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Kim Tomsic

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Diversity in YA Fiction

"Diversity in YA Fiction is a website and book tour founded by two young adult authors, Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon, to celebrate diverse stories in YA."

I came across Diversity in YA Fiction on Twitter (@cindypon). She posted a challenge to take the DiYA reading challenge:
What to read: You can read whichever diverse books you like! By diverse we mean: (1) main characters or major secondary characters (e.g., a love interest or best friend kind of character) who are of color or are LGBT; or (2) written by a person of color or LGBT author. If you need some suggestions, check out our monthly lists of new books, and these book lists at Black Teens Read."
My "Diversity" Reading Experience:
I grew up in a military family. We moved from base to base and diversity was the consistent norm. Although the classroom rosters included a good number of students who were Latino, Korean, Vietnamese, Black, White, etc., I only saw--Hong, the prettiest girl in school;or Addie, oh, so funny, or Nanae, super-good at basketball... I want on her team; or Jason, will he look at me today or is he crushing on Hong. Sure, attention was given to labels like rich and poor, but we never wasted time on color. I honestly thought my school, my world was a microcosm of how all communities functioned. It wasn't until after I graduated college that I discovered my experiences were unique.  By taking the Diversity in YA challenge, I enjoyed getting lost in the texture and color of different worlds now that I live in a white-washed community.   Reading expands teens' horizons and experiences. Just like I thought everyone grew up with diversity, there are those who may have limited exposure to diversity and in turn they believe their world is the norm. Thank goodness for authors like Matt de la Pena and Sherman Alexie (and Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo) who set us straight while entertaining.

Some recommendations to add to the suggested reading list include:
We Were Here by Matt de la Peña
How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen
A Single Shard by Lin Sue Park
Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Peña
Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Peña
Paris Pan Takes the Dare by Cynthea Liu
The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Same Kind of Different As Me (not technically a YA or MG read, but still recommended) by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

What are additional titles that should be added to this list?

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

Anything by Traci Jones, Sherri Smith, or Sundee Frazier!