Friday, July 8, 2011

Diversify Your Reading Challenge!

hiya undies!
you may or may not remember from
a few months back that malinda lo (Ash
and Huntress) and i went on a five city stop
diversity tour. it was a lot of fun and we thought
it was a success, helping to generate some
interesting discussions and dialogue.

our next big endeavor is the summer reading
challenge for librarians and bloggers. a librarian
can win over fifty middle grade and young adult
novels for her/his library and a book blogger can
win it all for him/herself! for those of you who have
love for young adult or middle grade novels or have
tweens teens, you really have to check these prizes
out! to enter as a blogger, you simply need to
read some diverse MG or YA novels then write an
(at least 500 word) essay about your thoughts and
experience. the winning essay will win the grand
prize! malinda and i hope it's a fun experience that
helps to broaden every participant's reading list!

bringing up diversity with readers is always
interesting (and often can be awkward or tense).
in the case of our endeavor, we're hoping to
spotlight and showcase books that feature lgbt
and/or people of color as main protagonists or
secondary characters who play a major role.
often, readers will say, a good story is a good story.
what does it matter if the character is gay or of
a certain race? it doesn't matter to me!

then others may pause to think of the last time
they actually read a novel that featured side
characters that weren't straight and/or caucasian
(much less the lead protagonists), and realize that
in fact, they can't think of an example.

see. that was me as a young reader.
traditional fantasy had always been a favorite
genre of mine, and like so many teens, i leaped
straight from mainly middle grade books (the young
adult market wasn't as huge as it is now) into the
adult fantasy shelves. and it wasn't until i was
an adult and wrote Silver Phoenix that i realized
despite the dozens of novels i've read and loved,
i had never read a character in any of those books
that looked like me.

of course, as dramatic as i can be (hell, i am
a writer after all =), i can't say that i'm scarred
for life because of this. obviously, i was a book
lover, read widely, and went on to write as a tween
into my twenties. but it wasn't until Silver Phoenix
(written in my thirties) that i created my first fully
asian character with ai ling!

and if how a character looks like, what her cultural
background may be, what his sexual orientation
may be, if none of this truly matters... if a good story
trumps all. then why is it that we aren't reading more
stories with more diverse characters in them?
shouldn't stories be more reflective of the current
world that we live in?

and that's why malinda and i created this challenge!
for full details, click here. and i promise, the book
prizes are out of this world and the different types
of stories and genres abound!

i challenge you!
happy summer reading! 8)


Helen Lowe said...

Some of my favorite books/characters that I think have some diversity include Shoka and Taizu in CJ Cherryh's "The Paladin" and the world of Mara of the Acoma in Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts "Daughter of the Empire", which I understand is based on medieval Korean society. I also loved Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone, who is an albino. More strength to your challenge, Cindy.

Sharon said...

what a great idea. I will send the link to my daughters school librarian. Kim Harrison has a strong Asian character, Ivy. She is also gay.

Thanks for this post :)

cindy said...

thanks helen, and very cool! sounds like great titles! will have to check them out in goodreads.

sharon, that would be fantastic! and i haven't read widely in adult paranormal at all so it's good to know that there is diversity! cheers!