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: Opposite of Always

    Author: Justin A. Reynolds

    Genre: Fantasy/Romance? Idk

    Summary (No spoilers!): Jack King, a senior in high school, has always been "almost" in everything. Almost Valedictorian, almost an athlete, almost a rock star. He's never done something big in his life, only missing a chance at one of those things by a hair. He thinks that his life will be like this forever until one day, at a party, he meets a girl named Kate. Not just a girl, but a funny, cute, sarcastic girl, the kind he's always dreamed dating. And this time, he miraculously does start dating her. To his complete surprise, she likes him back. It seems like Jack's streak of "almost" is finally broken. Everything's perfect, until... Kate dies. And then everything's almost again. But once she dies, Jack gets hurtled back to the party where he met Kate, and Kate's there again, alive. He seems to have gotten himself stuck in a time loop-- Sending him back in time to the party whenever Kate dies, over and over again. He knows that he needs to use this to save Kate, in someway or another. But when he tries to save Kate, he starts losing his friends, becoming distant from his family. And then.... other people start dying. How much is Kate worth? Is he going to risk the lives of his friends and family for her? Should he just... let her die?

    Why is it diverse? All the main characters in this book are African-American.

    Age rating: I read it when I was 11, going on 12 and I was fine? There is a bit of cussing, violence, and drinking, and kissing. So I think it's fine for mature 12 year olds but for the average reader 13+

    Your rating: {Optional} 10/10 I LOVE THIS BOOK

    Other: READ IT, IT'S AMAZING
    • I LOVE that book!! And yeah, I'd say 13+, there is a bit of kissing and cussing like you said.
      • Thanks, I have a mature reading level so I don't really know how to age-rate things xD. And YES wasn't it awesome? I cried when I read it it was so good ahh
  • Title: How To Repair A Mechanical Heart

    Author: J. C. Lillis

    Genre: Fiction

    Summary (No spoilers!): Brandon, a gay fandom vlogger with a very Christian family, and his friend Abel, go on a trip across the country to see six sci-fi conventions in hopes to win a ship war in their favorite fandom "Castaway Planet."

    Why is it diverse? The main characters, Brandon and Abel, are gay.

    Age rating: 13-14+ for some...mature content (i skipped over some of it)

    Your rating: {Optional} 10/10

    Other:
    • OKAY I NEED TO READ THIS LIKE NOW
      • xD i got it for christmas along with another book, A&B, by the same author but i haven't finished that one yet
  • Title: the magnificent journey of coyote sunrise

    Author: dan gemeinhart

    Genre: realistic fiction

    Summary (No spoilers!): Coyote has lived on the road, with her dad Rodeo, for five years, ever since her mom and sisters died. When coyote finds out that a park near old house where Coyote buried a memory box with her mom and sisters, is getting turned into a street, Coyote needs to get all the way across the country, in four days, without her dad knowing

    Why is it diverse? one of the characters, Val, is gay, and it's diverse because Coyote lives on the road

    Age rating: idk, maybe 10+?

    Your rating: {Optional} really good, 100/10

    Other:
  • Title: the mighty heart of sunny st james

    Author: ashley herring blake

    Genre: realistic fiction

    Summary (No spoilers!): this book is about Sunny, who's adopted, and has had a heart transplant.

    Why is it diverse?: the main character, Sunny is likes girls, and her friend Quinn is lesbian

    Age rating: eh, maybe 10+?

    Your rating: {Optional} 100/10

    Other:
    • :D I love that book!
  • Title: Color Outside the Lines: Stories about love.

    Author: It's a collection of short stories, so there are a lot of different authors. It's edited by Sangu Mandanna though.

    Genre: realistic fiction, I think.

    Summary (No spoilers!): (Copied from the introduction at the beginning of the book) Color Outside the Lines is a collection of stories about young, fierce, brilliantly hopeful characters of all colors.

    Why is it diverse?: LGBTQ+ and interracial relationships.

    Age rating: 13+ (I haven't finished it yet, but I think that's probably a good age?)

    Your rating: {Optional} 10/10

    Other:
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