Why We Need Diverse Books
I’m proud to join the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign because as an Asian American girl growing up in a mostly Caucasian suburb of New Jersey, I searched for characters who looked like me. Claudia Kishi, bless her, was my role model. She was creative, quirky, and stylish. I’m pretty sure every Asian girl in the 90s looked up to her. But it’s been a long time since Claudia Kishi. We need more Asian, Latino, black, gay, lesbian, and transgender characters!
One of my fellow Regal Literary agent sisters, Kate Hart, put together a survey that revealed 90 percent of YA book covers feature white characters.
We can do better. We have to do better.
As a writer, I write Asian American characters who aren’t just the friend, math nerd, or sidekick. I’m currently writing a YA book about two Asian American brothers and part of me worries that the book won’t get bought because it’s about Asian boys and has Asian culture weaved into the story.
But here’s the thing: As a young reader, I was dying for more than just the Sweet Valley High blonde Wakefield sisters—don’t get me wrong, I loved me some SVH. But I wanted to see girls like me in books. Now as a writer, it’s my job to include those characters—the ones who aren’t written or talked about.
Join the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign from May 1-3, and make your voice heard!