October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Summer Khaleq from California.
Most of us can attest to the fact that the ever-growing Young Adult genre is one of the most boundless and honest genres in modern-day literature. In terms of innovation, YA wins the gold.
Yet despite the ever-expanding horizons of YA, diversity in general seems to be a taboo topic. There aren’t nearly as many books featuring POC, LGBTQ, and/or disabled characters as there should be, with authors taking the safe route and opting for white heterosexual leads.
I’m certainly not the first to notice this, though. Campaigns supporting and advocating for diversity have been popping up all over the internet (such as the popular #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign), and if you aren’t familiar with any then you’ve either been a) living under a rock or b) hiding under a rock while reading a book. (Really, isn’t it sad the amount of campaigning that must be done in order to implement something that should be expected in this day in age?)
For those who are new to the movement, I’ve created a nifty little flowchart, since it can be cumbersome to look for potential diverse reads (insert expression of disappointment and irritation here). Even for those who have been following the campaigns for years, there are quite a few lesser-known books here that you should definitely give a try.
The flowchart includes diverse books in YA contemporary fiction. There is a mix of everything from older releases to new releases and books that include people of color, LGBTQ characters, disabled characters, or a mixture of those. Loads of chocolate goes to the authors who were gutsy enough to rebel instead of conform to the accepted standards. Fight the powers! Fight for change! Make a difference! (That is me attempting to be revolutionary.)
– Summer Khaleq is a 16-year-old girl who is secretly a wizard and a pun-wielding warrior but realizes too late that she has revealed her secret. She ironically prefers the wintertime because even her namesake becomes irritable after a while. When not devouring books she likes writing, surfing (the internet), and being a history nerd. She blogs at MissFictional’s World of YA Books.