Diversity in MG Lit
It’s the beginning of May, but March and April were big months for diversity in MG Lit book releases, so I’m going to recap and highlight a few standouts and ask you to mention those I’ve missed in the comments. As usual I’m going to focus on debut authors and diverse representations that most need amplification.
Happy to see a debut MG book from acclaimed Cherokee author Brandon Hobson, The Storyteller. Ziggy is already dealing with anxiety and the disappearance of his mother only makes things worse. In a search for answers about where his mother (and so many other Native women) have gone Ziggy is drawn to a nearby cave and the story tradition of the Cherokee for answers. (Scholastic Press, 4/18/23)
Books about neurodivergent girls are few and far between. I was thrilled to find Good Different by Meg Eden Kuyatt. Selah is an autistic seventh grader learning to embrace her inner dragon while still taking responsibility for her actions. The novel in verse format gives Selah’s story an engaging pace and emotional power. (Scholastic Press, 3/7/23)
Two graphic novels caught my eye this month, both with Asian-American protagonists. Squished by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter is about the second oldest daughter finding some autonomy and space to make her art in a family of seven siblings. A large family is its own culture beyond race and ethnicity. I belong to a big family and found lots of scenes here that resonated. (Graphix 3/7/23) Parachute Kids by Betty C Tang is about being left in America with siblings or relatives while parents remain behind in an Asian country. (Graphix 4/4/23)
Two stories about African-American athletes will appeal to sports fans. Colin Kaepernick Change the Game by Eve L Ewing and Orlando Caicedo is a graphic novel (Graphix 3/7/23). Track and field fans will devour the story of national champion, world champion, and four time Olympian, Chanunté Lowe in her debut MG biography Boundless. (Scholastic focus 3/7/23)
And finally there are four notable additions to the genre of MG protagonist meets magical creatures and discovers hidden powers. They are Once There Was by Kiyash Monsef (S&S 4/423), Momo Arashima Steals the Sword of the Wind (Labyrinth Road RH 4/4/23), Hamara and the Jungle of Memories by Hanna Alkaf (HC 3/28/23), and The Scroll of Chaos by Elie Chapman (Scholastic Press 3/7/23)
((Enjoying this list of diverse books published in March and April? Check out this author interview with MUF contributor Heather Murphy Capps on her diverse book published in April, INDIGO AND IDA))
As always this is only a small sample of the diverse books published in March and April. If I’ve missed something, do mention it in the comments.