Diversity in YA

I’m up too early this morning, so I’m sitting at my computer with a Diet Coke.  (I promise I’m trying to cut down…)  Anyway, I was reading Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog because she posted an interesting link discussing diversity in YA.  It raises some important questions.  I apologize about the title of the blog, but it needs to be read.  http://www.bookslut.com/features/2010_02_015679.php

Does this post cause you to think about your own reading habits/choices?  Please comment.


  1. Janae Mahoney says:


  2. Alex Swanson says:

    I don’t think that i have ever read a book with a colored main character. I’ve never even thought about it. Diversity is’nt so bad, i can see that it would offend some people, but it would add to the genre of YA. I don’t think that it would make relating to the books any different or more difficult.

  3. Abby Bogie says:

    I LOVE diet Coke. (: I need to cut down too.
    My reading choices have a lot to do with the way the book looks like having an African-American on the cover or a book about Gay or Lesbian people. Personally I wouldn’t read a book about either or those topics just because they show me no interest.
    I pick books that I can relate to.
    I feel bad that I can’t read books about Gay people and that would be my reason why I wouldn’t read it, I wouldn’t broadcast it to the world though that I don’t like books that don’t relate to me I accept them but I wouldn’t read them.

  4. Mercedes Kaiser says:

    I would still read a book if the protagonist was African American. We can still relate to most of the same topics and situations. Nothing is different except for our color.

  5. Rachel Edrington says:

    This blog is about the characters of books mostly aren’t black. I never have really thought about it but I guess it doesn’t make a difference to me whether or not the person is black or white or whatever race they are. But I’m not one to make judgement on that sort of thing. If a book is good then it is going to be a good read. It doesn’t matter what the character’s in the book look like.


  6. Simone Orcutt says:

    That post made me realize that alot of the books I have read have really no diversity in them. I mean now that I really think about I seriously cant remember many books that I have read that had diversity. I think now I will try and find books with more in it. I really never actually put much thought into it. What I find funny is that I grew up around more black people then I did white people but yet I only read about white people. Very interesting.

  7. Stacey VanFleet says:

    After reading this article about how african americans are not involved in YA literature, it made me stop and think. Before this I guess I never really took a second to realize that african americans are not used in our everyday reading. I suppose that I usually just read books that interest me by their information and story line but not by the race of the characters. Now realizing that there is no diversity within the genre that I have been reading, I feel very bad. I do not see the big deal of having a story african american on the cover rather than a caucasian. I feel that either race and a good story line will make a good book, no matter what.

  8. Ericccc Davis says:

    I can understand that people would think this is a problem. I have not many books, if any, with black characters. TV and movies are much different, much more diverse. Except for Tyler Perry movies. There are no white people in Tyler Perry movies. But I honestly do not think that a white author should have to make a concious effort to have black characters. They can if they see a problem, but a white author would obviously be more prone to write about white characters. And a black author would be more prone to have black characters. So I suppose I can understand how this could be a problem, but to me, the problem is talking about it. Just speaking about race, only divides us into races. different groups. If the word “race” could be erased from human vocabulary, then we are all just humans.

  9. Tiffanny Arnot says:

    Personally I don’t really care what race or religion the characters in a book are. I think that a variety of cultures makes books better and provides a more interesting story. I can understand where she is coming from though, I have read a very few books where the characters are not white and I think that there should be more diversity in books.

  10. Nicole Westfall says:

    I think that having black people on the cover may turn quite a few people away from reading the book. However, there are people out there who will read the book no matter what the race is. I am one of those people. I don’t care who’s on the cover or what the issue is. If it sounds interesting, I will give it a shot. The only thing that many people might have an issue with is the races they see. Since we live around Detroit we see black people and a lot of them are trashy or what you would call ghetto, but that doesn’t go for everybody. I think it’s awful when caucasions look down on other colors, because white people have their fair share of trashy people too. Also, just because the person is black or whatever, they still have problems just like everybody else. They are still human, but people choose to look the other way when confronted with this information.

  11. Ellie Ratza says:

    First of all I totally understand the addiction to Diet Coke <3 and second I agree with what they are saying. It really is rare to find a book with a non-white protagonist and the whole "whitwashing" thing is stupid, but I read because I love stories so it doesn't matter to me if the characters are black, white, purple, or polka dotted. A story is a story. I think people nowdays are just looking for a fight and race is one of the most touchy of subjects.

  12. Ammanda Centilli says:

    I havent read many books before I had this class. All the books I have read so far have had white, straight, main characters. However, I would have no problem reading a book about a young adult of a different backround or sex preference. No matter where we come from or what we believe in we’re all people and deal with some of the same situations. I look at it as either relatable or or a learning experience. Yes, the majority of literary work done by white, straight, Americans will likely be about white, straight, Americans. Maybe that is a shame, I just dont see it as a big deal either way.

  13. Emily Birmingham says:

    Personally I wouldn’t go out and read a book about African Americans or Gays. But if someone recommended a book to me with those characteristics I might read it. I don’t go out of my way to read those kind of books like I understand that authors can choose to write about whatever they want but readers can also choose whatever they want to read.

  14. Janae Mahoney says:

    Honestly, I never really thought about it. I can see where the fact that the main character of a book is a different culture or race like african-american can change that some people may choose to read the book. To me its not that big of deal. Theres more of a chance I would choose a book that relates to me over a book like that, but to me it’s not that big of deal just depending on what the stories about.

  15. Sarah Ashley says:

    It does make me think about my reading choices. Now that i think about it all the books I have read all the characters have been white. I guess that the cover can persuade someone to read a book. There are not alot of boks out there about different different races or cultures. They all have the same ideas and we can relate to them. Also half the time we might be reading a book and not know that they characters are another race other then white. We base what race the character is on our way of life, like she says in her blog. I would not mind reading more books about people from different cultures.

  16. Caroline Hardin says:

    I think that many people do judge a book by its cover, even if they say they don’t. If you were to walk into a book store, you would probably find more people around the books with brighter colors than dull covers. They may not conciously realize this, but I think everyone does, if even in the slightest amount. I also think that most authors are white and that could be why most stories are written with them as the main characters. The white race does also overpopulate all the other races there are in America.

  17. Jessica Rodgerson says:

    Okay so I believe weather your black or white, female or male, it doesnt matter! If anyone thinks white are prettier then blacks they are dead wrong. Everyone is beautiful in one way or another. And not to put a black girl or guy on the cover of a book becuase they are black is just plain wrong. We teach kids to not care of someone is coloured and yet some adult writier make it seem like different races dont exist. Everyone on this planet have feelings & just think if you walked in a book store & every cover of a book had a black person on it how would you feel? People notice this things, even if no one says it, it still might hurt them. I haven’t really noticed this, I mean if I pick up a book & start to read it I dont care weather the character black or white. If I found out that the main character was black I’d still read the book. The race of the characters is not a reason to put down the book and quit reeading. Because honestly does it really matter?

  18. Tyler Richards says:

    I’ve never thought about this topic before reading this article . I do not think that diversity is a problem amongst books that are being published (At the moment) . Authors I think , are going to write books dealing with their own ethnicity , just because it would be more familiar to them . With saying this and knowing now that there isn’t many African American books published , that there is more Caucasion authors than African American , maybe?

  19. Alyssa McPeek says:

    Honetsly I am one to judge a book by its cover. idon’t know why but I always have, even though everyone says not to. NO matter what is on the cover white, black, asian, or any other race it doesnt matter to me. I usually ask someone or read the back to see if the book even interests me. Most books about cultural conflicts do not interest me. For example of this diversity conflict, I needed a 3rd book for our trimester exam grade a book that was refered to me was Sold by Patricia McCormick there was a picture of a young girl on the front who was dark skinned and she was from the mountains. I wouldn’t have choosen this book because the cover looked boring not because there was a different race. So basicaly I think to many people judge the book by its cover and realy do not understand the true meaning of the book itself. It has never came to my attention that some people feel this way about diversity in certain novels.

  20. Hayden Garfield says:

    Emphasis on race varies through different art forms. African Americans have not been a popular icon in books. Caucasion, Christian characters have become the mainstream over many years. White has been the prominant color of what is good, and what is right. I believe it is a marketing tool used based on that assumption. I do believe other cultures, races and religions should be introduced in these books. It couldbe a learning tool for young children and teenagers.

  21. Corey Borowski says:

    I agree with Mrs. Anderson in that not a lot of books we read today have an African American person as the main character. I really do not understand why there are not many books where the main character/characters are black. People really need to accpet the fact that people of other races in general are apart of this country too. Soon caucasian people in this country will be the minority and then we will be on the opposite end of the spectrum when the only books out have other races of people as the main characters. It should not matter what race the characters of the book are, a book should be read for its meaning and content. If people are going to learn an important lesson or the book can be considered a classic, then race should play no part in the decision to read a book. If people do have a problem with how a book is portrayed or the characters involved then they can choose to not read it. Afterall, the reader has the final choice.

  22. Robbie Mace says:

    I don’t completely agree with the post. I think it’s true that some people won’t buy books with the main character being black. Although many people do not care whether or not the character is Black, White, Latino or Asian. Personally though I don’t decide what race the characters are, that’s completely up to the author and they have the freedom to write whatever they want.

  23. Deanna Gray says:

    I’ve never really thought about the color of the characters while reading unless it talks about that in the story..it doesn’t really matter to me because i always just picture the characters in mine own mind as whatever i think they would look like if i was watching it. I can see how some people would become upset about this but im sure there many many books with colored characters..maybe just as much as white characters. You have many different authors with different ethnicitys that write about things they have personally experienced that alot of people could relate to and enjoy just as much as they could if it was a white character. The color of a character i dont feel should effect a persons look on a book necessarily because it still could be about something that people from different ethnic backgrounds could equally relate to.

  24. Erin Bradley says:

    Reading the blog does make me realize that I don’t think I have ever read a novel with a main character that isn’t white. This really makes me wonder why that is. I don’t know if I’ve even seen a book with a colored main character. Now I want to go out and find one. Im not really sure why we don’t have more books like that. I’m not sure what percentage of writers are white, but maybe that’s the reason. A lot of authors base their characters around the environment they grew up in or live in now. So if they grew up white, in a white neighborhood, they’d probably tend to write using white characters.

  25. Cortney Lewis says:

    I don’t think it matters what race characters are in a book. I doesnt make a difference when trying to relate to the situations dealt with. If the characters ar different race and the author wants the cover to show that then go ahead if not i really don’t think it matters.

  26. Wow, I don’t think that I’ve ever consciously realized that a good bit of the books I read focus around “Caucasian” characters ( I put it in quotes because I, and most of the people I know, are not from the island of Caucus, although it is the politically correct terminology it still bothers me a little). Quite a few of the books I read deal with, at least in some minor way, racial/ethnic diversity: house elves and goblins in Harry Potter, vampires/wizards/magicians/werewolves/immortal-what-have-youes/et cetera in so many other books. For me, at least, whether or not I enjoy a book does not stem from the color of someone’s skin/the creed of the character(s)/and so on. But, I do agree that social, ethnic, blahblahblahblah diversity should be in books. It shouldn’t matter if a character is white, pink, or lime green, but with today’s world, topics such as ethnicity should not be rebuked and should be encouraged.

  27. Caitlyn Gairhan says:

    When dealing with this topic i believe that people dont go into a store and are like “well today i feel like reading a book on black people” and thats how they choose it. They choose it by teh plotline, the story behind the characters and what they go through.
    I have read books about other ethnicitys and it doesnt necessarily make the story any better, it all depends on the author and how they want the book to be seen.

  28. I love Edward Cullen

  29. Courtney bennett says:

    Hmm, it’s funny I’ve never thought about the color of the characters in the books I’ve read. At least I haven’t consciously. Most if not all of the books that I am interested in reading are ones that I can relate to. So unless the book decribes the character I make up my own visualization for them, and it is usually someone I know that reminds me of that character. Now, in Clio schools there are few colored kids, and I dont know “personally” many colored people at all, so I usually just envision them white. That doesn’t mean if the character was to be colored I would be any less interested. It’s hard to write anything about a topic involving race without someone, somewhere taking it wrong, so I’m just going to leave it at that.

  30. Victoria Bechtel says:

    no this does not change the way I read books or anything. It shouldnt matter if your black or white, in that case any color. I’ve read books where it was about black and white people in the same city or werever, together or not. In some way I understand that the author wants their ideas on the cover. I was raised to not judge people by there color, and to not judge a book by its cover. No i dont read history books unless i’m forced to but i dont care it the people are black. i like all different books.

  31. i like to read

  32. I never really paid any attention to the race of a main character. I never really though it was a big deal, at least in the books I read.

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