As January’s Monthly Motif is to Diversify Your Reading, we wanted to share what reading diversely means to us – and how we incorporate diversity into our reading plans.
✤ Tanya – For me, reading more diversely means incorporating books by written by authors of color in my reading plans (I live in the U.S. and am referring to American authors). One of the main reasons is that I’m also a person of color, and I do feel that books by these authors are not promoted as much and it is my belief that systematic / endemic racism was at play by the publishing industry in not promoting books these books (i.e. I believe it was purposely done), and it is a SHAME when kids can grow up reading books that don’t feature anyone resembling them, or not see anyone different from them.
It’s also important to me to incorporate books that feature persons of color on the cover. A few years ago, when those “Best Book Covers of the Year” lists featured a book cover with a person on it – that person would ALWAYS be white. That message was very frustrating to me and reinforced that there was a (possibly unknown) bias towards considering “white” the standard of beauty. I do believe we’ve seen a shift away from this more recently – in awareness at least – and now the covers are usually more inclusive.
It’s also important to me to incorporate books written by authors from countries other than the U.S. and Britain. I myself, am from a small island, and so I would like my reading to reflect diversity of setting in the books I read. This is one area I hope to focus more on this year, as I haven’t done a good job recently as I’ve read less books.
✤ Kim – Reading diversely for me broadly means that I dip my toes into a little bit of everything. More specifically it means that I try to read books by both men and women; books by people of color; and books by people of different nationalities than mine.
To be honest, I’m not very comfortable with the fact that I am still ‘challenging’ myself to read diversely. I don’t want that to be the case. I don’t want that to feel like a challenge at all. In the past I read the books that got put in front of my face and the publishing industry does a very good job of putting a lot of white authors writing about white people in our faces. It’s just been the past 3-4 years that I’ve specifically made an effort to diversify my reading.
I’ve been increasingly frustrated at the digging I had to do at first to find these authors and thankful to have found some really amazing ones through Tanya. I shouldn’t have had to dig for those books- they should be everywhere on social media and buzzed about just like their white counterparts. I hope to see more of these books promoted better and more widely available (currently I can’t find many of them in my local library) and in the meantime we’ll continue to promote them, in our small way, on this blog.
Your turn….what does reading diversely mean to YOU?