This is a post for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. You can find out more and follow along there!
Today’s topic is “Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters”. I feel a bit weird giving my opinion since I don’t belong to any diverse groups. However, I’ve tried to pick books that are written by people from the groups they represent and that are well regarded by those groups. If you spot anything iffy on my list, please feel free to let me know. Also, if you’re a minority blogger and are posting a TTT list today, feel free to link and I will signal boost here & on Twitter!
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson: I’ve talked before about how much I love Ms. Marvel. I’m fairly new to the world of Marvel comics, and her story is so fun and rich with layers and emotions. I love how her faith and her culture inform who she is, but how Kamala is also her own person making decisions and doing the best she can. (Also her sense of humor is amazing.)
One Crazy Summer, P.S. Be Eleven, and Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia: I’ve been a fan of the Gaither sisters ever since I first read One Crazy Summer. Delphine is probably my favorite, because I’m also an oldest child and get the worry of trying to take care of younger siblings. But I especially love all three of them together, and the music they make when their voices ring out.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander: I was lucky enough to be in the room when the Newbery Award was announced this year, and I think I screamed, I was so happy. I often feel that books in verse for kids are lacking in either the verse or the story, but in this case Josh’s voice and Alexander’s poetry and the beautiful story all combine to make something amazing.
This Side of Home by Renee Watson: This is a wonderful story about growing up and finding out who you are in relationship to family and friends. It’s also about gentrification and the effects that can have on the community that is being changed. Watson writes an incredibly thoughtful, nuanced book, but it’s Maya that really stands out.
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson: I absolutely loved this middle-grade heist story, which took some of the key plot points of the great heist stories and translated them to middle school. It’s a fast-paced, fun story, and the group that Jackson assembles is diverse in more ways that one. Bonus: there’s a sequel coming out soon! (YAY.)
Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson: In a world that’s almost ours, Bird is a student at an elite Washington DC school. She’s not entirely happy with where her life is going, but it’s good enough. Then everything turns horrible as a virus shows up in DC and the city is shut down. I found Johnson’s second book to be very powerful, both in the ideas its examining, and the way the subtle way the characters are portrayed. It’s a what-if book that also takes into account the realities of our world.
The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami: Dini! Dini is amazing and wonderful. If you ever need a book where happy endings and lovely coincidences are assured, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything and its sequel, The Problem With Being Slightly Heroic are great. They’re truly some of the most entirely enjoyable books I’ve ever read.
The Agency Series by Y.S. Lee: Part-Chinese girl detective in Victorian London. That should be all I need to tell you, but in fact I’ll go on: Mary is a stubborn, complex character, the mysteries are engaging, the romance is swoony, and the covers are AMAZING. (Seriously, Candlewick put so much work into getting the details right; I am very impressed.) The last book in the series was just published, so now is the perfect time to read them all.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor: So in a lot of ways this is a classic coming of age story, where a young girl finds out that she has magical talents and learns to use them. Sunny was born in America, but she lives in Nigeria, and that influences the everyday details of the book, as well as her magic and how she learns to use it. This is a lovely story, with beautiful descriptions of the magic Sunny encounters.
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero: Gabi’s diary, written throughout her senior year, gives the reader a window into her life as she processes all the different changes she and her friends are facing. I loved the way this one gave us this unfiltered view into a teenage girl–I really identified with having a diary as the one place I could really say what I was thinking. And Gabi’s navigation of the different cultures and expectations she finds herself in was especially strong, in my opinion.