books · not books

Why we need diverse books

By Shar

Hello Blookunity!  Firstly, sorry for my recent absences. I actually want to catch up with all your blogs, honestly(couldn’t help myself there, sorry). Anyway, I recently finished She Is Not Invisible, which is about (mini dumb spoiler alert that should be obvious in the first two chapters max) a blind girl, which got me thinking about diversity and books. I’m sure what I’m saying has been said in lots of ways before, but hey, the world (and the authors, more importantly) can do with hearing it again.

Firstly, a disclaimer: I’m diverse in a lot of ways. I’m mixed race. I live in a developing country. I’m a twin (who are in no way underrepresented in literature) (double negative, I know).  But I’m not in other ways. But (and I’ll say this later) aren’t we all diverse in some way?

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What are diverse books?

In my opinion, diverse books include characters with different physical and mental abilities, who are LGBTQ+, who are from different races and countries, and not always the status quo.  Diverse books are also set in diverse places: not just developed suburbia but different countries (or in the case of fantasy, lands based on different places)

So why do we need diverse books?

#difference

(no, I don’t know why I’m using hashtags) This is just a good thing for authors to do if they want to write more interesting books that people will like. Books with diverse characters, diverse setting, are interesting to read about. And not just as secondary characters and best friends. (Like the gay best friend convention. Seriously. Some people at my school went through a phase of wanting a gay best friend, not just an amazingly awesome one.) It’s refreshing and interesting to have diverse MCs. Characters with any type of difference spice up books, make them better and more awesome and interesting.

#relatableness

This should also make books more enjoyable, in terms of selling. A good author should be able to make characters whose struggles and lives we can relate to in some way. Most contemporary books I read, for example, are about characters living in a developed country. And I don’t. I’d love to read more about settings that I know. But if the characters and settings aren’t diverse, then how could someone outside of the majority in any ‘diverse’ way relate?

#inclusion

But diversity shouldn’t only be a selling point. People with different skin colours, abilities, illnesses, etc. are often in a minority. And because human tendency is to stick to people who are like us (‘birds of a feather fly together’ and stuff), it’s easy for diverse minorities to get excluded. Books only written about places I haven’t been are exclusive in a way as well, even though I do enjoy them. Diverse books put people one step closer to understanding and acceptance. And that’s what we desperately need.

#representation

We need our books to represent everybody in our communities, and people in other communities as well. Books mirror the society in which they were nurtured in some way. It may be less obvious when it’s not set in the real world (hey, I’m all for dragon representation) but it does. And all communities are diverse in some way. We need our books to reflect the society we live in- sometimes cruel, judgemental, exclusive- and show us we need to change. We need our books to give a voice to people who don’t have one. We need our books to reflect the society we want to live in too-inclusive, kind, different. Because our differences is what makes us interesting.

#wearediverse

Has anyone ever told you you’re unique? Well, you are. (they have now, at any rate). What make real life (and good books) beautiful is that each person is different. We have different beliefs, skin colours, abilities, thoughts, fears, concerns, loves. We need books that reflect snippets of ourselves and qualities in others and that make us go ‘oh, I get this’ But we need books that reflect people who seem entirely alien, and we can still empathise with. Our books should be diverse in every way, just like we humans are. Each different. Each beautiful. It can be said that it’s impossible to tell new stories. Whether or not that’s true, we need to write- and read- diverse ones.

#acknowledgement

YA (and other books too, I guess) is getting more diverse all the time. All the authors who are writing these books are doing an amazing job, and to you I say, keep up the good work.

Why else do we need diverse books? What diverse books have you read recently? Do you like diverse books?

 

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7 thoughts on “Why we need diverse books

  1. I heartily agree! I feel like even though I don’t consider myself to be a diverse person that much I find it so important to know about other people in the world and hear stories that I’m not familiar with and sometimes bring me out of my comfort zone. Especially since I’ve broadened my Internet horizons, I know various persons who live in different countries or are of different races and bring different experiences to the table that I can’t get at home. Thus, diversity makes a bigger and better impact on me. So, yes! I like this post very much. 🙂

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  2. I couldn’t agree more. ^_^ Also rabbits do need diverse books and huzzah for your nice little literary rabbit there *nods* So I TOTALLY agree that diversity needs to be in more books, and not just as that “selling point” but real and relatable and honest and…gah, ALL THE THINGS. Because literature is doing us a disservice if it doesn’t represent the world how it is. i also really like to learn about other people through reading. So if books aren’t representing the minorities — how do we learn about what it’s like to live their lives?! ALL THE DIVERSE BOOKS = WE NEED.

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    1. Well apparently everybody agrees with me so that’s awesome 😀 We need to have more discussions about this (we meaning the blookunity) and your equation is simple and sensible. Thank you XD

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    1. Thank you! It’s harder to write ‘diverse’ that you don’t know, I guess, but what you know is also pretty diverse. I think wherever we are and whatever we know, there’s always going to be some diversity. 🙂

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  3. I love this post. You’re so right about everything. I have been trying to read more diverse books lately, and joining the book blogging community really helped me, to find more diverse books, and opened my eyes to that issue I wasn’t too aware of, before. I really love diverse books, they need to exist, because everyone needs to be aware of all the world’s complexity. It’s complex, but it’s so, so beautiful. Great post! 🙂

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