Diversity in books is a topic that had flared up during social media over the past few months. If it doesn’t sound familiar to you, then maybe the tag #WeNeedMoreDiverseBooks does. As a fellow reader, and book blogger, I would like to share my thoughts and opinions on this interesting trope.
What is a Diverse Book?
Here’s Banned Book Week coalition definition:
We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.
Meaning, that a book is diverse if it has a character that is not white, but a different color/ethnicity/race, or gender.
Are Diverse Books Important (and do we really need them?)
The answer is YES! Diversity in books has many positive impacts for this generation.
- Learning Different Cultures – Diverse books exposes the reader to a different culture, and maybe even a different lifestyle. This could lead to a better understanding towards that specific culture, and maybe even stop discrimination.
- Relatable – Being able to connect, and relate to a character from personal levels, is a great thing in a book. Not all people are white, therefore, not all people won’t connect to the main characters. However, write a book about an Asian girl who’s trying to make her life in the world, but is refrained because of culture, it will pertain to other readers. Readers who might understand what this girl is going through, it might make them feel less alone/
- Spices things up – Same old person with blue -gray eyes, brown hair. Those charestics are repeated over, and over are bound to get boring. Why not introduce a colored girl with pink hair, brown eyes? Doesn’t that sound a bit more interesting?
Falling in love, getting cancer, facing taunts, losing a loved one doesn’t happen to everyone. That’s just another reason for why we need diverse books, it makes everyone feel less alone.
This is the number of of Children’s book written by/about African/African Americans, American Indians/First Nations, Asian Pacific/ Asian Pacific Americans, and Latinos
As you can see, it’s not a lot. From 2002-2016 the number of children book authors written by African/African Americans has increased by only 23 people, and from 2002-2016 the amount of book about American Indians/First Nations has decreased by almost 10 books.
What WE think about diversity
I asked bloggers around the blogosphere, and here’s what they thought
- Mahriya @ MyBookishLife – Diverse books are REALLY important. When I was younger, I always wondered why the main characters were never people of colour or of any different religions. The characters I read about were always so ‘normal’ but yet nothing like me. I was yet to read a book about maybe a girl or boy who didn’t look PRETTY and had beautiful hair, eyes and a wonderful life. I was yet to read a book where the characters had different rules, wore different clothes, had different cultures. Diverse characters for me are so important.
I think the beauty of diversity does not just lie in the writing and character but in the representation, and the introduction of different lifestyles to all people. Diverse books are so much more realistic as they focus on the minorities that exist and should be noticed.
- Huriyah @ SugarQuills – I think there’s a lot of improvement to be made in the representation of people identifying as LGBTQIA+ (especially POC). I’d like to see more representations of South Asians in books and I’d especially love to see better representation of people with mental illnesses like depression and eating disorders.
So what do you think about diversity in books? What are some things you want to see more/less of?