December’s New BooksPosted by Malinda Lo on Nov 28, 2011 in Blog, Featured, New Books | 11 comments
Every month we feature all the new middle grade and young adult releases that include diversity. December is a pretty slim month for new releases, and we’ve only found two titles that (may) fit our guidelines. Those guidelines, all year, have been the following:
By “diversity” we mean: (1) main characters or major secondary characters (e.g., a love interest or best friend kind of character) who are of color or are LGBT; or (2) written by a person of color or LGBT author.
The first title is a major young adult release, Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, the second in the bestselling author’s Infernal Devices trilogy.
Clockwork Prince has the distinction of featuring an Asian model on its cover — and more importantly, an Asian model who is clearly positioned as a romantic lead. We’ll have an interview with Cassandra Clare here next week!
The second title is the middle grade novel Something to Hold by Katherine Shlick Noe.
Here is the publisher’s description:
Can a white girl feel at home on an Indian reservation?
Based on the author’s childhood experience in the early 1960s, this debut novel centers on Kitty, whose father is a government forester at Warm Springs Reservation, Oregon. Kitty is one of only two white kids in her class, and the Indian kids are keeping their distance. With time, Kitty becomes increasingly aware of the tensions and prejudices between Indians and whites, and of the past injustice and pain still very much alive on the reservation. Time also brings friendships and opportunities to make a difference.
The description raises a question I’ve struggled with all year as I compile these lists of books. Should a book about a white main character encountering diversity be part of a list of “diverse” titles? What if the encounter is life-changing for the white main character? And even more questions arise for me: Is this kind of book meant for white readers or for minority readers?
I’m sure that some (many?) minority readers are sick and tired of reading about white people learning about them. But what if this kind of book opens the eyes of a white reader and changes their perceptions about the world and people who are different from them? These kinds of questions aren’t easy to answer, and I can see both sides — which has made putting these lists together more challenging than I expected.
So, what do you think? And are there any new releases in December that I’ve missed? Please do tell us in the comments.