Yes, books can be windows to other worlds, other lives.
Also they should be mirrors where we can see ourselves, yet the majority of kids’ and young adult books published in the US don’t reflect that. (see my June 2014 post here for statistics)
Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day which aims to open eyes, spark discussion, provide resources, and spread the word about the available books with main characters who are not white, middle-class, and straight.
Visit the site to find myriad book lists by category, from Asian American Books for Kids of All Ages to Diverse Biography Picture Books, as well as book lists by geographic region and holidays.
You know that I recommend books outside bestsellers (where, let’s face it, the leads are most often white, hetero, economically comfortable), so I find wonderful diverse titles that lots of folks will enjoy. BookRiot’s recent article on “How to Read Diversely” highlights more ways to find good reads with diverse characters.
#ReadYourWorld or someone else’s with these recent books (click title for my no-spoilers recommendation):
Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, by Joel Christian Gill – graphic novel featuring African Americans not shown in history books
Shelter, by Patricia Aust – trying to be a man without resorting to Dad’s violence
Orleans, by Sherri L. Smith – deadly Delta Fever is least of Fen’s worries in post-apocalyptic Gulf Coast
The Chaos, by Nalo Hopkinson – Jamaican-Canadian teen seeks her brother in city overtaken by mythic, storybook, nightmare beings
Riding Invisible, by Sandra Alonzo – escaping on horseback from violence at home
Shadow Hero, by Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew – graphic novel of first Asian American superhero
Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel, by Diana Lopez – Mom’s cancer, Chia’s promesas, answers not always clear
Need more? Watch for Diverse Books as Genre in column on the right (under all the tags) – updating in progress.
What diverse books are your favorites?