up Chicana in Oxnard, California. Being Latinxs who live in the United States automatically makes us part of two very different cultures, and having someone describe how that looks and feels in their own way is at the same time helping us all to tell our story. We need more of this, in all forms (books, TV, films, plays, etc.)!

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie is such a good book, that it has already been acquired in a six-figure deal, and gotten “massive film and TV interest.” The story follows 25-year-old Queenie Jenkins, a Jamaican British woman in London, who works at a national newspaper, and broke up with her long-term white boyfriend. In this funny relatable story, Jenkins balances dating, her family, and comparisons with her white peers.

Sarong Party Girls: A Novel by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Sarong Party Girls by Cherly Lu-Lien Tan has been described as “Emma set in modern Asia.” The story takes us to Singapore, where Jazzy plans to get her and her BFFs all married to rich white Western expats before the year is over. Written in “Singlish,” you get a view into the nightclub scene, the obsession with designer names, Singaporean culture, and being a woman in this country. Can you imagine how glam this movie would be?

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

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Hi Book Franz! How’s everyone’s day going so far? I spent it thinking about this novel & the discussion I have the honor of leading tomorrow at @politicsprose – Union Market at 7 PM! This discussion is part of a series of programs focusing on the stories of Latinx immigrants in the U.S. as a prelude to the March 17th simulcast of DREAMERS, a new work co-commissioned by @washingtonperformingarts.. . This is truly an honor because as an immigrant myself, I have honestly, rarely reflected on my own experience here in the U.S. & I’ve seldom found my experience reflected in literature. To have this opportunity be part of this series & dive into literature written about the Latinx immigrant experiences is more than just an honor- it’s life-changing. I am so grateful to @washingtonperformingarts for thinking of me for this series ❤️.. . I am saving the majority of my thoughts on this book for the discussion tomorrow but I did want to implore everyone to read this novel. It’s one that’s literally full of life with so much depth in each character. Certain passages will have you contemplating life while others bring you back to the reality that we can’t take life too seriously! The best we can do is live it & this novel lives a life of love, family, forgiveness, loss, & all things human. It feels so very alive! For me personally, it feels so alive that it feels like home. If you haven’t read this one yet- do yourself a favor & pick up a copy. The paperback edition will be available at all bookstores starting tomorrow! Hoping to see any new or familiar book friends tomorrow for this discussion.. . Separately I want to give @politicsprose a huge shout out & thank you for including this event in their newsletter, which I’ve personally followed monthly for a very long time! And it’s so incredibly surreal to see my name in it! 😩😩😭😭

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The last book we will be looking at that should be made into a movie is Luis Alberto Urrea’s The House of Broken Angels. The novel tells the story of the De la Cruz family, brought together in San Diego to celebrate the last birthday of Big Angel, Miguel Angel De La Cruz, who is dying of cancer, and the life of his mother, who just passed away. During this weekend, Little Angel, Miguel’s half-brother, and namesake is reunited with his family, one that he hasn’t had a life with. This is a tale of family, and what it means to be both Mexican and American.