I attended the Bookworms Unite PH meet up a few weeks ago, and during that event, there was a panel discussion about diverse books.
I’ve always assumed that when you talk about diverse books, you only talk about books that have characters who are people of color. Turns out, I was damn wrong. Plus, as a person of color, this definition does not really apply to me since I am a person of color. After listening to the panel last Sunday I come to realize, I have been a fan of diverse books all this time.
WHAT ARE DIVERSE BOOKS?
By definition, diverse means showing a great deal of variety. It means being very different. So in books, it means exactly just that.
Diverse books are supposed to give you an miscellany of multicultural and personal experiences. Because that’s what books are supposed to do – give you experiences you haven’t experienced or never would be able to experience.
Fadwa from Word Wonders gave a good definition of what diverse books is for her. For her, diverse books are one where the main characters are part of one of the marginalized group or more. The main character could be a person of color, suffering from mental illness, is part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Having these diverse books help marginalized people feel that they are not alone – that there are others like them, maybe experiencing the same thing as they are. The world isn’t inhabited by just one race, but of multiple. We are not all the same human beings. We all have different experiences, different cultures, and different conditions that I believe should be shown in books as well.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR ME?
I’m a person who struggles with anxiety and depression. Believe it or not, books that deal with mental illness are considered diverse reads. Why? Because characters who is struggling with mental illness is not commonly represented in books. I’ve only realized this recently myself.
But why is it important for me?
Having books out there that deal with something I am personally struggling with helps other people understand what it’s like to have whatever it is we are going through and also for those experiencing it to feel that they are not alone.
What it’s like for someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community and have no idea how to come out. What it’s like for a person of color to live in a place where they are the minority of the society they are in. Reading about these stories will help you live their lives, even for a little bit, and gain more understanding about their situation and struggles.
Diverse books are important to understand society not just as a whole. But in its parts Each society is not just made of one group of people – but multitude of them.
SOME GOOD POSTS ABOUT DIVERSITY IN BOOKS
I’ve read a few blog posts about diversity in books and here are some that stood out to me.
I made a vow to myself that I would read more diverse books, not because I have to, but because it has become important to me. It is important for me to support and read these books so that more authors will not be afraid to publish more books about their race, their culture, and experiences.
How about you? Is reading diverse books important to you too?