By Jasmine Guillory via https://www.oprahmag.com
I’ve been a huge reader all my life. I started with picture books, then chapter books, then basically anything I could get my hands on at the library. I read every genre—fantasy, mystery, history, memoir—but my heart has always been drawn to protagonists who are plucky, smart, and ambitious, the kind of women who have adventures and make something of themselves. And, yes, sometimes fall in love.
The problem, for most of my life, has been that those characters never looked like me.
Most often, in the literary world, the most well-known stories featuring Black girls and women are tales of hardship and sorrow. Slavery, abuse, rape, struggle, servitude, pain—those are the narratives that most frequently get told about us. And sure, sometimes those women and girls triumph over their pain and struggle. But before they do, we the reader …