Back in April, the hashtag #weneeddiversebooks took Twitter by storm. (This is the first tweet using it, and you can check out the official web site as well.) And while looking through it, I realized that I wanted to actively change my reading habits because oh my goodness I read a lot of stuff written by cisgender, white folks (pretty evenly split between men and women) who are from the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
Changing my reading habits has taken three main forms so far:
- Backed the Crossed Genres magazine Kickstarter campaign, and now get monthly delivery of stories that “give a voice to people often ignored or marginalized in SFF”.
- Began to only check out library books by women authors for my pleasure reading. Since the end of February, I’ve read 31 books, 28 of which were written by women.
- Deliberately am seeking out books written by women of color, transgender women, and women from countries other than the US/UK/Canada/Australia, and about people whose life experiences are different from mine. So far I haven’t read too widely (thanks concussion (and Twitter) for my lack of attention span these days) but so far I have read several books that fit the bill wonderfully:
- Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi (graphic novel, Iran)
- Aya by Marguerite Abouet (graphic novel, Ivory Coast)
- Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (graphic novel, Russia)
- Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (novel, Nigerian-American)
- Who Fears Death, also by Nnedi Okorafor
- Golden Boy by AbigailTarttelin (novel, about an intersex teen)
In addition, I’m expanding my genres of reading from only fantasy and novels, to include graphic novels and short stories as well.
Are you looking to expand your reading habits to include more diversity in authors and characters? You might check out some of these lists for places to start:
- An Expanded Cultural Diversity Booklist: SLJ Readers Respond
- Feminist YA Fantasy Books (great suggestions in the comments)
- Coretta Scott King Book Awards, 1970-present
- Where to Find Diverse Books
Now tell me: what is YOUR favorite diverse book or series, and who are your go-to diverse authors? As you can tell, I’m open to all suggestions!