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Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers
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Music in this podcast is courtesy of Scott Andrew.

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Episode 78 – #weneeddiversebooks

Over the past year, conversations on social media have drawn new attention to the lack of diversity in children’s and young adult literature. Statistics can help us see the problem, but they don’t capture its effects on readers' lives and dreams. As illustrator Christopher Myers put it, if books function as maps that help young people decide where they want to go, our too-white literature offers young people a flawed cartography.

Even if they are few in number, diverse books do exist. Tune in to hear about recently-published YA titles that celebrate diversity in a range of genres. There’s something for every reader here: comic book superheroes, Civil Rights history, love stories, humorous essays, poetry, artwork, and stories of suspense.

After listening, be sure to print out this list of recommended titles to take with you to your local library or bookseller.

Books featured in this episode:

  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014)
  • Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures edited by Mitali Perkins (Candlewick, 2013)
  • The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook, 2014)
  • How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon (Henry Holt, 2014)
  • Knockout Games by G. Neri (Carolrhoda Lab, 2014)
  • Bombay Blues by Tanuja Desai Hidier (Scholastic, 2014)
  • If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (Algonquin Young Readers, 2013)
  • Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices edited by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale (Annick Press, 2014)
  • The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew (First Second, 2014)


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