Daily Archives: February 20, 2014

Diversity in YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults: Updated for 2014

By Malinda Lo

Last fall, I wrote about the diversity in the Best Fiction for Young Adults lists, which are issued annually by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. These lists are often used for collection development and can be very helpful in boosting awareness of a book. Because the 2014 BFYA list was released last month, I thought I’d update my analysis with this year’s data.

Defining My Terms

To briefly recap from last time, my analysis focuses on the following things:

  • The percentage of authors of color on the lists.
  • The percentage of main characters of color on the lists.
  • The percentage of LGBTQ main characters on the lists.
  • The percentage of disabled main characters on the lists.

While recognizing that all categorizations of race and ethnicity are imperfect, I broke down race/ethnicity as follows:

  • White – Characters with European origins (This definition is different from the US Census definition, which also includes those from the Middle East and Northern Africa, because I wanted to count Middle Eastern characters)
  • Asian – Characters with Asian origins including members of the Asian diaspora and South Asians
  • Black – Characters with African origins including African Americans
  • Latino – Hispanic and Latino Americans; characters from Latin America (Exception: Indigenous people are identified as Indigenous even if they’re from Latin America)
  • Mixed Race – Characters of mixed race backgrounds
  • Indigenous – Including American Indians and Indigenous peoples from around the world
  • Middle Eastern – Characters from the Middle East, e.g., Iran
  • SF/F of color – Characters from a secondary or futuristic science fiction or fantasy world who have a race that does not precisely match our contemporary US understandings, but which is situated as being nonwhite in that secondary or futuristic world

Authors of Color

The representation of authors of color on the BFYA lists continues to be regrettably poor, although in 2014 there was a small uptick in the percentage of authors of color to 10% (from 7.8% in 2013). Continue reading Diversity in YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults: Updated for 2014