Friday, November 9, 2012

Diversity in Books for Teens & Tweens

"Building a dynamic presence of YA books written by authors of color will do more than serve the needs of teens of color.  Books by Latino, Native, African, and Asian American authors provide all teens with the opportunity to build more universal perspectives.  Some teens will finally find stories that validate their own existence, while others will be able to build capacity for knowing, accepting, and treasuring people with a different life experience."
~"Wheaties Boxes, Rolling Stone Covers, and Library Shelves: Projected Preferment" by Edith Campbell, Voya October 2012 (vol. 35 # 4)

Let's face it, the teen years can be difficult and challenging, particularly for young adults who are different from the culture around them, and when parents try to help, often the teens just don't want to talk.  That's why we think that it's so important to offer materials for teens that cater to a variety of interests and describe different experiences - sometimes, if a teen won't talk, they just might read, if they can find an adequate reflection of their own lives.  Here are some titles to share with a teen outsider to "promote racial, gender, sexual orientation, and class diversity in children's literature":

The Choke Artist: Confessions of a Chronic Underachiever by David Yoo

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty  by G. Neri

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

How Tía Lola Saved the Summer by Julia Alvarez

The Battle of Jericho by Sharon M. Draper

Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos

A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow by Faïza Guène

Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier

Bindi Babes by Narinder Dhami

Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George

Useful links:

American Indians in Children's Literature

Native American Themes in Childrens & YA Books

Children's and YA Books with Asian Heritage Themes

Children's Book Council (CBC) Diversity blog

The Brown Bookshelf

Lee & Low Books - An independent childrens' book publisher focusing on diversity. Their mission is to meet the need for stories that all children can identify with and enjoy.  Look for some of their titles in our catalog!

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