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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

  • Title: Before I Let Go

    Author: Marieke Nijkamp (unsure on pronunciation :P)

    Genre: ... honestly i don't even know. at the beginning i'd have said realistic fiction but it got rEally weird (like, honest-to-goodness borderline Night Vale weird at some points) so xD

    Summary (No spoilers!): In the isolated Alaskan town of Lost Creek, something dark has occurred.
    Mere days before main character Corey is to return to her former hometown to visit her best friend Kyra, Kyra mysteriously dies. Corey's mother tells her it was a suicide, but Corey suspects something deeper is going on, especially when she comes back and everyone shuns her, treating her like a stranger, an outsider, even though she'd lived there for sixteen years. And why does the community that once ostracized Kyra because of her mental illness suddenly have nothing but praise for her and artistic talents? Why are they all talking about Kyra's prophesizing her own death, and saying it was meant to be?
    Over five harrowing days, Corey begins to uncover bits of what really happened. But will she be able to face the whole truth? And will she even be able to survive herself?

    Why is it diverse? Kyra has intense struggles with bipolar disorder and manic episodes. Some way into the story it is revealed that Corey is ace, and Kyra is pan (I think this is the first time I've ever seen both actually stated and canon in a book). There are some more diverse side characters later on but that'll spoil part of the story {;)

    Age rating: 14-15+ for mature themes and some intense sequences

    Your rating: 7.5/10. This is one of the most interestingly written books I've ever read. Told by Corey in the span of her five-day visit to Lost Creek, frequently shortened to simply 'Lost', we also get frequent flashbacks that broaden our knowledge of Kyra and Corey's friendship (though after a while they began to feel really repetitive), even through the rough spots. Sometimes there are also phone call transcriptions, and the occasional short chapter written like the script of a play (which was odd). As the story goes on, we begin to see just how sinister the people of the small (less than 300 residents), isolated town really are - willing to let people die just to keep their secrets. They become so homogeneous, almost cultlike, in some scenes it's actually frightening. Very intriguing and suspenseful story. However, the paranormal elements/magical realism (?) are strange and don't really seem to fit in anywhere, it kind of seemed like the author was trying too hard to keep the readers engaged (I never like that), so that was a bit weird and confusing and I wasn't a fan that those parts were never explained.

    Other: The author is a part of the We Need Diverse Books organization mentioned in the tags. xD
  • Title: Meet Me in Outer Space

    Author: Melinda Grace

    Genre: Realistic Fiction

    Summary (No spoilers!): Edie Kits has a learning disability. Well, not a learning disability exactly, but a disability that impacts her learning. It isn't visible, it isn't obvious, and it isn't something she likes to advertise.

    And for three semesters of college, her hard work and perseverance have carried her through. Edie thinks she has her disability under control until she meets her match with a French 102 course and a professor unwilling to help her out.

    Why is it diverse? Edie (the main character) has a "learning disability" and I think it's important to recognize disabled people

    Age rating: 11/12+? (I have a mature reading level)

    Your rating: {Optional}

    Other: Its on Goodreads
  • I’m the only one who’s ever on this board anymore ;-;

    Title: On a Sunbeam

    Author: Tillie Walden

    Genre: Science fiction/romance

    Summary (No spoilers!): Out in the far reaches of the universe, a restoration crew residing in a fish-shaped spaceship works to repair old, abandoned buildings.
    Five years ago, a girl named Mia met a girl named Grace. They were freshmen in a space boarding school, and quickly fell for each other.
    Then, Grace left.
    Now, Mia is part of the space crew, learning the work and about her new ‘family’, when they decide to undertake a dangerous mission through space to reunite the two girls at long last.

    Why is it diverse? One of the most remarkable things about this book is that there is no indication of the male gender, or if men even existed in the first place. Every character, main or supporting or background, is female, with the exception of ship mechanic Ell, who is non-binary. Char and Grace are also women of color.

    Age rating: 13+ for somewhat frequent language

    Your rating: {Optional} 9/10. I loved the style and color palette, too.

    Other: read itttt
    it’s also a webcomic that can be read online for freeee

    Also, I checked out one of the author’s other graphic novels, Spinning, and I’m really enjoying it so far. She’s written like three other books, and she’s only like 23! I really admire that, and her, and she’s given me inspiration. :D
    • i'm reading it in webcomic form and alhsklhfalh
      are the other ones also webcomics, or is it just On a Sunbeam? :0
      • No, I don’t think the others are :/

        hAHAHA I HAVE CONVERTED THREE PEOPLE IN HALF A DAY
        • darn :/

          THANK YOU SO MUCH ELL IS A B L E S S I N G
    • Augh, Spinning is a true sensation. I'll read this soonish.
      • I just finished it, it was awesome <3
        I'm 100% checking out The End of Summer and I Love This Part, as well.
    • That sounds amazing! I will go read it soon xD
This reply was deleted.

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