The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign launched in April 2014 by calling out the lack of diverse narratives in children’s literature. This grassroots effort advocates for essential changes in the publishing industry in order to foster books which reflect and honor all lives. They define diversity as: “all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.” Learn more at their website, www.weneeddiversebooks.org
While Summer Book Bingo is geared toward adults’ reading experiences, not children’s, we felt this group’s mission and message about the value of reading diverse voices was a perfect fit for the reading adventure that is Book Bingo. We encourage you to seek out books representing voices, experiences and identities different from your own. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Jam on the Vine by LaShonda K. Barnett is for lovers of historical fiction. Set in early 20th century Kansas City and the Jim Crow South, this novel focuses on Ivoe Williams, a Black female journalist who starts the first female-run African American newspaper with her lover Ona.
We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge first presents the African-American Freeman family as they travel to the Toneybee Institute, where they’ve agreed to be part of an experiment to teach a chimp American Sign Language. Daughter Charlotte begins to discover truth about the Institute’s history, and the past comes crashing into the present. If you enjoyed the themes of this year’s Seattle Reads book We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and want to see similar themes explored in a different way, this is the book for you!
Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade is a collection of short stories, all set in New Mexico and focused on characters coming of age and experiencing doubt or betrayal.
Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan follows an unnamed narrator over six decades of her life: from her birth during a time of political upheavel in Taiwan through her marriage to life in Berkeley, CA. This novel powerfully reflects on the personal and the political.
This is just scratching the surface of the many excellent books recently written by authors with diverse backgrounds — check out this list to see more in our catalog.
~posted by Andrea G.