I’ve spent the last couple of days, even weeks, searching diverse books online. I’ve talked to people, read articles about why diverse books are so important and I put together 10 reasons why I think it is so important to read diversely.
What are some of your favorite reasons? Can you add some more reasons to that list? Are there some reasons you don’t necessarily agree with? If yes, why? What are your thoughts on diverse books? Do you like to read diversely? Do you like to focus on diverse books? Please let me know in the comments!
1. Find yourself in a book
I as a white straight woman find myself in many books; most main characters in books are (girls) white and straight so it’s very easy for me to relate to those characters. But not all of us are white and straight. Sometimes it is difficult to find characters in books that represent who we are. Although some characters might come close, not everyone can find a character in books they can fully relate to. That is one very important reason why we need more diverse books because the privilege I have as a white straight woman should be everyone’s privilege. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what skin color you have, what or who you believe in or who you love. We all have the right to be represented in the books we read and like. Because let’s be real, we all want to see ourselves reflected in a book, right?
2. The world is diverse, so why wouldn’t our books be
Approximately 7.473.690.000 people live on this planet. 7.473.690.000 people, who are all different from each other; who have different taste in books, taste in food, who like different things, who have different hobbies, who love different people, who believe in different things, who have different jobs, who live in different places, who have different hair, eye and skin colors, some of them might suffer from illness, some others don’t. Some people have family and friends, some don’t. Some of them have pets, live in a huge house, some others don’t even like animals and live in a small apartment. Some people are skinnier than others, some taller … as you can see, there are a lot of different people living on this planet so why on earth don’t we have more diverse books? Why are most characters in books white and straight? That is not how it is in real life. As for me, I have friends from all over the world and I love them all to pieces and it is the absolute best in life to learn about different cultures, different countries, different languages, different morals, and different ways of living. Yes, I love to see myself represented in a book but how about my friends? Don’t they have the right to see themselves in the books they read as well?
3. It’s boring to always read about the same characters
As for me I’m tired of always reading the same stories that feature the same characters. Can we please have some authors come up with something new? I want to read books that deal with social, racial, religious and political issues, etc. pp. I want to read books about equality and feminism. I want to read about interesting people doing interesting and important things. Reading the same old stories gets really boring especially when you’ve spent half your life reading books and you feel like you’ve read them all already.
4. Diverse books inspire us
As for me I can say that diverse books truly inspire me. They inspire me to learn more, to show support, to be more open minded. The books I read so far were such eye opener, they made me question things; rethink a lot of things and this is one reason why those books are so extremely important because they teach us all different kinds of things; things maybe we can’t be taught in school; things that only life can teach us and those people who experienced certain things in real life. Also diverse books can inspire us to tell our own stories; to become the author of our own stories; of our own voices.
Diverse books can teach us how to empathize with different kinds of people, which is really important nowadays because – as I’ve mentioned above – this world is full of different people. Diverse books sometimes focus on characters we don’t quite understand and by reading about those characters helps us find a way to empathize with them. This also helps us to understand characters and all different kinds of people. The more diverse books we read the more of the diverse voices featured in them we get to hear. Our world is full of diverse people so of course the books we read should be too.
6. Diverse books make us feel seen and understood
Books that feature marginalized voices make those feel seen and understood. I’ve talked to some people online and they all basically said the same thing: sometimes they feel like other people don’t see them; that sometimes they feel like they are invisible, because nobody ever pays them any attention or any interest in their lives and themselves which is so sad. The more books we have that feature some amazing diverse characters, the more those people feel understood; feel like they belong. Because they do. THEY ABSOLUTELY DO BELONG, no matter what society or media or whatever tells them. Writing diverse books might not seem like a huge thing to do but actually it is because it is the first step into a future where my privilege as a white straight woman finally becomes everyone’s privilege.
7. Diverse books help us step outside of our comfort zone
We all have one, a comfort zone and sometimes we are to afraid, maybe even to lazy to step outside of it and reading diverse books and reading about diverse characters can help us step outside of our comfort zone; they can make us want to explore the world; to meet new people and – as mentioned above already – they can teach us about all different kinds of things.
8. Diverse books redefine who/what we can be
When a girl, who’s been bullied by her classmates for whatever reason reads a book about a girl who’s in a similar situation and who actually manages to stand up for herself can help her to do the same. Such books can show girls for example, who’ve been taught they will never be successful in job or in life because they are girls and not boys, that they of course can become a successful woman; that they can sure as hell change the world and make it into a better place. Those books can also make people not feel alone; such books can show people that they are not the only one dealing with certain things. Those books can show them, that they are not alone and it will most likely help them to grow; to step outside of their comfort zone; to change things; to make things happen.
9. Be part of something big/important
Although writing and reading diverse books doesn’t seem very important to some people, it’s the first step into a society where all people get treated the same way. This is only the beginning. By talking about diverse books and those who write them, by recommending them on social media or to your friends and family can help magnify its impact. It will put a spotlight on those books and by talking about diverse books you give others the chance to read them and to talk about them as well. By promoting those books and spreading the word about books featuring marginalized voices we help ensure that more stories like that will be told AND published. Our world definitely needs more diverse books and of course more diverse readers because the more people read them, the more people will notice them and maybe, maybe someday, all libraries will be filled with diverse books telling the story of diverse characters.
10. A whole new world of books
Reading diverse books is simply about finding something new: new stories; new authors. There are so many voices outside the typical straight, white narrator and by reading more and more diverse books we can add a huge amount of new narratives and books to our bookshelf. It’s like always buying books of the same color, why only have black books or blue books in your shelves when you can have rainbow shelves? Why not also buy red books and green books, yellow books, pink books, purple books?