July 15, 2023

With summer in the US in full swing, we have a wide array of books for you to enjoy by NYU alumni authors who fearlessly explore diverse topics and ignite conversations around social justice. From thought-provoking books on race and immigration to captivating stories about hip-hop, food, and filmmaking, these authors have crafted narratives that challenge norms, amplify marginalized voices, and inspire meaningful change. Get ready to explore identity, culture, and social consciousness as you dive into these powerful works that help pave the way towards a more equitable and inclusive world. 

Please note this is not an exhaustive list and only includes a small number of the many talented NYU alumni authors. Inclusion should not be considered endorsement. Are you an alumni author? We want to read all about it! Let us know by submitting a Class Note.

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Joni Schwartz (STEINHARDT ’85) and Rebecca Schwartz (SPS ’13)

Learning to Disclose: A Journey of Transracial Adoption

Learning to Disclose: A Journey of Transracial Adoption

Joni Schwartz (STEINHARDT ’85) and Rebecca Schwartz (SPS ’13), an adult white mother and Black daughter delve into the profound and complex dynamics of a transracial adoption, interwoven with their shared experiences. The co-authors navigate the depths of their past and explore its relationship to their present lives.

Mateo Askaripour (CAS ’12)

Black Buck

Black Buck

In the captivating novel Black Buck, author Mateo Askaripour (CAS ’12) explores the role of race in America's workforce. When twenty-two-year-old Darren, content with his low-key life, changes gears and joins an elite sales team after a chance encounter, he reimagines himself as "Buck," a ruthless salesman. As Buck navigates the cutthroat corporate world, facing personal tragedies at home, he strives to empower young people of color, offering a new vision of the American sales force.

Javier Jose Zamora (GSAS ’14)

Solito: A Memoir

Solito: A Memoir

In Solito: A Memoir, author Javier Jose Zamora (GSAS ’14) takes readers on an unforgettable journey embarking on a treacherous three-thousand-mile odyssey from his small town in El Salvador to the United States. With the hope of reuniting with his long-separated parents, Javier faces challenging boat trips, desert treks, and the constant threat of danger, all while seeking solace among fellow migrants who become an unexpected family. Zamora not only shares his personal story, but also sheds light on the experiences of millions forced to leave their homes.

Clover Hope (CAS ’05)

The Motherlode

The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop

In The Motherlode, author Clover Hope (CAS ’05) provides a unique tribute to the influential women who have shaped and expanded the scope of hip-hop. From revered pioneers like Roxanne Shanté to visionary game changers like Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott to contemporary powerhouses such as Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and Lizzo, this book showcases the diverse journeys and impact of these remarkable artists. Each profile illuminates the breakthroughs and transformative moments that have indelibly shaped the landscape of rap.

Bryant Terry (GSAS ’01)

Black Food


Renowned food activist and author Bryant Terry (GSAS ’01) dives into the intricate subject of Black foodways in America and across the globe. This beautifully crafted book celebrates the rich heritage, cultural significance, and resilience of Black culinary traditions, while highlighting the diverse flavors, histories, and stories embedded within Black cuisine.

Jamia Wilson (GSAS ’09)

Young, Gifted, and Black

Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present

Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present is an empowering compilation that introduces 52 remarkable icons of color, both historical and contemporary, who have made a lasting impact. Carefully curated by Jamia Wilson (GSAS ’09), these stories of changemakers are beautifully illustrated by artist Andrea Pippins, creating a vibrant celebration of achievement and inspiration. From iconic leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Rosa Parks to cultural pioneers and trailblazing athletes such as Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey, and Serena Williams, this book shares the rich legacy of several prominent individuals with a goal to inspire the next generation.

Helene Stapinski (WSC ’87)

The American Way

The American Way: A True Story of Nazi Escape, Superman, and Marilyn Monroe

Helene Stapinski (WSC ’87) and Bonnie Siegler share a captivating and extraordinary story that weaves together the lives of Jules Schulback, an amateur filmmaker, and Harry Donenfeld, the publisher of DC Comics, as they share forgotten history bridging old Hollywood, the birth of the comic book, and the Holocaust.

Alina Das (LAW ’05)

No Justice in the Shadows

No Justice in the Shadows: How America Criminalizes Immigrants

In No Justice in the Shadows: How America Criminalizes Immigrants, author Alina Das (LAW ’05) unveils what she believes to be the dark truths of the United States' immigration system, exposing deep-rooted racism and the devastating impact it has on millions of immigrants today. The book delves into the heart-wrenching reality of the "deportation machine," where hundreds of thousands of individuals are annually arrested, imprisoned, and deported. Through poignant personal accounts, Das exposes the historical construction of the "criminal alien" concept, urging us to confront the system’s cruelty and advocate for an inclusive immigration policy grounded in human dignity.