Wahoo!!! A T5W topic about diverse characters in books! This week is so exciting! I have been really making an effort lately to read more diverse books, and it has been amazing. As far as this post is concerned, I am defining diverse characters as characters that are different from the norm in any way. Characters of different races or body types, LGBTQIA+ characters, and characters with any kind of physical or mental health issues all fall under the category of diversity for me. So here we go…some of my absolute favorite diverse characters are:
5. Most of the Characters from the Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
If you have read any of the Percy Jackson books, you will know that almost all of the main characters suffer from dyslexia and ADD. The reasons the characters all share these traits is explained early on, but it causes all of them plenty of trouble on a regular basis. I love that these issues are discussed in such a popular and widespread series. It is great for kids to see that even people with what could be defined as a disability can still be heroes.
4. Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Oh, Albie, everyone’s favorite crackpot wizard. Just like with the Percy Jackson series, I love that issues of sexual orientation are present in such a widespread series. But it is incredibly subtle. I didn’t actually notice that Dumbledore is gay at all while I was reading, and I wish it had been just a little bit more noticeable.
3. A. from Every Day by David Levithan
The actual character of A. is not necessarily a diverse character on their own, but they inhabit the bodies of countless different individuals on a daily basis. One of my absolute favorite aspects of Every Day was the fact that diverse bodies were used for A. to inhabit. They found themselves in the bodies of men and women, gay and straight, model-thin and morbidly obese, happy and healthy and suicidal and depressed. A. inhabited bodies of different races, religions, and economic statuses as well. I absolutely loved how much diversity was shown in this book and it is the main reason that I enjoyed Every Day.
2. Ari and Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
I can’t talk too much about all of the diversity that is discussed in this book because I will be crossing the line into spoiler territory. But I can tell you that Aristotle and Dante are both of Mexican descent. There are also some mental health issues that are discussed. There are other diverse aspects as well, but you will just have to read the book to find out what they are. And this book is fantastic, so I highly recommend you check it out.
1. Mikey from The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
I just finished reading The Rest of Us Just Live Here a few days ago and I am absolutely in love with this book. There are a couple of diverse characters in this book, but my favorite is the main character, Mikey. Mikey has OCD that he seems to have under control, until it starts to flare up due to some stress and changes in his life. Watching Mikey’s struggle with his OCD was heartbreaking and will really hit close to home for anyone affected by OCD in any degree. The way that Patrick Ness described the scenes in which Mikey became stuck in compulsive loops was so accurate it was hard to read sometimes. I also loved that this book dealt with the stigma attached to taking medicine as treatment in such a wonderful way. I could gush about this book for a very long time, and I plan to do so in a review very soon. But for now, I highly suggest you check out The Rest of Us Just Live Here if you are looking for a book with a diverse cast of characters.
I found that as I was compiling this list, I couldn’t really think of any diverse characters that were female. There are a couple in The Rest of Us Just Live Here, but that is really all I could think of. I’m not sure if this is due to a lack of diverse female characters in literature in general, or if the fault is mine, and I need to read more diverse books. Maybe it is a combination of both. That being said, I really want to change this! Do you have a recommendations of books I should read with diverse female characters? I would really like to know!
When we all need more diverse books…..
…..blame it on the books.