hanks to the return of Lisa Kenney Meserve to her blog Eudaemonia
I was inspired earlier this month to try to blog on occasion once again. And
thanks to Thien-Kim
, I also learned
about the 2015
Diversity Reading Challenge
hosted by Pam
led by YA author Ellen Oh
focuses on diverse children’s books. Both are spearheading notable efforts in a
realm the publishing industry has long neglected, and press coverage on the
dearth of diverse titles in the children’s book market has certainly been a
testament to such efforts:
Another result: a plethora of book lists featuring diverse titles to
share with one’s children, library patrons, students, or other youngsters.
A quick search for mainstream (i.e., grown-up) fiction of a diverse
nature, however, revealed little more than a few shallow lists. So I conducted
an informal survey of my Facebook friends, many of whom recommended their own
favorites or pointed me to sites highlighting diverse titles, and put together my own informal and hardly comprehensive collection
of titles (or links to pages with long lists) featuring diverse fiction for
First, some of the heavy-hitter novelists often thought of when U.S.
readers think of “diverse books”: Alice Walker, Louise Erdrich, Richard Wright,
Laura Esquivel, Khaled Hosseini, James Baldwin, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jumpa Lahiri,
Toni Morrison, Sherman Alexie, Amy Tan, Zora Neale Hurston, Laila Lalami, Junot
Diaz, Colson Whitehead, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Luis Alberto Urrea.
Good gracious, if only I didn’t need to sleep.
I also found a few diverse fiction titles on Denver consultant Karen Ashmore
, which includes a five-star review of my novel, One
(Thank you, Karen!) and features LOTS of amazing
non-fiction. Among the novels Karen lists are these gems:
When I spoke at the 2012 Mixed Remixed Festival, Heidi introduced
me to Susan Straight
, a fabulous writer
is one of my all-time favorites. Funny thing is, wonderful
Boulder author Jenny Shank
(whose novel The Ringer
has a diverse cast of characters), replied to my FB inquiry with an eclectic list that included Susan Straight’s newest novel, Between
Heaven and Here
If I have to sleep, maybe a speed-reading course is finally in order.
And maybe a speed-writing course while I’m at it.
Though I may not blog nearly as often as I used to, the BEYOND
Understanding sidebar of resources will always feature a (growing!) number of great
books for kids and adults. Here’s to broadening our minds via titles from
unique voices that enlighten as well as entertain. Happy reading, kids.