Skip to content

embrace diverse characters and themes for #diverseread #rwpchat

February 28, 2017

I’d like to share some of my favourite books and authors who are from diverse backgrounds and who embrace diverse characters and themes. These titles are not exhaustive but represent some of my favourites that I’ve shared at story time, read to family or on my own. Reading and accessing diverse books is essential at story time and at school.  It is necessary for young people to identify  themselves in the characters and to be aware that all the emotions and trials that stories can embed in us are theirs and can enrich them like all stories can.  It also encourages all young people to read, learn and enjoy these stories too.

I have a vivid memory when I was in year two at our end of year presentation receiving an award and book as a gift.  I remember the book with fondness,A Nice Walk in the Jungle’ by Nan Bodsworth. I was transfixed by this book as the characters  comprised of students who looked exactly like students in my class, ethnically diverse and  who were one by one gobbled up by a cheeky boa constrictor without the teacher noticing.

‘Ramadan Moon’ by Na’aim Roberts

This exquisite designed book combines paper collage and drawing with a beautiful story. ‘Ramadan Moon’ is about the acts of fasting, charity, and prayer during Ramadan. Narrated in the first person, a girl takes us through the month of Ramadan illustrating acts that are fulfilled during this special month.

Watch the story

 

‘Handa’s Surprise’ by Eileen Browne

I read ‘Handa’s Surprise’ at our bilingual story times, usually as a bilingual English and Arabic book at my library because it’s such a fantastic story. Handa who lives in a village, is on the way to meet her friends with seven delicious fruits in a basket. As she walks to meet her friends jungle animals slowly take each of the fruits without her knowledge. But then a goat charges at a tangerine tree and fills Handa’s basket with fruit to her surprise. Richly illustrated and full of beautiful fruits and wild animals, ‘Handa’s Surprise’ is the perfect read  for young children.

Watch the animation of this story here:

 

‘Mirror’ by Jeannie Baker

This book had me at the cover, or should I say covers, a story amazingly and intricately designed to tell a story of two boys, one in Sydney, Australia and another in Morocco, North Africa. ‘Mirror’ reflects two lives that seemingly have little in common but when the stories are simultaneously read, more and more is revealed about what binds the boys together. If you ever thought a book could not do this then you definitely need to experience ‘Mirror’.

Watch it here :

‘Azzi in Between’ by Sarah Garland

‘Azzi in Between’ is about a refugee child who is forced from her wartorn country to another country. We witness Azzi’s alienation at primary school. We feel for her demoralised father who is not allowed to work in this country and we rejoice as their family life improves. It is story that isdeeply moving, transcendent, and empathetic.

I love Me” by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina

I love reading any story written by Sally Morgan or Ambelin Kwaymullina and when these two talented authors join together, they are bound to craft an inspiring and positive story.  In ‘I Love Me’, these authors have created a fabulous and powerfully worded story of self-esteem and self-acceptance for indigenous and non-indigenous kids everywhere. This story is perfect to share at story time.

We’ve all heard about the hashtag #weneeddiversebooks, a movement that was established with the aim to promote and to ensure more kids have access to and read books that are inclusive and feature diverse characters. You may also have heard of the hashtag #loveOZYA a hashtag to promote the importance of Australian authors in young adult literature, many of whom are diverse or come from diverse backgrounds.  These movements that highlight diversity are fabulous and necessary as they present an alternative to what is currently available for young people to read. These movements also highlights the importance of diversity, that is, of including rich, deep, and often wildly beautiful literature that engages, inspires and moves ALL young people.

What other stories are your favourite? Which are the ones you keep going back to and sharing with young people? What other diverse stories could be shared at story time?

Let’s chat via Twitter @kanjhiba

Hiba Kanj

 

join the #diverseread discussion today for #rpwchat

February 28, 2017

#diverseread

There will be a Twitter discussion today. 28 February starting at 11am and 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am GMT.  Note this is a staggered discussion.

Use the tags #diverseread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of #diverseread, so others can join in the conversation too.

“Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”

Toni Morrison, The Nobel Lecture In Literature, 1993

“Doctor Who: You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapon in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!

(from Tooth and Claw in Season 2)”

Russell T. Davies

This month, arm yourself with diverse reading.

How diverse is your reading?  Are you reading about people who are different to you? Are you watching films and documentaries about diverse subjects and ideas.

We need diverse books because we are all different and more diverse reading can help us see our communities and environments differently.  It can make us more understanding of others.

This month is #diverseread, but we hope that for every other theme this year you will be making them a #diverseread as it makes all reading more interesting.  It is also a great idea for watching and playing too.

When did you last read:

  • a horror book
  • a nonfiction book about science
  • a collection of essays
  • a book out loud to someone else
  • a children’s book
  • poetry
  • a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel
  • a book originally published in the decade you were born
  • listen to an audiobook
  • a book over 500 pages long
  • a book under 100 pages  
  • a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender
  • a book that is set in the Middle East  
  • a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia
  • a book of historical fiction set before 1900
  • the first book in a series by a person of colour
  • a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years
  • a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie
  • a book which has been translated from another language (and preferably written in the last ten years)
  • a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes
  • a book with a main character that has a mental illness
  • a book with a character with a disability
  • a book by an Indigenous person
  • a book by someone from your town?

Thanks to Bookriot for their list which was used as the basis for the above one.

For fiction, do the characters you read about reflect the diversity of what is possible and the diversity of who is in the world as well as who is in your community? For non-fiction are you sure you are getting the whole story?

There are some wonderful young adult books to read…
2005 Powwow

In the USA there has been a lot of coverage about the need for diverse books, all readers need diverse books, and diverse watching and playing.

There is much to explore in fantasy, …and if you are still not sure what to tryGoodreads presents a brilliant range of diverse reading too.

 

How will you participate in World read aloud day? #wrad2017 #rwpchat

February 16, 2017

Today is World read aloud day. Who will you be reading to today? Will you be making it a #diverseread?

World read aloud day - image courtesy of LitWorld

World read aloud day – image courtesy of LitWorld

share some #librarylove for #rwpchat and #diverseread

February 14, 2017

Today, as well as being Valentine’s Day, is Library lovers’ day. It can be a day to show how much you love your local library.

There are many ways you can show your #librarylove. You could try a blind date with a book…

Blind Date with Book 2013

or combine #librarylove with #diverseread and join the Book Riot reader harder challenge #ReadHarder

  1. Read a book about sports.
  2. Read a debut novel.
  3. Read a book about books.
  4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
  5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.
  6. Read an all-ages comic.
  7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
  8. Read a travel memoir.
  9. Read a book you’ve read before.
  10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
  11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.
  12. Read a fantasy novel.
  13. Read a nonfiction book about technology.
  14. Read a book about war.
  15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
  16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
  17. Read a classic by an author of color.
  18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead.
  19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey (From Daniel José Older, author of Salsa Nocturna, the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, and YA novel Shadowshaper)
  20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel (From Sarah MacLean, author of ten bestselling historical romance novels)
  21. Read a book published by a micropress. (From Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, Marvel’s World of Wakanda, and the forthcoming Hunger and Difficult Women)
  22. Read a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng, author Everything I Never Told You and the forthcoming Little Fires Everywhere)
  23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (From Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series, including The Unquiet Dead, The Language of Secrets, and the forthcoming Among the Ruins)
  24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi, author of sci-fi novel Ascension)

and borrow some of these from your favourite library. #librarylove does not have to be romantic.

Reading different genres for #diverseread

February 2, 2017
istock_000081274829_medium

Diverse people reading (Photo credit Istock 501338658 4×6)

This month’s theme is #diverseread.  I enjoy reading books about different cultures and diverse topics and ideas.  I have recently finished reading The Shaman in Stilettos by Anna Hunt which is about her experiences in Peru training to be a shaman and is a subject I knew nothing about.

I enjoyed the dystopian Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and the subsequent films, as they were completely different to what I had read before.  I also read children’s books and particularly like the White Giraffe series by Lauren St John as they are well written exciting stories.

I like reading books that have been translated from another language and then watching the sub-titled foreign language series as they give you an insight into different people and cultures.  One of my favourites are the thrillers by Swedish author Camilla Läckberg.  I also enjoy seeing the characters come to life on the screen in the accompanying television series.

Before I visit a country I like to read literature which is set there.  Before travelling to Japan I read some of Haruki Murakami’s novels, my favourite being Kafka on the Shore.  Likewise preceding a trip to Alaska I read A cold day for murder, the first book in the Kate Shugak series, by Dana Stabenow who is an Alaskan crime writer.

At the moment I am reading the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series – City of fallen angels by Cassandra Clare which is about the fantasy world of Downworlders, demons, Shadowhunters, vampires and werewolves.

You could say I have fairly diverse tastes in books and will not be put off trying something different, even if it is a genre I have never read before.

Monique (Surrey Libraries)

join us for #diverseread for February for #rwpchat

February 1, 2017

#diverseread

“Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”

Toni Morrison, The Nobel Lecture In Literature, 1993

“Doctor Who: You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapon in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!

(from Tooth and Claw in Season 2)”

Russell T. Davies

This month, arm yourself with diverse reading.

How diverse is your reading?  Are you reading about people who are different to you? Are you watching films and documentaries about diverse subjects and ideas.

We need diverse books because we are all different and more diverse reading can help us see our communities and environments differently.  It can make us more understanding of others.

This month is #diverseread, but we hope that for every other theme this year you will be making them a #diverseread as it makes all reading more interesting.  It is also a great idea for watching and playing too.

When did you last read:

  • a horror book
  • a nonfiction book about science
  • a collection of essays
  • a book out loud to someone else
  • a children’s book
  • poetry
  • a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel
  • a book originally published in the decade you were born
  • listen to an audiobook
  • a book over 500 pages long
  • a book under 100 pages  
  • a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender
  • a book that is set in the Middle East  
  • a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia
  • a book of historical fiction set before 1900
  • the first book in a series by a person of colour
  • a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years
  • a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie
  • a book which has been translated from another language (and preferably written in the last ten years)
  • a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes
  • a book with a main character that has a mental illness
  • a book with a character with a disability
  • a book by an Indigenous person
  • a book by someone from your town?

Thanks to Bookriot for their list which was used as the basis for the above one.

For fiction, do the characters you read about reflect the diversity of what is possible and the diversity of who is in the world as well as who is in your community? For non-fiction are you sure you are getting the whole story?

There are some wonderful young adult books to read…
2005 Powwow

In the USA there has been a lot of coverage about the need for diverse books, all readers need diverse books, and diverse watching and playing.

There is much to explore in fantasy, …and if you are still not sure what to tryGoodreads presents a brilliant range of diverse reading too.

There will be a Twitter discussion on 28 February starting at 11am and 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am GMT.  Note this is a staggered discussion.

Use the tags #diverseread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of #diverseread, so others can join in the conversation too.

Join the #firstread discussion today #rwpchat

January 31, 2017

#firstread

firstread

Felix’s first book by Sarah Horrigan Flickr Commons

There will be a twitter discussion today, 31 January  starting at 8.00pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings (Summer) Time.  6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am; 2pm – 4pm; 6pm – 8pm BST (UK).  Note this is a staggered discussion.

Please use the tags  #firstread and #rwpchat as you discuss your reading, watching, and playing that is your experience of  #firstread, so that others can join in the conversation too.

There is nothing like the experience of falling in love with a book; it can’t be repeated. You can read the book over and over, loving it more each time, but you can only read it for the first time once. Thankfully, there is no end to books, films and games to discover for the first time, and many other ways to start off the Read Watch Play year with #firstread.

What was the first book you remember loving? The first book you read in a  beloved genre? The games we first played always have a special place in our hearts, and the music that was popular in our teenage years cannot be beaten. 

Our own lives are full of firsts we can celebrate, and so are those of others. Explore  scientific firsts, space travel firsts, exploration and adventure firsts. The first time someone murdered, fell in love or got a job.

 Have you read the first book your favourite author has written, the first album released by a favourite artist? How do the firsts compare with the most recent? Though not the first novel written by Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre was the first published, so we can definitely start our year off with the best.

Debut novels can be hard to follow up, but you could read your way through this list of second novels, or just pick the first from a huge number of top tens.

Whatever you choose to read, watch or play this month, it’s all going to be your first for this year so definitely fits the #firstread theme.