Best Books on Dealing With Microaggresions

I recently had some clients requesting books on navigating microaggressions. Microaggressions are defined as the everyday, subtle, intentional or even unintentional — interactions, attitudes or behaviours that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalised groups (women, people of colour, LGQBT+, indigenous people, religious minorities, people with disabilities, refugees and immigrants, socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, amongst many more). It could be a simple insult, comment, gesture or even ignorance which can be quite hurtful or painful. The problem is that microaggressions are 'micro' and so often we question our reaction to them, often minimising or dismissing our feelings. However, it's really important to listen to our feelings, feel them no matter how painful and be self-compassionate by drawing the right boundaries we need to in order to respond effectively. Sometimes this might even mean walking away from a relationship be that professional or personal. Here is a selection of literature (fiction, non-fiction and books for kids) that provides guidance on dealing with microaggressions. I hope it's helpful❤


Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation (Non-fiction) by Derald Wing Sue

Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation by [Derald Wing Sue]

Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation by Derald Wing Sue is a book that explores the concept of microaggressions. Defined as brief, everyday exchanges that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target individuals based on their marginalized group membership. These messages can be verbal, nonverbal, or environmental, and they can be intentional or unintentional.

Sue argues that microaggressions are a form of everyday racism, sexism, and heterosexism. He contends that they can have a significant negative impact on the mental and emotional health of target individuals. The book provides a comprehensive overview of microaggressions, including their definition, types, impact, and ways to combat them.

Microaggressions in Everyday Life is an important book that raises awareness of a form of discrimination that is often overlooked. It's a valuable resource for anyone who wants to understand the impact of microaggressions and how to create a more inclusive and equitable society.

Here are some of the key points that Sue makes in the book:

  • Microaggressions are common and pervasive. They can occur in any context, including the workplace, school, and healthcare settings.
  • Microaggressions can have a significant negative impact on the mental and emotional health of target individuals. They can lead to feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, and depression.
  • Microaggressions can also have a negative impact on the performance of target individuals. They can lead to lower self-esteem, decreased motivation, and increased absenteeism.
  • There are a number of things that can be done to combat microaggressions. These include educating people about microaggressions, developing strategies for coping with microaggressions, and creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

A well-researched and well-written book that's an important contribution to the field of equality, diversity and inclusion psychology.

Microaggressions and Traumatic Stress (Non-fiction) by Kevin L Nadal

Microaggressions and Traumatic Stress: Theory, Research, and Clinical Treatment (Concise Guides on Trauma Care Series) by [Kevin Leo Yabut Nadal]

In his thought-provoking work, Kevin L. Nadal challenges conventional notions of trauma by delving into the latest research on the effects of microaggressions. He explores how the cumulative impact of subtle discriminatory experiences, when endured over time, can lead to symptoms comparable to those observed in cases of severe trauma.

Traditionally, trauma has been associated with direct exposure to or witnessing of actual or threatened death, as well as serious physical harm. However, contemporary perspectives have broadened this understanding. Recent studies have sought to uncover the connection between enduring persistent, often seemingly insignificant acts of social discrimination and the development of trauma. In a world undergoing rapid change, where discrimination frequently dominates the news cycle, more individuals are becoming aware of the daily microaggressions that may pervade their lives. These ongoing stressors can act as triggering mechanisms, significantly impacting their ability to cope with life's challenges and affecting their self-esteem and relationships.

This concise yet comprehensive volume incorporates illuminating case studies, providing practitioners with valuable insights to comprehend and effectively address the trauma stemming from enduring subtle and elusive microaggressions.

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

British feminist, activist and journalist Caroline Criado Perez researches one of the main root causes of gender inequality, investigating women’s domestic lives, their working lives, the public sphere, medical structures and many more. Diving into hundreds of studies across the world, the book reveals how much data does not account for gender — instead both genders are treated as default male, resulting in discrimination and gender bias built across systems and products. This means that women bear the costs of these — their time, their money, their life and every other resource — women sacrifice the most. The book might leave you feeling angry but enlightened and more aware so that we can do more to help both genders, as inevitably costs to women do eventually filter down to the male gender too. 

If you read some of the reviews of the book, it is eye-opening to here that male reviewers themselves, were shocked at how so much data is not collected, leading to women’s needs not being met in so many aspects of daily life. The author was a finalist for the FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year.


All the Lives We Never Lived (Fiction) by Anuradha Roy 

All the Lives We Never Lived: Shortlisted for the 2020 International DUBLIN Literary Award by [Anuradha Roy]

Anuradha Roy's book "All the Lives We Never Lived" is a work of fiction that explores themes of freedom, identity, and personal liberation. Set against the backdrop of India's struggle for independence, the story follows the journey of Myshkin Chand Rozario, a young boy growing up in the 1930s.

The novel is primarily narrated by Myshkin's daughter, who recounts her father's unconventional life and the impact it had on their family. Myshkin's mother, Gayatri, plays a central role in the narrative as a fiercely independent woman who defies societal norms and leaves her family in search of personal freedom. As Gayatri embarks on a journey of self-discovery, Myshkin is left behind, longing for her return.

The book explores the complex dynamics of relationships, the choices individuals make, and the consequences that ripple through generations. It delves into the themes of sacrifice, desire, and the consequences of pursuing one's own dreams in the face of societal expectations.

"All the Lives We Never Lived" offers a poignant exploration of personal and national histories, examining the ways in which personal desires and aspirations can be overshadowed by political and social forces. Through vivid storytelling and rich characterization, Anuradha Roy invites readers to contemplate the profound impact of the lives we lead and the lives we never had the chance to live.



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You might also find it helpful to explore these feelings in a bibliotherapy session or learn some bibliotherapy techniques to help you process these feelings by completing our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course or our book Bibliotherapy: The Healing Power of Reading.

A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.

You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.

In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish two books called Bibliotherapy: The Healing Power of Reading and The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at or

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