On Race and YA Lit: A Reading List

Here is a list of good sources about race in YA literature; most came out in 2012.

Commentary by best-selling writer Anderson about the lack of racial diversity in NPR’s 2012-best-of-YA list:
Anderson, Laurie Halse. “Happy & Sad about the NPR Top 100 YA List.” LaurieHalseAnderson.com. 12 Aug. 2012. http://madwomanintheforest.com/happy-sad-about-the-npr-top-100-ya-list/

Want to see some YA covers with some color? Look here:
Bajpai, Nandini. “100+ YA Book Covers of Color!” Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/nandinibajpai/one-hundred-ya-book-covers-of-color/

Despite the explosion of YA lit, Jen Doll argues we have a long way to go to diversify representations of race. She asks, “What does it mean when kids don’t see themselves on, or in, the books intended for them?”

Doll, Jen. “The Ongoing Problem of Race in Y.A.” The Atlantic Wire. 26 Apr. 2012. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2012/04/ongoing-problem-race-y/51574/

The group responsible for the YA anthology Diverse Dystopias provides us with more reading material featuring characters of color in dystopian settings:
Hannah. “Diverse Dystopias: A Book List.” The Open Book. Lee&Low.com. 30 Aug. 2012. http://blog.leeandlow.com/2012/08/30/diverse-dystopias-a-book-list/

Holmes looks at reactions and analyses related to some viewers’ responses to the character of Rue in the Hunger Games movie:
Holmes, Anna. “White Until Proven Black: Imagining Race in Hunger Games.” NewYorker.com. 30 Mar. 2012. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/03/hunger-games-and-trayvon-martin.html

Like Anderson, Shaker Laurie responds to the lack of racial diversity in the NPR best-of list: “Such an exclusive list isn’t just problematic for teens of color; when white teens are told that the “good” books are all about white people, it normalizes the white experience and bolsters white privilege.”
Laurie, Shaker. “On NPR’s Very White Best Young Adult Book List.” 9 August 2012. http://www.shakesville.com/2012/08/on-nprs-very-white-best-young-adult.html

A reaction to Jenn Doll’s Atlantic Wire article, addressed to YA writers:
Ockler, Sarah. “Race in YA Lit: Wake Up & Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, White Authors!” sarahockler.com. 30 Apr. 2012. http://sarahockler.com/2012/04/30/race-in-ya-lit-wake-up-smell-the-coffee-colored-skin-white-authors/

As mentioned in the Anderson article, a great website for finding YA books with characters of color:
Reading in Color. http://blackteensread2.blogspot.com/p/booklists.html

African American writer Jacqueline Woodson gives us a great list of good reads with characters of color:
Woodson, Jacqueline. “Good Minds Suggest — Jacqueline Woodson’s Favorite Books about Real Teen Problems. GoodReads.com. Feb. 2012. http://www.goodreads.com/interviews/show/649.Jacqueline_Woodson?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=editorial&utm_campaign=goodminds

Finally, check out http://www.diversityinya.com and/or http://diversityinya.tumblr.com. Created by YA writers Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo, they’ve been “puttin’ a little diversity in YA since 2011.”


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