This year, I accepted The Unconventional Librarian’s Diversity Reading Challenge, and I’ve been… okay. Let’s take a look:
(The center Diversity Reading Challenge 2017 graphic is from An Unconventional Librarian’s website.)
Book featuring a Hispanic character – Wild Beauty, by Anna Marie McLemore
Book featuring an LGBTQ character – Spinning, by Tillie Walden
Graphic Novel – Pashmina, by Nidhi Chanani
Book featuring a character with mental illness – Lighter Than My Shadow, by Katie Green
Book featuring an Asian character – Warcross, by Marie Lu
Book by an illustrator of color – Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil Rights Activist Nina Simone, illustrated by Bruno Liance
Book with an African-American young male character – Goodnight, Boy, by Nikki Sheehan
Book with an African-American female character – An Unkindness of Ghosts, by Rivers Solomon
Book with a Muslim character – Lost Boys, by Darcey Rosenblatt
Book with a character on the Autism spectrum – Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, by Ben Hatke
Book featuring a character with a physical disability – Super Max and the Mystery of Thornwood’s Revenge, by Susan Vaught
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my reading, but it could be better. I see little spots where I need to read more deeply. Goodnight, Boy is amazing; brilliantly written, but I should also be reading African-American characters written by African-American characters. I need to finally get Ghost, by Jason Reynolds, off the TBR and on my nightstand, you know? Ditto for my Muslim character choice. I love Lost Boys; it’s a heart-wrenching novel that darn near brings me to tears, but I need to stop saying I want to read Amina’s Voice and just read it. (If you’re struggling to find Muslim authors, by the way, I found a list on GoodReads that may help.)
I am happy that there’s some crossover on the list. I have several graphic novels on the list; while reading graphic novels is never an issue for me, I’m happy to see that the medium is a great place to explore different cultures and identities. Spinning, Lighter Than My Shadow, Pashmina, and Mighty Jack and the Goblin King are all graphic novels; each is its own journey of exploration. Wild Beauty and An Unkindness of Ghosts have female, main characters of color that explore their sexuality.
In sum, I need to read one more book (a Holocaust victim) to complete my challenge. Pragmatic Mom has a list that I think I’ll use as my guide here. Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli, sounds compelling; it may also be time to to finally pick up Jane Yolen’s Devil’s Arithmetic. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, thanks to Pam at Unconventional Librarian for keeping me honest.