{diversity in lit} Friday #07: (re)sources

jarek puczel{illustration by Jarek Puczel}

There are some brilliant blogs and challenges out there that provide lists, reviews, or linking hubs for reviews regarding Diversity in Literature. I am going to list & link a few resources every Friday, as well as ome reviews of div/lit fiction for the grown-up shelf as I encounter them through the week. If you posted a review or interview that should interest adult readers featuring an author or protagonist of the oft marginalized due to color, sexual orientation, sex/gender, ability, etc. since last Friday, please share in comments. Do feel free to share your favorite resources in comments, I will share them in future Friday posts.


–Heather at Book Addiction reads Julia Alvarez’s Once Upon a Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA (Viking Adult 2007): “explores this celebration that brings a Latina girl into womanhood. She attends the quince of a young woman named Monica who lives in Queens, and witnesses the commotion, confusion, and potential for disaster that comes with planning this important event.”–publisher’s comments.

“What I really liked about this book was how it was a mixture of journalism, cultural analysis, and it had a memoir feel at times as well. Alvarez digs deep into the historical significance and modern execution of quinceaneras while at the same time reflecting on her own childhood and experiences growing up Latina in the US.”–Heather

hotel brasil–Scroll down through Shelf Awareness to Nick DiMartino’s review of Frei Betto’s Hotel Brasil (trans. by Jethro Soutar); Bitter Lemon Press 2014: “Hotel Brasil comes at you in short little bullets of narrative, each with its own title, sometimes no more than a paragraph or two long. The odd technique works. Alternately comic, insightful and harrowing in equal proportions, Betto is a thorough entertainer, painting a Rio de Janeiro of road accidents and shoeshine boys, kidnappings and murderous neighborhood mobs, topping it all off with a horribly satisfying ending–not to mention a glue-sniffing, revolver-toting 12-year-old street girl who threatens to walk away with the story.”–Nick

–Melissa, Avid Reader’s Musings reads (and pairs with movies) The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan (Ballantine 2009); “set in San Francisco and follows Ruth and her boyfriend Art through their relationship with flashbacks to Ruth’s childhood. Ruth’s relationship with her mother LuLing is the main focus. LuLing is beginning to show signs of dementia and as Ruth struggles to come to come to terms with this she begins to learn more about her mother’s life before America. […] I loved how the book dealt with the balance of regret and love that exists in most relationships. It explores the way our scars from childhood shape the people we become. Yet even as we see our past pain affect our decisions it helps to understand the history of the people you love.”-Melissa

–Alison at An Uncalibrated Centrifuge offers a mini-review of Zora Neale Hurston’s beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God. “Hurston’s writing is incredibly beautiful. She has a way of describing characters and events in a way that feels unique and fresh, without ever becoming flowery.”

men we reaped–I know I said I’d focust on Fiction, but as this is a Memoir I do want to read… Leah of Books Speak Volumes reviews Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury 2013). “In four years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men she cared deeply about. On the surface, these men, including her brother, died from drug overdose, homicide, suicide, and car crashes. However, in her struggle to make sense of these deaths, Ward sees a deeper cause.”–publisher copy

“As you might be able to surmise, this isn’t an easy, entertaining read. It’s heartbreaking and filled with hopelessness. […] It’s a book of deep love and earth-shaking grief. This is an important book that I really think everyone should read.”–Leah

and this biography: Bildungsroman looks at Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland ( “What a remarkable, encouraging story. Written naturally, modestly, and conversationally, by the end of Life in Motion, readers will feel as if they know Misty personally. […] Being an African-American ballerina, Misty had to confront the fact that, at times, she was or wasn’t placed in classical roles or companies due to her race. She had to learn to stand up for herself and believe that she could become the acclaimed dancer she so wanted to be, that she would find mentors and choreographers who believed in her and would support her career. […] Throughout the memoir, Misty seems both very humble and very honest. […] You feel her triumphs and tragedies, wincing whenever she falls and cheering her on every time she gets back up. The message here is loud and clear: Follow your heart. If you know what you love, if you know what moves you, keep moving.”

in the orchard Boston Bibliophile reads In the Orchard, The Swallows, by Peter Hobbs. (Europa 2014). “is a slim, lyrical book that can be read in a sitting or two, about a young man released from a Pakistani prison after more than a decade. Now, the boy he was gone, and the man he could have been ceased to exist, he must figure out who he is and how he will survive, not just day to day but how to make a life when everything about himself has been shattered, reformed and remade. […]  I would recommend In the Orchard for readers of Atiq Rahimi and Khaled Hosseini. It’s a little gem.”–Marie

–A Book Trailer for Lenelle Moise’s Haiti Glass via Vimeo. so good. “n her debut collection of verse and prose, Moïse moves deftly between memories of growing up as a Haitian immigrant in the suburbs of Boston, to bearing witness to brutality and catastrophe, to intellectual, playful explorations of pop culture enigmas like Michael Jackson and Jean-Michel Basquiat.”–publisher’s copy.

————Book/& Lists———–

Tu Books tumblr answers “Where Can I Find Great Diverse Children’s and YA Books?” with a list.

Carrie Cuinn shares her “Updated! List: 100+ Asian Speculative Fiction Authors (with Links)” “I’ve been wanting to expand my reading to include more international speculative fiction, and more non-white American authors. I am privileged to know a couple of brilliant writers who also happen to be Asian, and that seemed a good place to start my reading*.”

I’m Not the Nanny shares “9 Picture Books that Celebrates Mixed Race Families

Read for Pleasure offers a list of “Authors of Color Online

Torchbearers: Black Women in Comics” names w/ sites linked=awesome! Thanks to The Ormes Society


–The New York Times ran two articles I want to share this week:

Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” by Walter Dean Myers.Thousands of young people have come to me saying that they love my books for some reason or the other, but I strongly suspect that what they have found in my pages is the same thing I found in “Sonny’s Blues.” They have been struck by the recognition of themselves in the story, a validation of their existence as human beings, an acknowledgment of their value by someone who understands who they are. It is the shock of recognition at its highest level.”

The Apartheid of Children’s Literature” by Christopher Myers (illustrator of above image). “This apartheid of literature — in which characters of color are limited to the townships of occasional historical books that concern themselves with the legacies of civil rights and slavery but are never given a pass card to traverse the lands of adventure, curiosity, imagination or personal growth — has two effects.”

–Phil Nel on his Nine Kinds of Pie blog, (responds to the above two articles) and has some fantastic links for essays, authors, etc. “’The Boundaries of Imagination’; or, the All-White World of Children’s Books, 2014

–Diversity in YA shared an article by author Amalie Howard “The Diversity Dilemma” “As a Person/Author of Color, there’s an expectation that you’re going to write a book about a person of color or about different cultures. Hence the title of this post—the diversity dilemma. When I wrote my first book, a fantasy story about a witch, my agent got a lot of feedback from editors saying, ‘why doesn’t she write a book about her background and her culture? It’s so interesting.’”

–Author Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s blog Cynsations hosts a guest post by author Ellen Oh on “The Ongoing Problem with Sexism” “We need to understand that how we portray women in literature and film and television is a reflection of our role in society. The more we provide diversity of characters in these mediums, the more we show a fair view of who we are in the world. Because women come in all shapes, all sizes, all types, all races, all religious backgrounds, and a vast diversity of personalities.”

–Read for Pleasure shares this video: “ICYMI: Between the Lines: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith” “If you missed the conversation between acclaimed authors Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Adichie, the Schomburg Center has made video available. As always, both authors were witty and charming and their take on American culture as an English Jamaican and Nigerian were interesting and informative.”

–“Britain’s Channel 4 News, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses race, love, hair, and Americanah.”

new namesThe 2014 Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award is : NoViolet Bulawayo for We Need New Names.

–WritabilityOn Diversity within Diversity” “Sometimes, we look at a representation of a minority, and we forget this isone person in a community of people who are gay, or black, or chronically ill, or blind, or a combination thereof, or whatever the case may be. Sometimes we forget that the community of that one sect of people is just as beautifully diverse as the world as a whole. Diversity within diversity.”

–Shanna Reed Miller—A Blerd Girl Writer posts “The Case for Black Characters” “Which ethnic group has the highest reading rate? Black folk. Eighty-one percent of Black people read at least one book last year versus just 76% of white people. Why is it that less than 3% of books published feature a character of color?”

Powell’s Books: %30 Off Selected Books of Women in Translation


The Ormes Society: “named after the legendary pioneering cartoonist of color Jackie Ormes, is an organization dedicated to supporting black female comic creators and promoting the inclusion of black women in the comics industry as creators, characters, and consumers.”

I’m Not the Nanny! I’m Thien-Kim and live in the Washington, DC metro area. […] As the mom of biracial children, I’ve been mistaken for the nanny, depending on which DC Metro park I visit. I started this site as a way to share the challenges and joys of raising biracial children.”


onceup8300The Once Upon a Time Challenge VIII hosted by Carl V. at Stainless Steel Droppings.

“Friday, March 21st begins the eigth annual Once Upon a Time Challenge. This is a reading and viewing event that encompasses four broad categories: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum. The challenge continues through June 21st and allows for very minor (1 book only) participation as well as more immersion depending on your reading/viewing whims.”

I found this handy-dandy “folk-fairy-tale” goodreads list to generate reading ideas thanks to CBC Diversity! And here’s their shelf labeled “mythology”

thoughts? would love to hear them...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s