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We Need Diverse Books

The dictionary definition of diverse is, "showing a great deal of variety, very different". Their example is a very diverse population.

So why is this important in books?

Many of us, especially on NMG, love books and inhale them, looking for characters to sympathize with. Books tell hundreds of different stories, each one a unique idea of a character.

But how unique are they?

In 2016, people of color made up 22% of all children's books. In 2017, 79 children's books featuring LGBT+ characters were published by mainstream publishers. Out of the 22 million books sold on Amazon, less than 0.003 of them featured disabled protagonists.

How does this impact children's books in particular?

If children and teens are only given books featuring one kind of protagonist over and over and over, it begins to sink in that perhaps, this is the only successful protagonist. One of the reasons books are so amazing is because you can pick them up and understand the character. But it's important to see yourself reflected in many different kinds of books, which is a rarity. Not only that, but many of these diverse books are about why the character is diverse, instead of about a character who just so happens to be diverse.

Plus, in order to understand one another better as people, it's very important that we can learn to see things from another person's viewpoint. this also involves finding many different sources and learning how different facets of a person can impact how they go through life. As a result, it's important to have books that show all different kinds of people, not one person.

How can we help?

I have picked up many books with diverse characters that have been recommended to me by someone on NMG. Plenty of books are out there, waiting to be read, but you might not know about them because you haven't heard about them. if you pick up a book you love and then recommend it to a friend, they might love it as well, and might give it to an adult to read. Say the adult is a teacher, and purchases the book to put in their class. Now many more people will read it, all because you picked it up. In order to cause these butterfly effects, we need to start spreading the word.

I've included a short form next, which you can fill out each time you read a book that you think someone needs to read. Please fill out all categories, and then watch the butterfly effect of diverse books spread from one person to the next.

The Form:

 

Title:

Author:

Genre:

Summary (No spoilers!):

Why is it diverse?

Age rating:

Your rating: {Optional}

Other:

 

 

 

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Replies

  • I'm reading this right now and I haven't finished it yet but it's sooooo good!!

    Title: Symptoms of being human

    Author: Jeff Garvin

    Genre: Maybe realistic fiction...?

    Summary (No spoilers!): Copied from Amazon: Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn't exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in über-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley's life.

    On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it's really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley's starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley's real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out and risk everything.

    Why is it diverse? Riley is genderfluid

    Age rating: Amazon said 14-16 but I'm 12 and I think a more correct rating is mature 10 year old+

    Your rating: {Optional} 100,000,000,000,000,000/10

    Other: IT'S REALLY GOOD!!!!
    • i'd like to say after finishing it it actually has some mature content just as a warning :)
    • i'm putting this on my wish list right now :D
    • I think this is on my list!!
    • Oooh, that sounds really good!
      • ^^^^^^^^^^^^
  • Title: The Brightsiders

    Author: Jen Wilde

    Genre: Realistic fiction/romance

    Summary (No spoilers!): Emmy King is the star drummer of the hit teen band The Brightsiders. After landing herself in the hospital after a night of partying, her life is turned around. And suddenly she finds herself falling for her bandmate Alfie. She knows that if their secret relationship is discovered, she’d be involved in a clickbait scandal once again, and on top of all that, she has to deal with her emotionally abusive parents and ex-girlfriend. Will she find the strength to stand on her own?

    Why is it diverse? I think this is the most effortlessly diverse book I’ve seen in quite a while. Maybe ever. Emmy is bi (and regularly shatters bi stereotypes in her narration!); Alfie is genderqueer and pan (and the book actually uses the P in LGBTQIPA+!) and has social anxiety disorder; their bandmate Ryan is Korean American; Emmy’s best friend Chloe is nonbinary femme, black, and bi, and uses they/them; and one character thinks he’s straight but later discovers he’s bi (not going to say who, because it’s a spoiler ;) ). There are diverse and well fleshed-out side characters too. It’s a great book.

    Age rating: 14-15+ for frequent language and mature themes, including alcoholism

    Your rating: ... this might be one of the best standalone books I’ve ever read. it’s incredible and I love it. The characters are so well-developed, the writing style flows really well and is just amazing (and filled with music fandom references!), the story itself is engaging... it’s the greatest. I hope I’ll meet someone else who’s read it because it’s great.

    Other: yeeeeee
    • omg i want to read this but i’m only 11. i’m coming for you 14!
This reply was deleted.

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