Tuesday, March 10, 2015

More Diversity in Your Book Diet

Hello Lovelies! As usual Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the lovely people over at The Broke and the Bookish. Today's topic is Top Ten Books for People Who Like X, and I'm going to go with...

Top Ten Books for People Who Like Diversity

Thanks to the efforts of groups like We Need Diverse Books, diversity is having a resurgence in young adult and children's books. For the last couple years, I have been trying to read more books with diverse characters or by diverse authors. (Diverse in this respect includes race, sexuality, gender, and disability). I haven't endeavored to challenge myself to only read a certain type of book i.e. only those by women of color or anything that isn't by a white heterosexual male, but I try to be extra aware of the characters and ask myself if they actually are white (sometimes the text doesn't say it, sometimes people just assume it!) and if being white is necessary for the character or not. 

But here are my top ten books featuring diversity in some aspect.

1.The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin: This nonfiction book for young readers tells the story of the Port Chicago 50 who were tried for mutiny during World War II. All of the Port Chicago 50 are black men. This book isn't perfect (it's written by a white male which is a little unfortunate, and there are very few women mentioned), but it's a great introduction to a piece of history which is largely ignored. (Features black main characters)

2. Monster by Walter Dean Myers: Myers was a powerhouse in young adult fiction. His narratives almost always focus on young black men. Monster is the story of Steve who was arrested during a robbery. It alternates screenplay writing with journaling, and it's incredibly powerful. With the consistent villainization and murder of young black men (and women), this is an important story for everyone to read. (Features black main characters)

3. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: I've been raving about this book constantly, but it's for a good reason. Noah is thirteen and falling in love with the boy next door. Jude is sixteen and broken. A Spanish master artist also plays a major role in their lives. Over all, just a stunning book. It also recently won a Stonewall Honor and the Printz Award. (Features gay main characters)

4. Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick: This slightly fictionalized account of the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond will leave you speechless. Arn Chorn survived the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979, and what he saw and how he lived through it is simply incredible. (Features Cambodian main characters)

5.  Like No Other by Una LaMarche: A Romeo-and-Juliet-esque love story featuring a Hasidic Jewish girl, Devorah, and a black boy, Jaxon. They meet in New York City during a blackout in a hospital elevator. Devorah isn't really supposed to talk to other people without a male from her family present, but Jaxon is too nice and too kind to ignore. They find out they live mere blocks from one another. But will they be able to have a relationship when everyone in their lives is against it? (Features black and Jewish main characters)

6. Boxers (or anything else, really) by Gene Luen Yang: Yang writes Chinese main characters for his graphic novels. American Born Chinese is also fantastic and tends to be his most well-known work, but I also really enjoyed Boxers. Boxers recounts the history of the Boxer Rebellion in China from Little Bao's perspective. It's got a great magical-realism element to it which really highlights the ancient Chinese gods which Christianity was trying to stamp out. It also gives a great perspective to people who grow up with Christianity as their prominent ideology. (Features Chinese main characters and Chinese religion)

7. The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness: Oh man, this series is so good. It's a series that I always have a hard time explaining because I feel like if you give too much away, the series isn't as good. So I'm just going to give is a YOU MUST READ THIS annotation and leave it at that. (Features many diverse races, gay characters, deviant gender roles, possible non-gender conforming characters)

8. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: Cinder retells the Cinderella fairy tale with Lihn Cinder as the main character: an Asian cyborg mechanic. It's just a really kick-ass series which retells a different fairy tale in each book, while still adding more to the narrative of Cinder.  (Cinder features Asian main characters)

9. Liar by Justine Larbalestier: Liar is a mindtrip of a book. It tells the story of Micah who has the reputation of being a liar. And it's up to the reader to decide whether Micah really is just a liar or whether she's telling an insane truth. (Features black main characters)

10. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman: Seraphina is the first book in this series, but I found Shadow Scale to have way more diverse characters (And I would argue that you don't necessarily need to read Seraphina before reading Shadow Scale). There's an older gay couple, a transgender woman, several characters with disabilities, several different races (which can be mirrored to Earth-based race in a couple different ways, and one which cannot) and (what I'm saying is, although could be open to interpretation) a canonically bisexual character in a polygamous relationship. Hell yeah. (Features racially diverse characters, lgbtqia+ main characters, characters with disabilities)

So that's my list. Have you read any of these books? Add them to your reading list! Have I missed a diverse book that is a must-read? Let me know in the comments!!


  1. Great topic to pick I don't read a lot of diverse books I really must change that.

    My TTT http://readingawaythedays.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/top-ten-book-for-readers-who-like.html

  2. Your list is super unique!
    My ttt

  3. I haven't read any of the books on your list, but I have to agree that it's fun reading about people from different nationalities. :) Aidyl @ Noveltea

  4. I have to add a few of these on my TBR list. Like Like No Other and Liar. Outstanding list!!!

  5. Great list, some of those are already on my to read list (I'll give you the sun and the knife of never letting go seem really aweesome!), and I think it's a great idea to pick diverse books for your list! :D
    You can check out my list if you have some time : http://wp.me/p5pugy-8L :D