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?
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?
(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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?