As a woman of color, it can be challenging to find books that deal with positive body image and self-esteem in a way that speaks to us. Mainstream books about these topics often perpetuate impossible standards and tell us that we need to change who we are to be happy.
Reading this list will be a great start if you’re looking for books to help you love yourself more!
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List of body positivity books
Fattily Ever After: A Black Fat Girl’s Guide to Living Life Unapologetically
This great book is essential for listening to a generation of black women who face culture and society’s standard fat-shaming practices. Stephanie talks about the treatment she endured as well as other issues that affect her life as a black, fat woman.
Editor-Approved Book about body acceptance: It’s like a “Pep talk for black plus-sized women.” This moving and motivational audiobook is a must-listen for any plus-size woman who believes facing their body image issues is the key to unlocking radical self-love.”
Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim
Her voice is searing, her honesty unrivaled, and she delivers such a powerful message that we need to know more about.
She shares how she came to terms with herself as a young woman and found hope in what some would call an imperfection- this symbolizing resistance against society’s expectations for them both then -and now.
Editor-Approved Book about having a healthy body image:
In a world where we’re constantly being told what to do, Unashamed gives anyone who feels marginalized permission to live life on their terms despite the unrealistic beauty standards set by society.
This book will make you laugh, cry, and think long after reading it.
Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation
Taking an imperative aim at the diet culture, this guide offers queer people of color insights on how they can gain self-care for themselves while also improving the community as a whole through healthier lifestyle choices with this positive body image book.
An easy read that will grant you an eye-opening look into how we’ve been taught to view our bodies in the wellness industry and how we can unlearn these harmful thoughts, this is one of the most important books on this list.
Editor-Approved Book about addressing wellness in the BIPOC and LGBTQ+Communities:
With the lack of information for both of these communities, this is one of the best books that address wellness for marginalized communities in a different way that’s digestible and relevant.
This book is for people who don’t like rules and prefer self-love to food. It guides you not to be bound by our thoughts about your bodies, like following traditional dieting practices or denying yourself certain foods. It gently nudges you to let go of the body shame and welcome self-compassion instead.
F*ck Your Diet: And Other Things My Thighs Tell Me
Author Chloe Hillard tackles one of the most comedy-friendly self-help books I’ve seen addressing having a positive attitude and relationship toward food recently within the last few years.
What has often been discussed in a droopy tone, I found this book to be hilarious, relatable, and, most importantly – healing. It’s not often that we see a mix of so many related topics nestled into one.
Editor-Approved Book about addressing negative body image: If you’re looking for a light-hearted but informative read on how to improve your relationship with food, I would highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book.
It’s a perfect gift for someone whose birthday falls in September-Self-Care Awareness month.
Fat Girls in Black Bodies: Creating Communities of Our Own
There’s this aloof nature in the wellness community where most people assume that black women don’t feel the ramifications of the anti-fat messaging. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Black women desperately need body positivity advocates within our communities because, given many of our personal experiences with family and our relationship with food and being placed on diets at such a young age, many of us are struggling with body confidence issues well into adulthood.
Editor-Approved Book about our own bodies as Black women: A book for women of all ages. This book is essential because it’s one of the few books that offer solutions to the unique challenges we face.
Structured in three sections: belonging, resistance, and acceptance, readers will find themselves identifying with at least one of the stages.
List of books covering self-esteem
My Beautiful Black Hair: 101 Natural Hair Stories from the Sisterhood
This book wasn’t mistakenly listed on this roundup. I chose to feature this book for a good reason. Black women and their hair stories are so intricate and relevant to the conversation due to how we place value on our hair and how many of us have struggled with low self-esteem in our hair’s current state.
Editor-Approved Book about natural hair stories for black women: The beauty myth for us that if our hair isn’t straight and silky, we’re not considered beautiful.
Curly hair is every bit beautiful, and this book is perfect for those who love viewing images paired with stories that books are about more than just hair. It’s about celebrating our blackness and the many ways we wear our hair with pride.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)
Welteroth’s passionate, refreshing voice shines throughout this book as she shares the personal struggles and profound insights of being a “barrier-breaker” in today’s society.
As a woman of color working in both media and fashion and repeatedly told that “you’re not enough,” Welteroth takes readers on her journey to find self-worth.
Ultimately reminding everyone out there just how powerful they can be when realizing that you are indeed worth so much more than you give yourself credit for.
Editor-Approved Book about confidence: How can you not have high self-esteem after reading this? Back when it was released in 2020, it became one of my favorite books that year.
I love a self-help book that has a heartwarming story leaving me feeling motivated to put in the self-work to address my own confidence issues.
GLORY: Magical Visions of Black Beauty
GLORY is a stunning collection of images that celebrate natural African-American hair and the many ways it can be styled.
With more than 100 gorgeous photos, this coffee table book tells stories about children who have inspiring styles done in their own uniquely beautiful way while also paying homage to our royal past with modern-day glories!
Editor-Approved Book with little black girls embracing their hair: Great for young readers and/or young girls who have been vocal about seeing more images of themselves in a positive light.
Honestly, I get a little teary-eyed as I turn the pages. It’s great to see the progress in this area when it comes to beautiful imagery with little black girls.
Self-Esteem is the New Black: How to become the confident woman you have always wanted to be!
The journey of Monique Mays from a single teen mother to the confident woman she is today has been one full of hard work and dedication. Her inspiring story leaves so many gems throughout reading it but also leaves you with valuable lessons on how self-confidence can be built step by step.
Editor-Approved Book that discusses having healthy self-esteem:
When searching for self-esteem books with BIPOC women in mind, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to find many books discussing the topic.
This is one of the reasons why I was so excited when I found this book. Not only is it written by a black woman, but it’s also incredibly relatable as she goes through her personal struggles with self-esteem.
Dear Black Girl: Letters from Your Sisters on Stepping Into Your Power
I don’t know a better book that is essentially a love letter and motivator to the younger generation of BIPOC women.
The cover is what resonated with me before even opening it. The overall feeling I took away from the book is that it’s like a slightly older sister giving her younger sister advice on celebrating your power and owning your black girl magic.
Editor-Approved Book that is perfect for young BIPOC women:
Dear Black Girl reminds us of the importance and power we hold as black women. It’s an excellent book for young women still trying to find their footing in this world. Who desire guidance from those who have already been through it.
It also gives me the feeling that it’s communicating to the little girl that we see and feel every now and then inside us. The one that needs to be nurtured celebrated, and loved.
A great starting point for books with positive body messages and confidence
Every single one of these books is essential reading for any BIPOC woman looking to improve her body image and self-esteem. They offer valuable lessons, inspiring stories, and beautiful imagery that celebrates the black women’s experience.
These books will be a great choice if you’re looking for an excellent read with positive body messages and confidence. So go out and get yourself one (or all!) of these books before the end of the year! You won’t regret it.
Check out our other lists of book round-ups
Self help books for black women