Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I thought this would be a fun way to share a condensed version of potential rambles and thoughts that I have.
This Week’s Theme:
Ten Books That Embrace Diversity
Today’s prompt looks at books that foster diversity in its storytelling. I do have qualms about the title of the prompt (re: celebrating diversity) but more on that after. I’ll be basing this list on books I’ve read and several I hope to read in the future (you know how it is with TBRs).
(I also lied–it’s way more than 10.)
Ru – Kim Thuy
Emigrant perspective; cultural landscapes of Vietnamese and Canadian-French heritage; a son with autism
The Alex Crow – Andrew Smith
Syrian refugee and emigrant perspective; imagination versus experimentalism for boys; schizophrenic character
A Trick of the Light – Lois Metzger
Narrated by anorexia endured by a teenage boy; broken family but relevant parental support
More Than This – Patrick Ness
Vibrant cast (LGBT+, foreigner, overweight, coloured skin); moral ambiguity; child abduction
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
Struggling widowed part-Indian; part-Black adoptive daughter; the cultivation of goodwill to the next generation; regards treatment of near-octogenarians (really old people)
The Help – Kathryn Stockett
Racial conflict of the then is still a persisting issue in the now
Will Read (Eventually)
(Note that the entire synopsis of the blurb isn’t listed because space. Now go forth and consider adding them to your reading pile!)
Not If I See You First – Eric Lindstrom
Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.
Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.
Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.
Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.
The Way We Bared Our Souls – Willa Strayhorn
Lo has a family history of MS, and is starting to come down with all the symptoms. Thomas, a former child soldier from Liberia, is plagued by traumatic memories of his war-torn past. Kaya would do anything to feel physical pain, but a rare condition called CIP keeps her numb. Ellen can’t remember who she was before she started doing drugs. Kit lost his girlfriend in a car accident and now he just can’t shake his newfound fear of death.
When they trade totems as a symbol of shedding and adopting one another’s sorrows, they think it’s only an exercise. But in the morning, they wake to find their burdens gone…and replaced with someone else’s.
Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
All American Boys – Jason Reynold, Brendan Kiely
A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galuzzi, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?
But there were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera.
Bright Lights, Dark Nights – Stephen Emond (Graphic Novel)
Walter Wilcox has never been in love. That is, until he meets Naomi, and sparks, and clever jokes, fly. But when his cop dad is caught in a racial profiling scandal, Walter and Naomi, who is African American, are called out at school, home, and online. Can their bond (and mutual love of the Foo Fighters) keep them together?
Symptoms of Being Human – Jeff Garvin
The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.
On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure.
We Are The Ants – Shaun David Hutchinson
Henry Denton doesn’t know why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift.
So, yeah, I don’t know if I enjoy the celebratory label of the original prompt (re: Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters). Treating diversity as a non-issue—present but not really made to be a spectacle out of—is what I hope our social culture grows into becoming. (We’re far from that point though.) Embracing the subtleties that define a person’s difference is great (necessary even) but I’m unsure if it’s something that needs a “cool, you’re different, let’s glorify that” attitude. Know that I’m not against diversity, its voice, or the stories that ought to be shared; I’m iffier toward the choice of wording credited to this prompt.
If I put myself into diverse shoes and ask: would I like to see a voice representative of my story told? Absolutely. But would I want special treatment and hurrahs reminding me about my difference—that’s where I may need to draw the line. It might seem like an exaggeration [and perhaps it is] and I may be looking at it from a different angle, but that’s just my impression regarding this TTT.