Look at that! Is it already time for another Top Ten Tuesday? This week’s theme is DIVERSITY and books that celebrate such things.
Now, I am quite diverse myself (well, not really… but I like to say that because I would be a pretty rare character if I was in a book). I’m Indian but I identify more closely as simply American, and barely know anything about Indian culture. But I still like to read books that feature diverse characters! And quite honestly, we need more books that feature racially diverse and LGBTQIA+ characters because… there aren’t enough of them!
1) AFTERWORLDS by Scott Westerfeld
Well, this one has to be on the top of my list because it features an (a) Indian, (b) lesbian, (c) female protagonist who doesn’t identify as Indian but rather as American. And even if the diversity is pretty badly done (*cough MrWesterfeldnotallIndiansarevegetarians cough*), it’s still the closest representation of me that I’ve ever seen, because this is the only book I’ve ever read with an Indian character in America not considered “exotic” and whose narrative doesn’t focus solely on her racial identity. (Which I think says something about this, but *SIGH*)
2) THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION by Nancy Farmer
Because YAY characters who are primarily from Mexico (!!!) and speak a language other than English! And also, you know, sci-fi and a great storyline and all that.
3) ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Sàenz
OKAY OKAY I know I already used this one, but I’m already running out of diverse books. Just looking at my bookshelf, I’m slowly realizing how many of my books feature white, straight characters. I mean, a lot of them are female, but… really?? Such little diversity??
4) I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson
I’M GRASPING AT STRAWS HERE, PEOPLES. STRAWS. It has come down to this. So I guess it has like one or two gay characters, I think? And it’s certainly very sweet and beautifully told but honestly that’s only a small part of the book and it’s completely white, so ??? I guess this counts as diversity but maybe I’m cheating. If that is the case: oops.
5) GRACEFULLY GRAYSON by Ami Polonsky
JUST. GO. READ. THIS. BOOK. NOW. No further questions. ZIP. ZILCH. NADA. GO READ IT AND CRY WITH ME. (Okay, okay, fine, I’ll give you something to chew on: it’s about a tennish-year-old transgender girl named Grayson who is struggling with her transition and coming out and basically being accepted by everyone around her.)
6) THE INNOCENT ASSASSINS by Pema Donyo
Because who doesn’t like Chinese female protagonists that kick butt and become double agents for the CIA while they’re at it??
7) WHEN REASON BREAKS by Cindy L. Rodriguez
I admit it, I admit it: this isn’t one of my favorite books. In fact, it only got 3.5 stars. For any other Top Ten Tuesday, these would have all been 4.5 or 5 star books for me, but… not today. Because, oddly, there are so few diverse books!
8) BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER MEET ME by Leah Thomas
I KNOW I KNOW I already used this one. (Again.) But one of the characters is (a) gay, if my memory serves me correctly, and (b) lives in another country. Does it make the list? I think yes. Also, there are very diverse allergies contained in these pages.
9) FAREWELL TO MANZANAR by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
Another 3.5 star book. But what can I say?? I’m struggling here. I went through hundreds of “diverse” books on Listopia, and most of the ones I’d read weren’t diverse themselves, but were written by non-white authors. SADNESS.
10) MY YET-AS-UNWRITTEN NOVEL and PROBABLY MOST OF MY WRITTEN ONES by Me
Because OF COURSE my novel will contain diversity! I found a really cool chart for Diversity Bingo (see above), and it’s surprisingly hard to pass all of them. Does your novel get at least three of these?
Overall, I AM SAD. Because finding this many books was hard! And what makes me ESPECIALLY SAD is that a majority of diverse books focus on sexuality (which is important!), but I can’t seem to find books that have female POC protagonists… and I’d REALLLLLYYYYYYYY like to see some books with female, teenage, Indian protagonists who maybe don’t identify so much with their Indian heritage and are not considered “exotic” and have a storyline that is not so focused on their racial identity.