Need for more diverse novels to be debated

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

The lack of diversity in books and novels will be the opening event to the English Studies conference at 6 p.m. April 9, in Room 1224 in Booth Library.

English professor Fern Kory and associate professor Jamila Smith will be leading the discussion on the matter of diverse books.

Kory said the event is part of a national conversation about the need for books that reflect a wide range of human experiences and perspectives.

She said when books in classrooms and libraries do not represent a wide facet of human experience readers will get an unnecessarily narrow view of life.

Kory said a diverse book is one that reflects the experience of people who are not already over-represented.

“We don’t need to advocate for more books about people who are simultaneously white, middle class, heterosexual, able-bodied,” Kory said.

Kory said the publishing industry is set up to serve the needs of majority culture readers. She said this is an issue because we as a nation are a diverse group of individuals.

The ‘We need Diverse Books’ movement is focused on several goals.  One is publicizing the work of diverse authors and illustrators. Another is making a place for authors and illustrators and editors with diverse perspectives within the publishing industry.

“We are also fighting the idea that readers are only happy reading about people ‘like’ them in some obvious way,” Kory said.

Kory said when someone pretends “one size fits all” in books, some people are excluded and made to feel different over and over again. She also said participants will get to explore and discuss young adult books in the “book tasting.”

The event will conclude with information about resources and a raffle: winners will take home one of the books from the selection.


Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].