Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Bookshelves and Paperbacks. Each week, you feature a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR and a diverse book that has not yet been released.
Since diversity is quite a broad term that covers many different aspects, to ensure I’m reading across the whole spectrum I will choose an area to focus on each week. This week I will be talking about diverse books for a middle grade readership.
WONDER BY R. J. PALACIO
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?
I read this book quite a while ago but it’s pretty much stuck with me ever since because of how impactful it is. I loved the ‘it doesn’t cost anything to be kind’ message that it spreads and I’m super excited for the upcoming movie because Jacob Tremblay.
AMINA’S VOICE BY HENA KHAN
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
This is a recent release from Simon and Schuster’s Muslim imprint, Salaam Reads, which I’d love even more if the books actually released outside of the US/Canada. For that reason, I’m not sure when I’ll actually get around to reading it but I’ve heard so many good things. Plus, that cover is gorgeous!
WHICHWOOD BY TAHEREH MAFI
Our story begins on a frosty night…
Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.
But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship?
I haven’t yet read Shatter Me (which has been on my TBR for three years), or Furthermore (which this is a companion to) but Whichwood is probably the one book by Tahereh Mafi that I’m most excited about. I wasn’t really that interested before the cover reveal so I hope it’s as good as it looks?