Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Nine Books That Feature Diversity

Okay, this week's prompt is a tricky one for me. I don't really think about diversity in my books, or at least I don't proactively go "I am looking for diversity." I just read what I read, and don't really think about whether specific books are "diverse" or not, so I'm not really sure about the criteria for identifying books as diverse. If any of the books on my list don't count as diverse, let me know in the comments section and I'll switch them out.

1. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
This one is easy. Riordan inserted diversity into the Percy Jackson universe with the subtlety of a sledgehammer when he devised this series. There are three girls and four boys. The races are: three caucasians, one Native American, one African American, one Chinese Canadian, and one Hispanic. One character (not part of the main seven) is gay. The whole series basically revolves around resolving differences between two "types" of demigods (Greek and Roman). It's all wonderfully diverse, and only sort of makes me dizzy.

2. All Fall Down by Ally Carter (my review)
Diversity is certainly not the focus of this great book about the granddaughter of an ambassador, but it's still ever-present on "Embassy Row," where people from dozens of different countries live side by side in their embassies. Grace's friends range from Russian to Israeli, just because all of her neighbors happy to be the kids/grandkids of ambassadors from other countries.

3. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (my review)
This isn't a book about racial diversity, but instead focuses on a girl with a clubfoot. She has spent her entire life living in a single room under the tyranny of her abusive mother, and the onset of World War II spells salvation for her as she flees to a world so completely different from her own.

4. Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff (my review)
There aren't many books written about below-average kids, so I think this can count as diversity. The main character provides a very different sort of "hero" than the usual super-talented smart kid.

5. Full Ride by Margaret Peterson Haddix (my review)
Again, diversity really isn't the focus of this amazing book. But it still plays a role, as Becca becomes friends with a group of kids from very diverse backgrounds/races and struggles in school. I think their varying identities help her to become comfortable with her own identity, even as she struggles to hide her past from them.

6. The Princess and the Foal by Stacy Gregg (my review)
This is a book about a Middle-Eastern princess, so I think diversity can be assumed. It doesn't deal directly with "diversity" per se, but the entire book paints the picture of a life very, very different from our American ones.

7. Ungifted by Gordon Korman (my review)
I can't even remember if there are any minority races in Ungifted, but I do know that the entire book is about a school for smart kids, where an average kid accidentally becomes enrolled. Donovan teaches his classmates lessons about living life off the academic path, and the contrast between "gifted" and "ungifted" is a good showing of diversity. Right? I don't know if I'm reaching a little too far here . . .

8. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
This is a gorgeous book, by the way! The main character loses his hearing in a thunderstorm when he gets struck by lightning, so it's told partly in pictures. The whole book revolves around being deaf, and I'd say that's pretty diverse.

9. The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
This seven-book series isn't really about diversity . . . but then, it also is. Some of Septimus's siblings go through some pretty wild periods, and their parents never, ever give up on them. Even when Simon goes evil, and the four middle boys go live in the Forest for like two years, and Jenna turns out to be the heir to the throne, they never for a moment pause to question why they still sacrifice everything for their kids. This sort of love and devotion is what should be at the core of diversity, I believe, because true diversity is simply loving others regardless of what they've done or how they look.

Whew, done! What do you think? Do you actively seek out books that feature diversity?

2 comments:

  1. Kind of kicking myself- I'm reading Heroes of Olympus right now and didn't even think about adding it to my list this week! It's super diverse, and I really love how he manages to represent so much, especially since it's a kids series. It's important that everyone gets to feel like they can be a hero. Great list! My TTT: http://tsundokubooks.blogspot.com/2015/07/top-ten-tuesday-top-ten-books-that.html

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    1. Yeah, Riordan's definitely got diversity covered! I do appreciate what he was trying to do by representing so many different minorities, but for me personally it got a little overwhelming. I started mixing characters up who really shouldn't have been hard to keep straight (read: Piper and Hazel). But maybe that's just me. :P

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