Continuing the Fun with Diverse Books, here's a quick list of great books with multicultural characters to offer your ten-year-old reader of fantasy, as selected by my own dear child.
Academy Zero Gravity (2011), and Astronaut
Academy Re-Entry (2013), by Dave Roman, are wonderfully imaginative graphic novels, arguably more sci fi than fantasy. There's a diverse cast of characters, many of whom are deeply loveable.
the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin (2009) I have yet to meet a kid (even my older very picky reader!) who didn't enjoy this lovely story set in a fantasy China. Both the illustrations and the writing are lovely!
Jinx (2013) and Jinx's Magic (2014), by Sage Blackwood, is one of those blink-and-you'll-miss-it examples of diversity--the title character has brown skin, and it is mentioned in passing. (I think we need lots of books in which people just happen to be all sorts of people, that can't be Labeled particular things, because of course readers are all sorts of people themselves). It's one of my son's favorite series.
Likewise, it's mentioned in passing that the hero of The
Menagerie (2013), and Dragon
on Trial (2014) by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland, is African American. Any reader who loves magical creatures should check out this series!
My Neighbor Totoro (the novel), by Tsugiko Kubo (2013)-- I myself love this book tons. It's very faithful to movie--all the gentle, sweet magic and family love is there in full force.
And finally, my son wants to make sure I include the Spirit Animal series (the first of which is Wild
Born by Brandon Mull (2013), staring a group of kids that includes a girl from a fantasy China and one from a fantasy Africa, and they are shown beatufully, though not very large, on the covers (of books 1 and 3, respectively):
And even more finally, I just want to sneak in a mention of Dragonbreath, Book 2: Attack of the Ninja Frogs, by Ursula Vernon, because even though the main character, Suki, is a salamander, she is a really really cool salamander from Japan.
My ten-year-old will be an eleven-year-old next Wednesday...and for tomorrow's challenge of putting our money where our mouths (or fingers, since we're typing) are, I am walking up the hill to the closest bookstore (B. and N.) to buy a multicultural fantasy book or two for him because I am sure there will be lots to choose from ha ha and if that fails I will have to buy something on-line. I say "ha ha" because every anniversary of my decision to look for multicultural books I go to the bookstore and last year I managed to happily buy The Summer Prince but it is not as though there are scads of mg sff books that we don't already have with kids of color on the covers....
But in any event, if B. and N. has a copy of Nightingale's Nest, by Nikki Loftin, I will buy a copy of that because I think its publisher, Razorbill, should be rewarded to the gills for this cover, in particular because no particular ethnicity was specified for the character by the text.
Here are the details for tomorrow from the We Need Diverse Books website:
"On May 3rd, 2pm (EST), the third portion of our campaign will begin. There will be a Diversify Your Shelves initiative to encourage people to put their money where their mouth is and buy diverse books and take photos of them. Diversify Your Shelves is all about actively seeking out diverse literature in bookstores and libraries, and there will be some fantastic giveaways for people who participate in the campaign! More details to come!"