Thursday, January 8, 2015
Corienne's Diversity Picks!
Our class has just been challenged to take part in Dive Into Diversity. The objective is to read at least one diverse book a month, or per marking period. For people who are having trouble choosing their first reads for the challenge, here are some of my personal favorites:
Undoubtedly, one of my favorite series overall, the Darkest Minds series is very diverse. Two of (my personal favorite) main characters are from a different race. Chubs is a humble, yet sassy African- American teenager, and Suzume is a Asian child, who I believe fantasizes that she is a Disney Princess in her free time. The color of their skin though is not as racially apparent as the color of their uniforms. All children and teens are categorized by a color according to the “ability” they possess. The color is spray-painted across their uniform and remains with the individual. Although readers may not notice it, the characters are pretty racist as they sometimes judge others (as well as themselves) based on their "ability" color. I think what makes the series so distinct, is how skin color racism disappears and is instead replaced with the racism according to "ability" colors. When they see the East River though, there is no segregation between colors and they all work and contribute to the camp together. It is quite different, especially to the main characters who are used to being judged by their color and knos their character.
I recommend reading this book because it is such a fast-paced, action-packed novel that not only deals with segregation, but also trusting and believing in yourself. The main character Ruby is one of the dangerous ones, an Orange. Throughout the book she has to almost “seal off her past” but also try to control her abilities and stop them from controlling how she ultimately lives her life. With Chub's sassy attitude, Suzume’s care, Ruby’s heroism and Liam’s adorable southern accent, it’s surely one of the best books I have ever read. Pick it up and you won’t regret it. After all, “The darkest minds hide behind the most unlikely faces."
Next on the list is this beautiful novel by Cammie McGovern. It deals with the main character, Amy who is a disabled teenager with Cerebral Palsy and Matthew who has a nasty case of OCD and suffers from anxiety. Both characters are almost shunned by other students due to their differences, but form an everlasting bond between one another. Although I read this book over the summer last year, I remember feeling particularly intrigued and connected to the poem "Lucky" since I share experiences with Amy as my little brother Christian has Down's Syndrome.
“Lucky" by Amy Dorn, grade 11
When people first see me, they may not believe this, but most days I don’t feel particularly disabled. In ways that matter most, I believe that I am more blessed by good luck than I am saddled by misfortune. My eyes are good as are my ears. I’ve been raised by parents who love me as I am, which means that even though I can’t walk or talk well, I’m reasonably well adjusted.
I know that for a teenage girl in America, this is saying a lot. I don't want to be thinner than I am, or taller. I don't look at my body parts and wish they were bigger or smaller. In fact- and this will surprise most people- I don't wish I was fine. I don't pine for working legs or a cooperative tongue. It would be nice not to drool and warp the best pages of my favorite books, but I’m old enough to know, a little drool isn’t going to ruin anyones life. I don't know what it would feel like to to beautiful, but I can guess that it makes demands on your time. I watch pretty girls my age and I see how hard they work at it, I imagine it introduces fears I will never experience: What if I lose this? Why am I not happier when I have this?
Instead of beauty, I have a face no one envies, and a body no one would choose to live in. These two factors alone have freed up my days to pursue what other girls my age might also do if their strong legs weren’t carrying them to dances and parties and places that feed a lot of insecurities. Living in a body that limits my choices means I am not a victim of fashion or cultural pressures, because there is no place for me in the culture I see. In having fewer options, I am freer than any other teenager I know. I have more time, more choices, more ways I can be. I feel blessed and yes- I feel lucky” (McGovern 16).
You guessed it! Next pick is the exhilarating Vampire Academy series (and run-off Bloodlines series) by the wonderful Richelle Mead. Normally, I wouldn’t pick up a “vampire-y” kind of series, but it is absolutely more amazing than you could believe. Honestly, this series had to literally be ripped from my hands to get me to put it down. The three vampire groups are very diverse. The Moroi race makes up the upperclass almost caste-like system in the series. They have a royal family, as well as bodyguards to protect each and every Moroi. These bodyguards or Guardians are Dhampirs, and are raised being taught that they must protect the Moroi at all costs as their main, and about only goal and life. Finally, the Strigoi are the blood-thirsty evil do-ers that basically just kill things and turn more people (Moroi and Dhampirs) into Strigoi.
I would recommend reading this series as well as they are packed with plot-twists. The first book, Vampire Academy is very enjoyable and persuades readers to grab the sequel. The sequel, Frostbite has a total unexpected twist at the end that actually comes out of nowhere. Readers are pretty eager to get the next one, Shadow Kiss that literally kills you. Naturally at this point you are on your knees begging for the next book and thusly, you are addicted to the series (true story). Honestly, I give so much credit to Richelle Mead for every plot twist, I didn’t expect one of them. If that doesn’t give you an incentive to read this wonderful series, I don’t know what will.