Monday, December 29, 2014

Dive Into Diversity Challenge

Monday, December 29, 2014
I've talked about this before, really don't like reading challenges. I know they're fun for some people but, for me, it's one of those things that just stress me out. Reading is an escape for me, and when I have to read something it stops being an escape.

That said, I'm participating in a reading challenge in 2015. The Dive Into Diversity Challenge is hosted by the awesome Magan and Estelle at Rather Be Reading and is inspired by the also awesome We Need Diverse Books campaign.

Unlike some of the other challenges out there, this one is relatively lax- all you have to do is read at least one diverse book a month. A lot of characters who don't fit the mythical norm (white, straight, middle-class, abled, etc.) don't get as much attention in media, including YA books but the We Need Diverse Books campaign (and, by extension, this challenge) seeks to change that.

What is all this diversity talk about? I'll let one of my favorite organizations, the Harry Potter Alliance, explain why representation is not just cool, but really necessary (I added the bold for emphasis):

"1. It gives people a stronger sense of self and affirmation of identity.
2. It gives children somebody to relate to and look up to.
3. It expands people’s assumptions of their capabilities (assumptions that are often relayed to them through constant negative media portrayal).
4. It provides a more realistic look at the world’s population.
5. It fights the idea that straight/white/male = normal and everything else is “other” (think about your local bookstore: there’s probably a section for African American Fiction, Gay and Lesbian Fiction, and Women’s Fiction, and while these can be positive spaces for marginalized groups to find books that include them and portray their issues with honesty and authenticity, it’s important to discuss the reasons why they have to have separate sections, and why they’re not already included in general literature and fiction)."

I was privileged enough to grow up with access to a great library at my synagogue, and reading about other Jewish kids really helped me find my own faith and appreciate my culture. Every kid of every race, religion, social class, etc. should have that chance.

After all, we can only benefit from diversity. The more stories are told, the more we as readers can better understand and empathize with people who may not share our background. Growing up and reading YA books about characters who grappled with their sexuality or gender (like Ask the Passengers or Luna)  is a large part of why I'm a feminist today. Books like Libba Bray's Beauty Queens (one of the most diverse books out there) was honestly a huge factor in my decision to double major in Women's & Gender Studies and Government.

Put very simply, diversity is important because everyone's story is important.

I'm going to start a tab with a bunch of my favorite diverse reads and I'd love your recommendations! Fantasy and realistic fiction are my favorite, but I also love a really great sci-fi, or a thriller...let's be real, I'll read anything.

Anyway, Happy New Year! Let's hope it's a great year, full of great (and diverse) books.

Will you participate in the Dive into Diversity Challenge this coming year?


  1. Thanks for sharing your campaign experience with us. It was an awesome reading challenge.

  2. Just read this amazing new YA fiction on Ganesha - Part 1 of the Temple Wars series - I think everyone should check it out! Temple Wars

  3. Exactly what Satan sez, dear: your comments brighten my day as the stanky ol Liar leads U.S. into the Abyss o'Misery. Our point is, girl, why have feminism listed all o'er thy blog, maam? Dontcha know FEMINISM is what DIVIDES us, ACCUSES and DEMEANS us? We must stand behind Trump to make this nation extravagant again, a Light Shining on the Hill for all the world to see, not FEMINISM which makes the weeek minded susceptible to Hell. And, believe-you-me, dear, there IS a Hell: just as Seventh-Heaven is above at the End for those who do good, Hell is below for those who perish with mortal sin on their indelible soul. You prooo'bly dont comprehend with your cell phone, concerned about your friends. That's fine. We all need to grow-up sometime: we have just the POW!er to administer the remedy...

    Dunno if you RITE... yet, lemme add summore thots; lemme fill-you-up withe efficacious epiphany, the avant-gardeness and necessary wisdom to achieve Seventh-Heaven, dear, if ya desire Seventh-Heaven...

    If 'freedom lies in being bold' (Robert Frost), doesn't pushing-the-envelope also result in the Elysian Fields of Utopia? If I'm the sower, we plant the Seed; if I'm an artist, we RITE the symphonies heard Upstairs ☆IF☆ we accept His lead withe orchestra...

    Wanna find-out the fax, Jak, in a wurld fulla the 'power of cowards'? Wanna wiseabove to help a 'Plethora Of Wurdz' [POW!] which are look'n for a new home in thy novelty?? Yay!

    Q: But [gulp] can anyone tell me the difference between K2/IQ? A: Nthn. In Heaven, we gitt'm both for eternity HA! Need a few more thots, ideers, wild wurdz (whoa, Nelly! easy, girl!) or ironclad iconoclasms?

    VERBUM SAT SAPIENTI (Latin: words to [the] wise): As an ex-writer of the sassy, savvy, schizophenia we all go thro in this lifelong demise, I just wanna help U.S. git past the ping-pong-politixx, the whorizontal more!ass! we're in and wiseabove to 'in fin sine fin' (Latin: in [the] End without End -Saint Augustine).

    "This finite existence is only a test, son," God Almighty told me in my coma. "Far beyond thy earthly tempest is where you'll find tangible, corpulent eloquence". Lemme tella youse without d'New Joisey accent...

    I actually saw Seventh-Heaven when we died: you couldn't GET!! any moe curly, party-hardy-endorphins, low-hanging-fruit of the Celestial Paradise, extravagantly-surplus-lush Upstairs (awww! baby kitties, too!!) when my o-so-beautifull, brilliant, bombastic girly passed-away due to those wry, sardonic satires...

    "Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the Heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightousness as bright as stars for all eternity" -Daniel 12:3, NJB

    Here's also what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

    Go gitt'm, girly. You're incredible. You're indelible. Cya Upstairs. I won't be joining'm in the nasty Abyss where Isis prowls
    PS Need summore unique, uncivilized, useless names?? Lemme gonna gitcha started, brudda:

    Oak Woods, Franky Sparks, Athena Noble, Autumn Rose, Faith Bishop, Dolly Martin, Willow Rhodes, Cocoa Major, Roman Stone, Bullwark Burnhart, Magnus Wilde, Kardiak Arrest, Will Wright, Goldy Silvers, Penelope Summers, Sophie Sharp, Violet Snow, Lizzy Roach, BoxxaRoxx, Aunty Dotey, Romero Stark, Zacharia Neptoon, Mercurio Morrissey, Fritz & Felix Franz, Victor Payne, Isabella Silverstein, Mercedes Kennedy, Redd Rust, Phoenix Martini, Ivy Squire, Sauer Wolfe, Yankee Cooky, blessed b9... (or mixNmatch)

    God blessa youse
    -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL

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