Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity

top-ten-tuesday

Diversity in media is an issue that’s really important to me. Racial/ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, and people with lower socioeconomic status appear far less often in books, especially those assigned in school (unless part of a curriculum unit surrounding that topic).

Here are a few of my favorite books that celebrate diversity:

1. I Love Yous Are For White People by Lac Su (read independently)

2. A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid (read for college Caribbean History class)

3. Native Son by Richard Wright (one of the summer reading list options for AP English, although I didn’t choose it then–I read it independently in college)

4. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (read the play version in junior high; later read the novel version for a high school assignment, although it was essentially a free choice read–I could choose any book written by an American author)

5. Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet (read independently)

6. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (read independently)

7. Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell (read independently)

8. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (read independently)

9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (read independently)

10. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (read in AP English, can’t remember if for a “special issues” unit)

What are your favorite books that celebrate diversity? Did you find that your assigned reading for school supported or lacked diverse media?


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blogging event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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26 thoughts on “Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity

  1. I was cleaning out my books (finally) and found “Flowers for Algernon”. Kidlet is reading it now and fascinated by it. I will have to check some of these others out, thanks for the list.

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  2. One of the biggest selling books over here at the moment with a black lead is the Rivers of London series. But, he’s educated and middle class so I don’t know how diverse that really makes it! There are several goddesses who are personifications of London’s underground rivers (hence the title) and they too are mostly black (and female). No reason is given for it, but it made sense at the time. They’re good books if you’re into urban fantasy.

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  3. Of this list, I only read Born on a Blue Day. It was a great read. As a person with autism and synesthesia myself, I could relate quite well. I love reading autobiographies by people with disabilities as well as special-interest books on this. May I do a little self-promo here and suggest Typed Words, Loud Voices, edited by Amy Sequenzia and Elizabeth Grace? It is a book of writings by people, mostly autistics, who use typing as a means of augmentative or alternative communication. Since you used to major in speech therapy, you might find this interesting. I haven’t read the full book yet since I only have a print copy and am blind, but I keep showing people my contribution (page 30-31). Still need to buy the eBook so I can read everyone else’s contributions.

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  4. I’d say my schools (both high school and college) really lacked any books with diversity. I even read voraciously from suggested lists throughout the years and never really got great diverse reading material. Part of that was growing up in Oklahoma. The other part was choosing books that I recognized myself in the characters. As an adult I’ve grown to love books that challenge me and open my mind. I’ve discovered so many great books from recommendations from friends (or, honestly, NPR) — can’t wait to try these!

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  5. What a great list! Many of these are on my (embarrassingly long) TBR list and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is one of my favorite books!

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  6. I don’t know if i actually have read any similar books but i usually pick books which have a theme i am not familiar with.
    I am reading The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi which is about life in Pakistan in a first person narrative.

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