This year I’m embarking on a personal Diversity and Inclusivity Challenge. This involves trying to ensure at least half of all the books I read each month feature either diversity or an inclusive, accepting world. I’ve defined diversity as involving books focused on one group (non-white because too many books have already featured enough white only characters) or featuring a varied and diverse cast. Inclusivity here refers to worlds that accept the differences between people/creatures with no or very little disparaging remarks. So, how did I do in March?
I read 6 books, 4 of which were a diverse or inclusive read. Yay! Considering March was an extremely stressful month for my family, I’m extraordinarily surprised.
The Diverse Books
Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li couldn’t have been anything but a diverse read. It’s centered around five Chinese American college students. Most of the characters are Chinese, and I had a delightful time reading about their experiences as Chinese American. The fact that they didn’t belong in either group really struck a chord in me.
A Tiny Upward Shove by Melissa Chadburn is based on Filipino culture, so there are quite a few references to the culture and the Philippines even though the main characters reside in the US and it begins to feel like a commentary on those children and missing people who have fallen through the cracks. There are a number of other minor characters who are from diverse backgrounds, heritages, and countries, making for a rich, diverse read.
The Inclusive Books
In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power might be stretching it a little considering it’s Greek-inspired and features a male-female romance, but there’s still the fact that Rhea had previously chosen female consorts and everyone was just fine with that.
The Diverse AND Inclusive Books
Summer of Georgie by Kerry Crisley was such a surprise! While most of the characters were white, though I do believe one was of Indian descent, part of Georgie’s inner social circle is a lesbian couple and they were as loved as all the other women in the group. I loved that their relationship was normal to everyone and not anything to be remarked on. There’s also a key character who appears to be from the Caribbean.
Tales of Atlantis: The Dawning of a New Age by D.M. White is based on Greek mythology, so I feel it safe to assume the people of Atlantis were, more or less, Greek. At least, none of them were described as having different skin tones or of having come from other places than Atlantis, with the exception of two British men, who were not described as being anything other than British. I suppose I hoped for diversity, but that was a long shot. There were none in terms of ethnicity, gender, disability, etc.
Billy Bean’s Ghost by John York was one I really wanted to be diverse considering it’s set in what I believe to be the Inland Empire of Southern California. Having actually grown up nearby the area and having spent 3 years living there, I do know how diverse it actually is. Sadly, none of that made it’s way into the story, as well as no other form of diversity.
None this time since I’m still finishing up A Tiny Upward Shove.
Thanks for reading!