Ten Books Celebrating Diversity

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becki Albertalli – For pure fun, this gorgeous read is perhaps my favourite YA of the year so far, and the two gay teens at the centre of the story are DEFINITELY my favourite couple for ages.

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell – Heartbreaking, but incredible, story of a Japanese teen dying of ALS and coping with his diagnosis by turning to new friends met on the internet, but also the wisdom of the samurai.

Pea’s Book of Holidays by Susie Day – The entire quartet of Pea’s Books is fabulous, and great at celebrating diversity casually – Pea’s sister Tinkerbell is mixed race, while the twins next door have two mums. This is my favourite story – I love the way it celebrates AND critiques Enid Blyton – and also has an excellent portrayal of Ryan, a boy with hemiplegia.

Cowgirl by GR Gemin – a lovely MG about the community that builds up on a council estate when a group of people who don’t normally talk to each other much become involved in a ridiculous plot to save some cows. Great to see some economic diversity here and it’s really funny.

Gypsy Girl by Kathryn James – Traveller Sammy-Jo is an outstanding heroine, taking part in illegal cage fights to earn money to pay for her sister’s wedding. I love the chemistry between her and ‘gorjer’ boy Gregory. (For more on why Kathryn, who spent 18 years working closely with traveller children and knew they rarely saw themselves represented in fiction, chose to use the title ‘Gypsy Girl’, check out this excellent interview at This Fleeting Dream.)

The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson – Based on the true story of a young woman of colour who convinced a respected family she was a princess from the South Seas, this is a fascinating tale of a historic hoax.

We Are All Made Of Molecules by Susin Nielsen – fabulous MG/YA crossover about a blended family formed when geeky Stewart and his father move in with queen bee Ashley and her mother, after Ashley’s dad comes out as gay. I love Ashley’s dad and his new boyfriend, a superb couple.

A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master – Wonderful historical MG set in India just before Partition and focusing on a great group of friends, including Muslim, Sikh and Hindu characters.

Far From You by Tess Sharpe – Devastating YA novel about a bisexual girl fighting an addiction to prescription drugs, and trying to work out who killed her girlfriend.

The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson – Transgender girl David’s world collides with that of Leo, who has his own secret, when Leo moves to David’s school. Heartbreaking in places but ultimately uplifting, this is wondrous.

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