Recently there’s been an article going around about reading non-white, non-male authors for a year, just to see how one’s worldview might change, and while there has been some pushback, most people (at least in my experience) have recognized it as a worthwhile challenge. At the very least, it’s certainly a teachable moment for people who wouldn’t have considered this otherwise. But, if you’re playing along at home, how should you go about finding these books? The good thing is, there are a number of sites that already cater to diversity: Diversity in YA and Disability in Kidlit are just a couple. Now there’s another one: Bisexual Books.
Young adult literature is just about my favorite genre to read, but YA has a complicated relationship with diversity. Although the number of stories on the market celebrating people who don’t meet the white-straight-cis-abled norm is increasing, they are still a significant minority, and often don’t get the press or love that other books get. Book covers get whitewashed, and authors are still questioned about whether their minority characters are ‘realistic’ in their storylines. That’s where Diversity in YA comes in.
From DiYA’s tumblr:
Diversity in YA was founded in 2011 by YA authors Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo as a website and book tour. While the tour is over, we’ve revived the website as a tumblr! We celebrate young adult books about all kinds of diversity, from race to sexual orientation to gender identity and disability. We hope you’ll enjoy celebrating them with us.
Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon are excellent and talented writers in their own right and their stories are filled with diverse and interesting characters. It’s great to see that they’re also taking the initiative to celebrate other stories like their own.
The DiYA tumblr features a variety of content. Sometimes they recommend upcoming books that feature diverse characters. Sometimes they have interviews with authors who are of color or are GSM or disabled, or whose stories include such characters. And sometimes they just moderate discussions about topics like “Dismantling White as the Default” and “Beyond Diversity 101: On Bisexual Characters and YA Literature”, just to list two examples. They are pretty new on tumblr, as their description points out—they’ve only got about fifteen pages of content so far—but they’ve recommended dozens of books that I would probably have otherwise not heard about, and they are contributing to an important discussion in the literary world just by existing at all. Give their tumblr a look-see and let me know if you try any of the books they’ve featured!