Inspired by this article, I’ve decided to read only minority authors for the month of June. The lack of diversity in the publishing industry has been on my mind for a few years, since reading this article a few years ago about the lack of diversity in children’s books – and I make a real effort to ensure that Frances’ children’s books reflect the fact that she lives in a majority minority city, and introduce her to kids/life around the world. But I haven’t ever made a similar effort in my own reading.
This is definitely an area where I could use work. Taking a look at what I’ve read so far this year, only 4 of the 47 books I’ve read so far have been by non-white authors. This makes me better than this year’s summer reading list by the New York Times, but not by much.
I decided to give myself a month between deciding this and starting, so that I could do some research about good titles that I might like. I enjoyed Americanah (one of my 4 books this year), but it took me 6 weeks to read, and I generally read 6+ books a month, so I needed to make sure I had a good mix of more serious literature or non-fiction, and all the fun stuff I like to read: mysteries, children’s chapter books, and memoirs. Library Journal helpfully came out with this list of mysteries – and I’ve already starting (and am thoroughly enjoying) the first Blanche White novel. Otherwise, I did a lot of reviewing of ALA lists for children’s books – and googling things like “diverse memoirs”. This I think I highlights the problem with lack of diversity in publishing (and reviewing). Many of these books just aren’t coming to my attention through my regular sources (newspaper reviews, library blogs, the NPR books email, etc). That’s not right either, but in the meantime, I just need to expand where I’m looking.
The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign is on this – and has a tumblr and twitter feed which make it easier to follow news and get book recommendations – but I’m always looking for more. Is there a place you get book recommendations that covers diverse authors and characters? Do you have any books to recommend?