Diversity in literature is important to me. As a reader, I want to read about characters I can identify with. I also want to be able to see myself in the stories. When you’re brown (like me) those instances don’t happen that often, but within the last few years, it’s becoming easier to find those stories, but there’s always room for more!
Here are some titles that I’ve read that I’ve enjoyed. The characters are strong and the stories are fantastic. A particular troupe that will always grab my attention are mixed-race characters. My children are mixed race and I’m always looking for stories that they can find themselves in. The main character Madison in Everything, Everything is a thoughtful, brave young girl who happens to also be half black and half Chinese. The main character Kate Thompson in Vengeance Road who is smart and determined to avenge her father also happens to be half white and half Cherokee. In the short story Madeleine’s Choice from A Tyranny of Petticoats, Madeleine is sweet and loyal to her family and also happens to be from the gens de couleur libres—the free people of color class in 19th century New Orleans.
Another troupe that I enjoy are fairy tale retellings. It’s one of my favorite genres. Uprooted is a fantastic retelling of the Dragon and the Wood which happens to be inspired by a Polish folktale. Serpentine is about Sky Bright, a young girl who is devoted to serving her mistress, but also learns that she has demonic origins which happens to be inspired by the Chinese mythological demon snake creature who seduced men and then killed them afterward. Cinder takes place in New Beijing—a reimagined world inspired by China. The Star-Touched Queen is inspired by Indian folkore and myths.
Characters who are marginalized in some way is a theme I’d like to explore more. Cinder is a fantastic fairytale retelling about a girl who’s treated differently because she’s part cyborg. Dumplin’ is about Willow Dean who is overweight, but is happy and confident in herself until she starts a relationship with a boy. She begins to doubt whether or not he’s really interested in her or interested in her just at work.
If you get a chance, I highly recommend reading these titles! If you have, what did you think? What other stories do you enjoy?
#julywithcj “Diverse Books” • #sammyreadsjuly16 “one word title” and “cover love”