It is World Book Day 2021, and I am here with a bunch of my fellow UK bloggers to talk about diverse books for kids and teens! My post is following on from the girls at Northern Plunder, and after me, you’ll want to check out Amy Jane Alice. We’re all giving between three to five diverse book recommendations for kids and teens of different ages. Thanks to Charlotte from Wonderfully Bookish for making these graphics!
The publishing world still has a lot of work to do when it comes to diversity. There are still some big problems out there. But there is definitely a more diverse selection of books out there than when I was a kid. And this makes me so happy! I’m going to split these into sections and then list a few extra options below!
The Night The Reindeer Saved Christmas – Raj Kaur Khaira and Kasia Nowowiejska
This is obviously a Christmas book and one I got my brother for part of a tour. It does have a big focus on reindeer. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t include diversity.
As well as having been written by a woman of colour. This features a Santa who looks to be South Asian with a black wife. In the scheme of the book, this doesn’t really matter. But for kids to be able to see Santa and Mrs Claus as anything but white, this could be amazing. It’s a fun, easy read and might be one you want to pick up for your kids next Christmas!
Eva Evergreen Semi-Magical Witch – Julie Abe
This is a completely adorable book about a young witch trying to pass a test by proving she can be a helpful witch. It’s very much been inspired by Kiki’s Delivery Service, but it feels different. This is the first book in a series and one that looks like it’s going to have a lot of adventure.
Just like Kiki, this books is clearly very Japanese inspired. I don’t remember much in the way of character descriptions. But with names and illustrations, I would assume the country is based on Japan.
Everything about this book is super cute, and it’s definitely worth picking up.
Aru Shah and the End of Time – Roshani Chokshi
A Hindu inspired fantasy, this books is one of the Rick Riordan presents books and contains all you’d expect with that. Aru finds out she is the reincarnation of one of a group of legendary powers after she has an accident with an artefact in her family’s museum. Her accident could lead to the end of the world, and only she and one of her godly sisters can help save it.
There are a few books out in this series so far, and I’ve not caught up with them myself. I’ve actually only read this one.
I loved this book so far. It has so much magic, a fun adventure, and it’s a great read.
Even If We Break – Marieke Nijkamp
If you’re looking for a thriller with a lot of diversity, then this is the book for you. In this book, you have a disabled trans character as well as other queer characters included. This book is pretty dark, but I did find it really quick to get through.
This book follows five teenagers who go to stay in a cabin in the middle of nowhere together. Their plan to play a final round of a roleplaying game. Four of them are keeping secrets, and now all of them may have to pay for their mistakes.
I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t not include it on this list. It is pretty white, but it is one of the few novels I’ve picked up that feature disability.
Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas
Another queer book for teens here, but this one is a Latinx inspired fantasy. We have a trans boy trying to prove to his family that he is a brujo whilst helping a ghost friend find out what happened to him. It’s also been written by a non-binary/transmasc author.
This book is very sad. It follows Yadriel, who tries to hold his own ceremony to prove that he is a brujo. He summons a ghost, but the ghost is of a boy from school, Miguel, who he didn’t even know was dead. Miguel agreed to help him, but only if he helps him discover what happened to him. They obviously wind up falling in love, and there is a lot of very emotional scenes.
When this book came out, it was pretty popular, and it definitely deserves that.
I couldn’t leave this list with just these books so have some bullet points with a few more books and how they’re diverse.
- Taylor Turbochaser – David Baddiel (Disability)
- Magnus Chase – Rick Riordan (Diverse cast and Queer MC)
- A Song of Wraiths and Ruin – Roseanne A Brown (Black Author/Characters)
- The Gilded Ones – Namina Forna (Black Author/Characters)
- Forest of Souls – Lori M. Lee (East Asian Author/Characters)