Good Afternoon Readers 🙂
(super excited for this one)
I’ve always been taught that if you have a problem with something you should first look to yourself to make sure you’re making an active change so that you’re not another hypocrite. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my “White (Straight) Girls in Dresses” books. I love reading books, and I used to not care the race of the main character but I’m getting older. As a person of color who is a writer and book blogger and industry intern who plans on writing and working withing the book industry forever (at least a while), I know that I have to make an active change to do better. I can’t expect other people to do better if I’m not going to.
I’ve always been the one to argue that you shouldn’t just buy a book because it’s written by a person of color or features people of color, etc…because it’s whether the book is good that should decide whether you buy it, support it… But times are changing, and I plan on being the change (cliche right?).
The Solution (not really…baby steps):
I’ve created a ‘Diversity in YA’ book list!
It will be a permanent feature this blog’s menu. As a short disclaimer, this is not a comprehensive list, and most of the books are YA Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Paranormal or Fantasy because I read a lot of that growing up and I could always find contemporary books featuring poc or queer characters or authors but never/rarely the other genres. That being said, I have and will continue to include contemporary books that I feel have been especially moving to me or that I really want to read/think others should read. Also like I said it’s not a comprehensive list, meaning you should comment on the page if you have any suggestions (remember, I’m just getting started).
Below are some questions I figured people might ask, if you have others post them in the comments 🙂
Why are you doing this?
Haha, as one of the many loves of my life, Josh Whedon likes to say “because you’re still asking”
Fine, grumpy pants…because I’m black, I’m queer, I’m a woman, and I’ve been reading & writing YA since I was a little girl and not much has changed (diversity wise).
See the post that started it all: White (Straight) Girls in Dresses
Have you read all of the books?
No, I have not, yes, I plan to.
Are all the books YA?
They should be right? But they’re not. I have a couple NA books & a non-fiction book (still for teens though) thrown in there. Couldn’t resist, sorry but it’s close enough.
Does this mean you’re never going to feature non-straight or poc books/authors?
1. Would it/why does it matter if I did?
2. Haha no. I’d never have any books to feature if that were the case. Okay, joking (mildly true) but no, I love to read, what kind of avid reader/writer would I be if I did that? My “new” motto is story first, if the story isn’t good, no matter how diverse the cast or author, I’m not going to give the book high ratings, I will however support the book because just because I didn’t like a book, doesn’t mean someone else won’t. (This has really always been my motto, which is why I rate & talk about the books I review.)
What if I want suggestions on diverse books, want to know your thoughts on a book, etc…
1. You can contact me, always, anytime…I respond within 1-2 days.
2. You can check out this amazing resource: Diversity in YA Tumblr & Diversity in YA Website (website is no longer updated but has a lot of great information/author interviews) – founded by authors Malinda Lo & Cindy Pon (who are some of the first “diversity in ya” authors I’ll be reading)
“As someone who is not a person of color and who worries about messing up myself, I am probably the last person who should be giving anyone advice. But I think that we as writers have an obligation to tell the truth about the world — and diverse world is a true world. I also think that we have to be conscious of which stories are ours to tell, which stories we have points of identification with and which stories we need to do more work if we want tell responsibly.”
What’s the last book you’ve read by a non-white author or featuring non-white characters (supporting ones count)?
P.S. This blog post series on ‘Do Girls of Color Survive Dystopia’, is great, echos my sentiments exactly, and is where I got at least 1/3 of my books for the list from.