Anindita on Writing Diverse Characters

Growing up, I read almost no books in which characters looked like me, and when they did, they were usually trying to reconcile their Indian and American heritages. I didn’t like these books. Sure, they were a necessary step in multicultural literature, but to me, they were irrelevant. The presented a false dichotomy; my identity was much more complicated than two traits. Even worse: these books bored me. I liked adventures and mysteries, fantasy and science fiction. I had more in common with Meg Murry, who tessered to other planets, than with these characters who were supposed to represent me.

via Writing Diverse Characters | anindita.org.

Anindita B Sempere writes advice on how to write characters from diverse backgrounds. This quote really spoke to me because of an article I wrote a few weeks ago where I stated that reading Black books often feel like homework.

Books about different ethnicities and cultures don’t get to be “normal,” “fun” genres like science fiction and fantasy, mystery, or just a wacky tale with PoC characters. They’re often heavy hitting, historical novels or infodumps on cultural traditions–important, but boring to a kid who otherwise reads Harry Potter and, as Anindita mentions, A Wrinkle in Time. Ethnic characters don’t get to be the Meg Murrays or the Sammy Keyes (a personal childhood favorite), they must deal with racism and oppression and sometimes a kid just wants a character who looks like them to have fun, have adventures.

Hopefully, the diversity campaigns going around (#weneeddiversebooks in particular) help make change, make awareness, so that children of different nationalities can pick up a book and find someone like them and also learn about characters who are not like them, without feeling like they’re going to be asked to write a book report afterwards. So that they know that children of color can enjoy life too.

Library Overload

Library Overload I want to read all these books all at once! I’ve overwhelmed myself and don’t want to return any of them, I want to read them all right now! #thatwouldbeoneofmysuperpowers #andinstanttransportation I hope to report on these books soon, but I also have work for a science fiction/fantasy class I am taking. See? Overwhelmed! Currently reading, Alif the Unseen.

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African American speculative fiction for kids | Fledgling

African American speculative fiction for kids | Fledgling.

I am currently reading The Golden Hour and have Zetta Elliot’s A Wish Before Midnight checked out from the library. I made it about halfway through Book of Wonders (it’s not bad, just something about it isn’t holding me the way The Golden Hour is). This is a great go to list when looking for new MG/YA SFF books to read.

Click through to check them out!

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