Posts Tagged: Diverse Books

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Pressure of Perfection: On Diverse Authors and Readers

Posted by 5 Comments

These past two years, we have seen a definite surge in the amount of diverse books that are focus titles. This means that they are essentially a main focus for the publisher for the season and receive more publicity and marketing that non-focus titles. I am guessing seeing a couple diverse books floating around has probably led some people to believe that all the problems in publishing and life have been solved. THE END. WE HAVE ALL THE DIVERSE BOOKS WE NEED. We’re never gonna need anymore. Well, for starters, if you take a moment to look at the CCBC stats, that is simply not true. Only a fraction of children’s literature published each year features diverse* characters and a fraction of those books are written by the people who share the identities of the characters.

Okay so stats have been laid out. Minds blown. But that is not the point I am trying to make. With more books being focus titles, there is a growing pressure for diverse books by diverse authors to be perfect. (This post is not a critique of legitimate criticism and isn’t going in that direction.) Diverse authors don’t seem to be allowed the same wiggle room, white cis-het authors are. Their books must make or break an entire genre. That kind of pressure isn’t good for the long-term success of diverse books but also, it places pressure on diverse readers!!!!!

If a diverse book comes out, diverse readers are expected to immediately want to read it and love it. If we don’t love it, or find that there are faults, then we are the bad guys.

It might seem contradictory for me to say that diverse authors should be allowed to have non-perfect books and that diverse readers should be allowed to not like diverse books but here is the thing, the pressure on both diverse authors and readers is intrinsically tied to the concept of the model minority and assimilation, in my opinion.

We are supposed to be happy with the bits of representation we are afforded in the spotlight. We shouldn’t critique the breadcrumbs we get. We should be model minorities, we should assimilate, we should try to ignore what hurts us. And if we do critique, apparently, there is no win. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But the point of wanting more diverse books isn’t that we are going to read and love every single one of them. I don’t read and love every single book I read and I certainly won’t love every diverse book I read but I want to be able to have that option and be free from the pressure to love every single diverse book.

Basically, if diverse authors are free from the pressures of having to write perfect books, – from performing the model minorities – beloved by all, then diverse readers can be freed from the pressures of having to love all diverse books. Diverse books can and should be allowed to be NOT spectacular without it being a point against the general need for diverse books and a point against the diverse readers who are deemed as not being ‘appreciative’ simply for not loving a book.

I am not even sure if my discussion post really follows a linear progression and is coherent in terms of the point I am seeking to make but like hopefully, you do take something away from my discussion about the general pressures of being a diverse reader.


*the stats collected by the CCBC don’t seem to include LGBTQIAP+ folk which is an issue and a discussion for another day (and one I actually might do in the near future??)

Diverse Books out April 2018

Posted by on 05/06/2018 • 5 Comments

Helloooooo. Look at me. I didn’t publish this post late this time. Anyway, so. Welcome to the April roundup of Diverse Releases. These roundups focus on Young Adult and Middle Grade releases with the occasional romance release (which, there are way way way better roundups out there of diverse romance books.) I do also include books by authors of color that don’t necessarily have characters of color. Anyway, let me know if I miss a book or include one with bad rep!


 Any of these on your TBR? What are you most looking forward to diving into??

A Graphic Novel Memoir To Keep On Your Radar: Amla Mater by Devi Menon

Posted by on 05/04/2018 • 2 Comments

I hadn’t heard of Amla Mater but when I was approached to review it, I was immediately on board. The graphic novel memoir is rich in nostalgia and the memories of the motherland. Amla Mater is told from the perspective of a pregnant immigrant. It starts with a craving. A craving for something from home and from the Mili’s childhood. Something that can transport her across time and space.

One day, her significant other brings home some gooseberries, some amla. She decided to try to pickle the amla the way her childhood best friend’s grandmother would. While she is waiting for the amla pickle to mature and be ready to consume, she reflects on her life until the moment.

We are taken on a journey that begins with Mili and her…

Diverse Books Out March 2018

Posted by on 04/09/2018 • 4 Comments

March has been a not-so-great month for me so I delayed doing this post by a week (usually done on first Sunday of new month) but I DIDN’T FORGET. So, welcome to the March 2018 roundup of diverse releases. As previously mentioned, these roundups focus on YA and MG books because that’s what is easiest to keep track of for me. If I miss a book, or include one that shouldn’t be on here, let me know!!!


Any of these on your TBR? What are you most looking forward to diving into??

Diverse Books Out February 2018

Posted by on 03/04/2018 • 4 Comments

Heyyy, I am still here doing these roundups. I mean, it is only February and I still have like 10 more months to give up but I haven’t yet! These roundups tend to focus on YA and MG books because those are easiest to keep track of but I do try to include romances because I also read those and I want to make the list as thorough as possible. If I miss a book, or include one that shouldn’t be on here, let me know!!!



***The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza has an instance where a character is deadnamed

Any of these on your TBR? What are you most looking forward to diving into??

How to Support Diverse Books (aside from buying them)

Posted by on 02/28/2018 • 2 Comments


Here is the thing, even though you may think that there has been a huge influx of diverse books, there really has not been. Diverse authors, especially people of color, still face many barriers when it comes to getting their books published. You can check the CCBC Publishing Stastisitics for more info. We might not always be able to buy every single diverse book that comes out (even if we will try) because our wallets aren’t infinite but there are more things we can do that also supports diverse books!

1. Request upcoming releases at your library if they don’t already have them pre-ordered. Even if you are planning on buying a copy.

Libraries are always welcome to open recommendations from patrons!

2. Check diverse books out from the library!…

Blog Tour: Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes

Posted by on 02/23/2018 • 0 Comments

Occasionally, when a book is written in verse(partly in this case) and I need to review it, I break out my incredibly rusty poetry skills and write a review in verse too. I usually try to imitate the style of verse in the book but you know, it isn’t always successful.

This Book

Between the Lines follows the story

of eight teens.

It seems like a lot and is occasionally overwhelming 

and yet . . . 

Nikki Grimes has somehow found the balance so it isn’t

too much.

Between the Lines is so ordinary and yet extraordinary in the way it tells the story of

eight different children and how they come to embrace the power

of poetry.

The story of these eight different children is bound

to take you…

Not What I Wanted: #PrettyBoy Must Die by Kimberley Reid

Posted by on 02/21/2018 • 3 Comments

I wanted to love #PrettyBoy Must Die and I did NOT. It’s not even entirely easy to pin point where it went wrong and why I am not here salivating over its goodness? It’s got a teen CIA agent who is undercover, a mystery and some twists. My issue was that even though so many exciting things were happening in the story. I was not invested in the happenings. I did not care about the main character or the secondary characters and I didn’t really care about what was going on.

I didn’t passionately dislike or like the book so I basically have no idea how to rate it. Objectively, its not a terrible book but I do think that the writing might be part of the reason why I…