This is an interesting topic and one that is, of course, very important. I had to think long and hard about some of these choices.
What I like when I'm reading is to be able to picture the character as clearly in my mind as possible. This isn't always possible, though, because a lot of authors are very basic about their character descriptions. They might say what hair color or eye color the character has, but then they won't mention what ethnicity the character is which is just as important as the basics I just mentioned.
Here are my choices for this week's topic, in no particular order.
Madeline from Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
There wasn't much made of Madeline's diversity, exactly, but I appreciated that she was well described and I was therefore able to care about her more through being able to see her in my mind's eye.
Shahrzad from The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
I loved getting a peek into the world of Shahrzad and what it is like for a woman in her culture, especially under the rule of Khalid. The description of her life, the intricate parts of it from behavior to food to clothing and surroundings was one of the my favorite parts of the story.
Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I would have loved to hear more about Park's mother in this book and his relationship with her. There wasn't as much focus on his racial identity, which as a huge part of his identity might have explained some of why he acted the way he did in his relationship with Eleanor.
Lara Jean from To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
What I liked about Lara Jean and her culture in this book is that there are actual opportunities for us to see it. There are gatherings with her mother's side of the family that show us Korean culture and traditions instead of being casually mentioned and then forgotten. I really felt for her father, who is white and therefore "other" to his deceased wife's relatives. It must have been so hard for him to interact with this culture that he wasn't exactly a part of anymore except through his daughters.
Claudia from The Baby-sitter's Club series by Ann M. Martin
I think that Claudia was probably one of the first diverse characters that I ever read. She is at least the earliest one that I remember. She comes from a fairly traditional Japanese family and was the character that I most wanted to be from that series. Claudia was intensely passionate about her art, which was frowned upon by her parents and more intellectually inclined older sister. Despite the pressure she was facing, she wasn't afraid to follow her dreams. That was an important lesson for me at the age that I was when I found these books.
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