I was planning on scheduling this post for a couple of weeks away, but with everything that’s happened lately I decided now was an extremely important time to help promote diverse books.
I’m not sure what to say about the US election results. As a white woman with privilege I feel shattered so I can not imagine what POCs/Muslims in the US and world wide are feeling. I’m also thinking of my fellow LBGTQIA+ community members. I’m so, so sorry this happened and I would have given anything to take the place of someone who didn’t vote or who put in a fake vote. My heart hurts because I knew there were some awful people in the world, but I ignorantly had no idea just how many. I’m thousands and thousands of miles away, but I will be fighting along side you all as much as I possibly can.
Also, white people – WE helped caused this. Don’t forget that. It’s time for us, now more than ever, to shut up and listen when POC are speaking to us. For example, If they say a book is racist – it’s racist. The end.
I’m here if anyone needs to talk/shout/cry.
- Credit the original creator, Read Diverse Books.
- The Diverse Books Tagis a bit like a scavenger hunt. I will task you to find a book that fits a specific criteria and you will have to show us a book you have read or want to read.
- If you can’t think of a book that fits the specific category, then I encourage you to go look for one.A quick Google search will provide you with many books that will fit the bill. (Also, Goodreads lists are your friends.) Find one you are genuinely interested in reading and move on to the next category.
Everyone can do this tag, even people who don’t own or haven’t read any books that fit the descriptions below. So there’s no excuse! The purpose of the tag is to promote the kinds of books that may not get a lot of attention in the book blogging community.
Find a book starring a lesbian character
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.
Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?
With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.
I’m so ashamed with myself for not having read ANY books that focus around a lesbian relationship. I’ve heard so many amaizng things about this book and I hope I can get to it soon!
Find a book with a Muslim protagonist
Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!
Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American. As well as your normal superhero going ons you also see Kamala address her Muslim faith. It’s not ignored. This is such a great place to start reading if you’ve never read comics before. It’s super fun, full of important issues and diverse characters. G. Willow Wilson is also Muslim.
Find a book set in Latin America
Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.
Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.
This was one of my favourite reads this year.This book is set in Puerto Rico and everything is so rich and alive. It’s full of culture and legends. The setting honestly feels like a character of its own. This book is magical realism and very vague and open ended, but done in the best way because everything comes full circle. Think The Raven Cycle meets Poison Ivy. Lucas is also biracial and white passing, but acknowledges his privilege.
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.
The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…
This book isn’t technically set in Latin America, but is set in Los Lagos which is an underworld type place rich in Latinx culture. I loved the world and magic in this. Alex is also bisexual.
Find a book about a person with a disability
(I hope it’s okay to class mental illness as a disability. I’ve always assumed it is, but if I’m wrong please correct me!)
Edit: I definitely see how mental and physical disabilities are different. Since I want this post to be as inclusive as possible I’ll be adding a book with representation for a physical disability too.
I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?
R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.
I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book. It’s apparently heartbreaking, but really important. I keep seeing it at my local Target so I need to pick it up!
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher [★★★★★]
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
I know a lot of people HATE this book, but it’s one of my favourites. I feel like society often doesn’t want to acknowledge the darker side of mental illness. When we start getting TOO REAL with how we’re feeling people suddenly don’t want to know or they start throwing out the “stop romanticising mental illness” line. I know people think Hannah was selfish and hurt people, but guess what? That’s what happens when you’re suicidal. I have lost so many friendships because I have done some awful things because of my mental illnesses. It is not an excuse, but we can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist. I think it’s important to note how one thing that is seemingly small to others can eventually domino and be huge especially with how often “kill yourself” is thrown around as an insult these days. Despite being published almost 10 years ago, this book is still extremely relevant.
Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
Again, another one that people either seem to hate or love. For me, however, this was a book that I connected to on so many levels. I hate that it’s banned in some schools because like I say every time I talk about this book it should be required reading for teens. This is one of the most accurate representations of anxiety and what it’s like to be introverted that I’ve seen (so far). Not to mention it also deals with PTSD.
Find a Science-Fiction or Fantasy book with a POC protagonist
Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.
But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?
She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.
Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.
As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.
I’m currently buddy reading this atm with Sara @ Freadom Library. It’s started promisingly. I’ve always wanted more YA books set in Ancient Egypt and knowing this has a cast of pretty much all POC characters makes it even better. Not to mention can we talk about how stunning the cover is?
Find a book set in (or about) any country in Africa
Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
I have never been more thankful to read a book. I can’t express how beautiful, honest and eye opening this book is. I learnt so much. Please, please, please read this if you haven’t.
Find a book written by an Indigenous or Native author
Following an Australian government edict in 1931, black aboriginal children and children of mixed marriages were gathered up by whites and taken to settlements to be assimilated. In Rabbit-Proof Fence, award-winning author Doris Pilkington traces the captivating story of her mother, Molly, one of three young girls uprooted from her community in Southwestern Australia and taken to the Moore River Native Settlement. At the settlement, Milly and her relatives Gracie and Daisy were forbidden to speak their native language, forced to abandon their aboriginal heritage, and taught to be culturally white. After regular stays in solitary confinement, the three girls scared and homesick planned and executed a daring escape from the grim camp, with its harsh life of padlocks, barred windows, and hard cold beds.
The girls headed for the nearby rabbit-proof fence that stretched over 1,000 miles through the desert toward their home. Their journey lasted over a month, and they survived on everything from emus to feral cats, while narrowly avoiding the police, professional trackers, and hostile white settlers. Their story is a truly moving tale of defiance and resilience.
This was an extremely traumatic and horrifying part of Australia’s history and it definitely doesn’t get the attention it deserves. I’m hoping to read this soon. I can not imagine what it must have been like for these young girls.
Find a book set in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc.)
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
Whilst I didn’t enjoy the romance in this, the writing is absolutely stunning. It’s rich in Indian culture and mythology.
Find a book with a biracial protagonist
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
This isn’t normally a book I’d read because I’m not a romance-contemporary fan, but I love that this features a biracial MC instead of your typical White MC. I’m also suuper curious about the hype.
Find a book starring a transgender character or about transgender issues
Edit: I was just informed that my previous choice The Art of Being Normal has transphobic elements. I’m really sorry if anyone was hurt by reading the summary.
When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.
But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
I haven’t read a book that focuses on transgender issues/people/characters, which I’m also really ashamed about. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book so hopefully I can get to it soon! It’s also magical realism, which YES!!!
(Like always if you’ve done this already or don’t do tags feel free to ignore this ♥)
Puput @ Sparkling Letters • Sammie @ Bookshelves & Biros • Esther @ Chapter Adventures • Vivian @ Inked In Pages • Casey @ Adoptabookaus + everyone else who wants to do it! I highly encourage everyone to search for diverse reads.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and any recs you have for diverse reads.
I hope you’re all having as good a day as you can considering everything.
P.S. My giveaway is being extended until 15 NOV! Don’t forget to enter HERE. If you haven’t already.