Wednesday, 20 January 2016
Paperback's Pondering's: Diversity in YA
Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is all about a very well thought over topic in the bookworld: diverse books in YA.
Chances are, if you're a bookworm, you've seen this topic float around once or twice before. Whether it would be the #weneeddiversebooks campaign, or just general people debating over racism, sexuality and gender issues in YA, one could argue that we are the generation who have become more conscious of various issues. So today, I'm going to talk about what I would like to see change in YA. I've read a lot, and I think that there is always room for improvement.
Firstly, I would like to see more Canadian/International YA authors hitting the bestsellers. No offence to the Americans, you guys have some great authors, but there aren't many international authors who are extremely well known/world acclaimed. It's time to let different authors shine and bring pride to the bookworms in their country.
Similarly, I'd love for more YA, particularly contemporaries, to have books that take place in different countries. Besides the fictional worlds of fantasy and dystopia, most contemporaries take place in the United States. But what about Canada? Maybe Italy? Heck, even India! I understand that authors write about settings that are familiar to them, but maybe exploring different backgrounds could be a good thing.
Now to a big debate: feminism. There is A LOT of YA that portrays a strong, kickass female lead who don't need no man. However, this representation is not reflective of ALL females. Girls don't need to be fearless and fierce to be strong, they CAN be girlier, maybe less physically fit, and can use their brains as a weapon as opposed to a gun. THERE'S MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF STRONG WOMAN OUT THERE, PEOPLE.
Sexuality. With LGBTQA books hitting the big time, the world has become more open to different types of love. However most books only contain the L and the G side of things, with the protagonist being either gay or lesbian. But what about a Bi character? Maybe someone who's trans? Or perhaps even create a character who is asexual and just doesn't feel sexually connected to anyone! There's a whole spectrum out there that needs to be explored.
So what I'm trying to get out there is, that diverse books are becoming a bit repetitive. Remember that there is more to diversity than just one gay character or a kickass lead, and perhaps researching lesser known topics can make us all a little less ignorant.
I want to know what you think! Are you happy with the representation of diversity in YA, and what are some of your favourite diverse reads?! I'm looking for your rec's.
Emily @ Paperback Princess