About Tuma's Books
To offer readers of all ages diverse, compelling books representing the different cultural identities, traditions, and experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) people that they might not otherwise find on their own.
All readers, especially those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color and have been historically underrepresented, deserve to see their heritage, culture, and experiences validated and represented in great stories. There is also great power in reading diversely and learning about others to help build empathy and a more inclusive world without racism, bigotry, or prejudice. Book representation matters; let's read diversely!
My name is Fatuma (aka Tuma) Hydara, and I am an educator-reader-entrepreneur.
I've always been book-obsessed. As a child, I hid under my covers with a flashlight reading late into the night. Growing up, books and stories were gateways into worlds and experiences that were so different from my own as the oldest daughter of West African, Muslim immigrants, living in The Bronx, NY. Reading opened up my world and made me the open-minded, empathetic, and intellectual person that I am.
However, it wasn't until college when I first discovered Chimamanda Adiche that I experience the warmth of reading books that authentically represent who you are and value your identities. A few years later, I discovered Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and once again I was shocked by the existence of Black, African-inspired fantasy (my favorite genre) not believing it existed. As an educator, I began journey of diversifying the texts I brought into the classroom for my Black and Brown students. They too needed access to books that represented who they are.
In addition, I value the power of connection, service, and providing others with what they need. I truly believe that knowledge is power and equity. A person might lack certain opportunities, but you can always read and learn. I believe that the more we learn about others, the more accepting and tolerable we become. So, reading is not only fun, but it helps make you a better fellow human.
How I Got Started
While I chose teaching as my life's work for the past nearly ten years, I've always secretly wanted to have my own bookstore to further share my love of words, books, and reading. The chaos of Covid-19 and quarantine has provided me with time to further explore this dream. After weeks of waffling, Tuma's Books and my Monthly Book Club was born out of exploring other book boxes and realizing that they lacked cultural diversity. In a publishing industry where books by writers of color/global majority are not mainstream, I wanted to do my part in getting amazing (and often overlooked) books into the hands of readers who would appreciate diversity the most.
I'm still growing, but I'm super excited about helping other readers diversify their reading in authentic and powerful ways.
What I Offer
You want uniquely diverse books, right? Because you know that representation is important and that diversifying the identities, experiences, and perspectives of people we read about makes us more knowledgeable, empathetic, and powerful members of society.
But how are readers who value diversity supposed to find diverse books when Stephen King and Colleen Hoover and celebrity memoirs are at the top of MOST bestsellers lists? Or when the same types of stories, identities, and representation are given the BULK of the marketing dollars from publishers? OR when non-BIPOC writers are being paid (and usually MORE) to write our stories?
You turn to your indie bookstores. At Tuma’s Books, I’m here to get down and dirty, scouring the internet and publisher catalogs for titles that represent diverse cultural backgrounds that you might not otherwise find on your own. I aim to offer you titles that help you grow, inspire you, and/or leave you in awe.
I’m the book bestie with the best recs, whose recommendations almost always become your new favorite reads. I get to know my customers intimately, meaning I can make pretty personalized recs. You can call me the Diverse Book Matchmaker Fairy Buddy (the name needs work…). As an avid reader and an experienced educator, I’m good at finding the right book for the right reader.
Find your new favorite reads today. You don’t have to keep reading the same old stories that are presented to you. Expand your horizons at Tuma’s Books with its carefully selected titles by culturally diverse, BIPOC authors because authentic representation matters. 🏾