Top Ten Tuesdays is a meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is
Top Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity
I’ve already compiled a list of some books celebrating diversity, but here’s an updated one for your enjoyment! Again, I’ve tried to select mostly books that readers might not know contain diverse characters.
1. The Ashtown Burials series by N. D. Wilson: This is my go-to recommendation when asked about diverse books. The protagonists have dark skin, as does their mentor. The books are full of awesome women, strong in different ways. And the society of explorers to which the Smiths gain entrance is global. Also, it’s just a fantastic adventure.
2. A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff: A cute story set in a world where almost everyone has a Talent that sets them apart. Protagonist Cady has a Talent for baking, but worries that something is wrong with her because the director of her orphanage, who has a Talent for matching people, cannot find her a family. Cady is described as having skin the color of leaves turning in fall.
3. A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd: Felicity Pickle moves to a town that used to have magic and hopes that if it comes back it could restore her family. Her new friend Jonah Pickett helps her to believe in her own magic. Jonah happens to be in a wheelchair, but the story is not about Felicity or anyone else having to learn to accept him. He is a fully fleshed-out character in his own right.
4. The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins: If I recall correctly, there is a brief mention of the protagonist having darker skin. But the great thing is that he gets to go on a magical adventure–magic can literally happen to everyone. He also comes from a home with a single mother.
5. the Princeless series by Jeremy Whitley, etc.: Princess Adrienne is tired of sitting in a tower waiting for a prince to rescue her, so, along with the help of her guard dragon Sparky, she escapes and decides to rescue her sisters from their various prisons. Adrienne has dark skin. She meets a pirate who is from an Asian-inspired culture and is a lesbian. The series very consciously breaks barriers and plays with stereotypes. A fun and feminist adventure.
6. Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick: Truly Lovejoy loves her life–until her father moves the family to his hometown, Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, where absolutely nothing happens. Then she finds a mysterious note in an old book and suddenly Pumpkin Falls seems a lot more interesting. Truly comes from a military family.
7. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry: After their headmistress is apparently murdered at dinner, seven girls at a boarding school decide to hide the death so they can stay together. Each of the girls is different. One loves chemistry and scorns men as oppressors while another loves to flirt. One girl is intelligent and a natural leader while another is known as “dull”. Despite their differences, the girls all respect and support one another.
8. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed: After Naila disobeys her parents and dates a boy, they take her on a trip to visit family in Pakistan–and arrange a marriage for her without her knowledge. Can Naila find her way home or will she have to accept her new life?
9. Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, etc.: Sixteen-year-old Kamala Khan loves superheroes, but she never expected to become one herself. But when she finds herself with the ability to change her appearance, will she lose herself in the process? A Muslim American teenager is a supehero!
10. My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok: A boy struggles to balance his art with his Jewish faith.