The Reviewers' Roundtable is a weekly discussion feature hosted by me and Emily from Read Your Bookcase. Each week we discuss a different bookish/blogging topic and hope you guys will share your thoughts too!
Go HERE to find a list of past/future topics.
Emily at Read Your Bookcase
Michelle at Pink Polka Dot Book Blog
Diversity in YA- Where is it??
So I don't think it's any secret that there's a lack of diversity in YA books. Many of the books on the shelves of Barnes & Noble feature straight white girl main characters. Sometimes you get a boy main character... but mostly it's white girls. And if you look at book covers, you will see this is reflected there.
The one trend I have been noticing on the rise is that there seem to be more YA books that feature Gay & Lesbian couples. I mean I never thought a book like Two Boys Kissing could be able to be so popular in America... and this summer it seemed like everyone was reading it! Just the cover and title alone in our homophobic society would normally be enough for people to fear it. I'm happy to say this book did become main stream... and it's been nominated for a ton of awards.
But what about other minorities? Sometimes I'll read a book which has a love interest who isn't white. I've read a few books with Asian main characters. Not very many African American main characters at all.
So why is this?? I am not equipped to answer such a huge question. I *think* some of this has to do with that authors write what they know. If most authors are white women, they are going to write about white women. I recently went to a signing with Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han where they discussed their Burn for Burn series. Siobhan basically said that she didn't write as much of the Lillian character's parts because she didn't feel like she could portray the Asian-American experience as authentically as someone who is Asian-American (actually Korean-American I believe). And that makes sense. Can white authors really know how a character of a different ethnicity sees the world? I don't really have the answers to that. I'm sure they can do it, but maybe it doesn't feel as natural to them?
Maybe the real solution is that we need more diverse authors being published. Maybe not every book cover with an African American on the cover needs to go directly to the Black History Month shelf at the book store. Or the Urban Fiction shelf.
If you want to get some really good information on this topic, I love this website. It basically celebrates and promotes diversity in YA. Also Forever YA did a fab series on this topic. I also think librarians are big pushers of diversity in books, and I see that in all the book blogging librarians that I follow. So I say keep up the good work guys!
Here are some books I read or want to read which feature diversity:
So what do you think about this topic? What would you like to see more of from a diversity perspective in YA?