#StaffPick: Diverse Reads

Compared to twenty years ago, we’ve come a long way in diverse representation! There’s always improvements to make, but now, we are starting to see people of every shape, colour, belief, gender, sexuality, and ability at the forefront of our stories.

Here are a few diverse reads for you, if you’re looking for something new. They are all under a year old and have gotten a lot of positive attention!

Slay, by Brittney Morris

(September 24, 2019)

An honors student at Jefferson Academy, seventeen-year-old Keira enjoys developing and playing Slay, a secret, multiplayer online role-playing game celebrating black culture, until the two worlds collide.

If I Go Missing, by Brianna Jonnie and Nahanni Shingoose

(December 13, 2019)

If I Go Missing is derived from excerpts of a letter that went viral and was also the basis of a documentary film. In her letter, Jonnie calls out the authorities for neglecting to immediately investigate missing Indigenous people and urges them to “not treat me as the Indigenous person I am proud to be” if she were to be reported missing. Indigenous artist Neal Shannacappo provides the artwork. Through his illustrations, he imagines a situation in which a young Indigenous woman does disappear, portraying the reaction of her community, her friends, the police, and media.

All Boys Aren’t Blue: a Memoir-Manifesto, by George M. Johnson

(April 28, 2020)

A first book by the prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist shares personal essays that chronicle his childhood, adolescence and college years as a Black queer youth, exploring subjects ranging from gender identity and toxic masculinity to structural marginalization and Black joy.

The Henna Wars, by Adiba Jaigirdar

(May 12, 2020)

Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna artists.

As the competition heats up, Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance.

Parachutes, by Kelly Yang

(May 26, 2020)

They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the United States while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them.

Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale.

As they steer their own distinct paths, Dani and Claire keep crashing into one another, setting a course that will change their lives forever.

Hunted by the Sky, by Tanaz Bhathena

(June 22, 2020)

Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. A group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic.
Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army.
Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.

Have you read any of these books? Are there any diverse reads you would recommend?