Happy World Book Day! I hope you are all celebrating today by taking some time out to read a book or two. As I work in a Primary School I have spent my day dressed up as The Big Bad Mouse from The Gruffalo and doing lots of bookish activities.
Today myself, and some amazing UKYA Book Bloggers are taking part in a World Book Day Celebration by celebrating diverse books for kids and teens. Diversity in reading is so important, especially for the younger generation. Young people want to see themselves reflected in works of fiction, and to know that they aren’t alone.
Anyway, without further ado here are three of my favourite diverse books for Kids and Teens.
Nothing Ever Happens Here by Sarah Hagger-Holt
This book centres around Izzy and her family, who are thrust into the spotlight after her Dad comes out as trans. Izzy is scared her family will be torn apart by this news and that she will lose her Dad forever. She’s also worried about what people at her school will say and if she really can stand up for herself and face her fears.
This book was such a beautiful, poignant read that got right into the heart of one family trying to come to terms with one of them coming out as trans. It was written so beautifully, and it opened my eyes to the issues that trans people can face when coming out and being who they really are. We also got to see this through the eyes of Izzy, and how it was affecting her. There were times throughout the story where I did find myself welling up. It’s a book that is moving and packed full of empathy, and for that I salute it.
Nothing Ever Happens Here perfectly ties together the themes of LGBTQ+, family, identity and finding your place in the world, and I honestly feel like it’s going to be such an important read for many young people.
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNiccoll
A Kind Of Spark was a book that literally tugged at my heartstrings so much that I devoured it in one sitting. This book follows the story of 11 year old Addie as she tries to campaign for a memorial to be erected in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there is more to the stories of these witches, just like there is to her own story. Can Addie make the people in her town see her, and her autism and make her voice heard.
This was such a touching book, that I know will inspire many for years to come. Middle Grade books with disability rep, I find are very hard to come by and this is something that does need to change. Elle did an incredible job at highlighting the issues that autistic people have to face, and it really did pull at my heart. I was rooting for Addie from the moment we were introduced to her and found her to be such an inspirational character.
I came away from this book with a better understanding and knowledge of what it means to be autistic and the issues autistic people have to face on a day to day basis. I also came away realising that there is more that needs to be done in regards to disability rep in Middle Grade fiction.
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
A reimagining of Cinderella featuring a queer, black, female protagonist? Erm yes please! Cinderella is Dead was one of my stand out reads of 2020 and one that I still to this day can’t stop thinking about. This book had everything I could want in a YA fantasy and I was in awe of it.
Cinderella is Dead is set 200 years after the story of Cinderella and every girl living in the kingdom knows her story off by heart and has to recite it daily. Every year all the girls in the kingdom have to attend the royal ball to be ‘chosen’ by one man, who they will marry. For those not chosen they are forfeited. Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen. She would rather marry her best friend, Erin. On the night of the Royal Ball, Sophia makes a choice that causes her to run for her life, and into the tomb of Cinderella, there, she meets someone who will end up showing her that she does have the courage to remake this world they are living in.
This book was outstanding and I devoured every single page, and would so again in a heartbeat. I loved the way the book was centred around female empowerment and wanting to fight the patriarchy. Also, the diversity within this book was next to none. Sophia was a queer, black female who was badass throughout the story. She fought for what she believed in and ending up stopping at nothing to achieve her goals. Each female character that you met within the story brought that strong female vibe and it was awe-inspiring. I feel that many young females will read this and be inspired to make a difference in what they believe in.
So there are my top 3 diverse books for kids and teens. Are there any you would recommend?
The celebrations are taking part all day, so do go and check out the other bloggers taking part. Rachel from A Cascade of Books posted just before me and Ben from Books With Ben will be posting after me.
Have a lovely rest of World Book Day! Keep on reading!