Diversity in Young Adult Literature

Diversity has come up a lot in today’s current events, and it’s important to have literature to turn to help understand others. This  list celebrates diversity through stories on race, culture, LGBTQ, and more.

The Game of Love and Death, by Martha Brockenbrough, Love and Death play a game with people’s lives by influencing their every decision. In this story, during the Great Depression,  Love and Death choose Flora and Henry who couldn’t be more different. Flora is an African-American who dreams of adventure and sings in a jazz club. Henry white and from a wealthy family with infinite opportunities. Find out if Love or Death will win in this historical fiction love story full of emotions and drama.

When the Moon was Ours, by Anna-Maria McLemore, is a magical realism book about a transgender boy, Sam, and his best friend Miel. Miel can grow roses out of her wrists and the Bonner sisters, who are rumored witches, are after the magic roses for their scent. The magical setting gives a twist to fairy tales and LGBTQ fiction.

In The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, Junior is a Spokane Native American living on reservation. To expand his cartoon career, he starts attending a high school off his reservation in an all-white farm town where the mascot is a Native American. This story is based on the author’s own experiences and is both funny and endearing.

John Green worked with David Levithan to write Will Grayson, Will Grayson ; a story about when Will Grayson meets another Will Grayson. This LGBTQ fiction story follows both Wills and one of Will’s best friend, Tiny. This book brings to light how identifying as LGBTQ can be difficult and scary in high school. This is a great, eye-opening read that goes to show that everyone is unique, even if you do share the same name with someone.

Gene Luen Yang wrote the graphic novel American Born Chinese,  which has three unrelated stories that come together in the end. In the first story, Jin Wang who is the only Chinese American at his new school and his is constantly made fun of by the jocks and bullies. The second story is a Chinese fable about Monkey King, who is the most powerful monkey in the world, but no longer wants to be a monkey. Lastly, Chin-Kee who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life. This story is both funny and action packed with a fun twist at the end.