I decided to join the #DiverseAThon initiative. It’s a low-stress reading initiative where you read diverse books from January 22nd to January 29th. There are no reading prompts or minimum requirements. You get to pick how many and which books you’d like to read. The point is to diversify your reading and participate in discussions and/or Instagram prompts to share your progress and experiences. You can find more information about the schedule for discussions on Twitter by checking out @DiverseAThon/#DiverseAThon.
Since I failed at my most recent bookish goals (didn’t quite get blackout on #DiversityDecBingo, only read half of the 7 books for #DAReadathon), I’ve decided to take it easy this time and not stress myself out setting overly ambitious goals. Thus, I’m focusing mostly on shorter books for MG and younger YA audiences.
I picked these out based on the idea of diversity within diversity. Five of these books feature South Asian characters, but they’re from a variety of cultural, linguistic, regional, and/or religious backgrounds.
In addition, I decided to read some older diverse books, published a few years ago (or even longer). The diversity in publishing movement only blossomed in the past two years, so older books tend to slip between the cracks, overshadowed by the hype of newer/upcoming releases.
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (2016) – YA, science fiction
This book has been on my TBR forever, so I decided to bump it up, just in time for the upcoming release of the sequel. It’s a science fiction pirate adventure with sea monsters and f/f romance and a Chinese protagonist.
God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems by Ishara Deen (2017) – YA, mystery
A Bengali Canadian Muslim girl deals with teenage growing pains while trying to solve a murder mystery. I just interviewed the author a week ago. You can read the interview here!
Child of Spring by Farhana Zia (2016) – MG, contemporary
A middle grade contemporary set in a small village in India, this book explores class privilege through the perspective of a young girl who is a servant to a rich girl.
Paris Pan Takes the Dare by Cynthea Liu (2009) – MG, Contemporary
A middle grade story about a Chinese American girl who’s new to town and is put to the test by her peers exploring the mystery of the supposedly haunted shed in her backyard.
The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen by Mitali Perkins (1993, 2005) – YA, contemporary
A second generation teen struggles to find her place in between two cultures, American and Indian/Bengali. I found this book at a used bookstore and snatched it up since it was only $2.50. It was originally published under a different title in 1993, meaning it’s as old as I am (wowzers), and was republished in 2005.
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger (2009) – YA, contemporary
This book features a Punjabi Sikh American girl who learns more about her heritage when her estranged uncle shows up in her life in the aftermath of 9/11.
Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai (2005) – YA, contemporary
During monsoon season of 1980, an orphaned Sri Lankan boy grapples with his sexuality when his cousin arrives from Canada. There aren’t nearly enough queer South Asian books out there, so I’m excited to read this one. The author is gay and mixed Sinhalese/Tamil.