We all have that one book in which we found that one character that was us; that was so similar to ourselves that it made our hearts flutter. We all have a character that we connect to because we relate to them on so many levels - and they change your life, or at least have a place in your heart, because it means that you are no longer alone, and you get a whole book to read about someone like you.
But the thing is, I haven't found that character yet. Not really. I mean, I've found brunette girls who like reading and want to be writers, but I haven't found a character that has been so like me that it's touched my heart, that I truly relate to. I haven't found a character with my disability.
Okay, let me elaborate. I have Cerebral Palsy - a physical disability. Now, why would I want to read about someone with my disability? Good question. It's the same as why people who like reading like to read about a character who likes reading, and so on and so on. It's just really, really nice to find someone like you in a book, someone who you can relate to and who understands you. I know that sounds really deep, but a disabled character with Cerebral Palsy might understand my condition and what happens to me because of it, and the thought of that, the thought of people like me being represented in something I love, is the best thing in the world.
That's why we need diverse books - especially in YA. Because the people who most need to be represented and understood when growing up (the questions that've been asked that might've been avoided if disability had more representation, wow) would benefit in so many ways by having characters and themes in books that they could relate to. Everyone deserves a book that caters to them, that shows them that they are not alone, while raising awareness for them and their lives/conditions/struggles/normalness.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald says: "That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."
So I think that there should be more books out there that makes sure that everyone has at least one instance in literature where they belong, and can relate to a character's longings, so eventually, they become accepted, and universal.
Or at least, that's my opinion. I know my reasons for wanting diverse books are very personal, so I'd love to hear yours! What is your favourite diverse book? Let's get recommending some, so authors and publishers know that we want more!
Do you think we need diverse books?
Chloe is a book blogger over at Writer-on-Wheels. She is a huge fan of Amber's blog and is very grateful for the opportunity to have a post on her blog. (Thanks so much!)
She is 17 and lives in the UK. Some would say she is a nerd (and they would be right). She loves reading and talking about books (particularly YA) and would like to be a writer and poet when she grows up (although she isn't sure she ever will grow up).