Tired of all this political nonsense?

Sign up and get inspired everyday

The Importance of Diversity in Literature

diversity literature

Within this age of America, our national demographic is made up, more than ever, of people of various nationalities, ethnicities, body types, sexual orientations, gender identities, etc. Yet, for the longest time, mainstream literature has not corresponded with that reality, presentation white, cisgender, straight, able-bodied protagonists as the norm.

In Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s (CCBC) 2017 Multicultural Statistics Report, out of “the approximately 3,700 books they received at the CCBC in 2017, most from U.S. publishers, here’s the breakdown:

  • 340 had significant African or African American content/characters
  • 72 had significant American Indian/First Nations content/characters
  • 310 had significant Asian/Pacific or Asian/Pacific American content/characters
  • 216 had significant Latinx content/characters”
  • Partial percentage of these books were written by #OwnVoice authors, meaning people who share the same identity/background of the central characters

However, in recent years, numerous authors and agents in the publishing field have reacted against these biases, utilizing social media to create a widespread movement.

In 2014, following the announcement of an all-male, all-white children’s panel at BookCon, various authors, such as Young-Adult author Ellen Oh, created the #WeNeedDiverseBooks, calling out the lack of diversity in books while advocating for more inclusive representation.

The hashtag soon generated a mass online discussion, eventually developing into an official, non-profit organization, advocating for “essential changes in the publishing industry.” The company’s aim “is to help produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people,” their vision to create a “world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.”

One may question the importance of such a movement and organization, questioning why more diversity in literature is necessary. In her essay, “Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors”, author and educator, Rudine Sims Bishop, utilized metaphors, “windows and “mirrors”, within reading.

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author.

When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection, we can see our own lives and experiences as part of a larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.”

Authors such as Bishop understand the vitality of literature, recognizing that within fiction, readers may be able to recognize and see their personal backgrounds authentically reflected, feeling less alone in a world that may unconsciously or consciously erase their identities. Reading also allows others to connect with people from different backgrounds, with science studies suggesting that reading triggers areas within the mind correlated to empathy.

Without a doubt, one of the most important purposes of writing is not merely to entertain but to enlighten. James Baldwin once wrote,

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

By: Michele Kirichanskaya



violence on us mexico border

Violence on the US-Mexico Border

Mayhem consumed the border. For weeks, thousands of migrants have been heading toward the US border from Tijuana into San…

LGBTQ – Voices

LGBTQ – Voices

“I was finally able to be my most authentic self, and since then I have had no dysphoria.” New York,…

I Am An Immigrant – Voices

I Am An Immigrant – Voices

“The lack of a secure border with Mexico has allowed millions of people to come to the U.S. illegally. And…

Mental Health – Voices

Mental Health – Voices

“If you can control your mindset, your emotions may follow and your day may change for the better.” Cincinnati, OH…


Not Just Downhill Skiing in the Olympics

You flipped on the Winter Olympics because you don’t want to miss an opportunity to chant U-S-A, even though you’re…

Mental Health – Voices

Mental Health – Voices

“I feel that one of the greatest gifts we have as humans is the ability to communicate with each other,…


Four YouTubers Who Abandoned Social Media to Take Care of Their Mental Health

The struggle is real.  We live in a world of cyber zombies addicted to our smartphones that we underestimate how…

LGBTQ – Voices

LGBTQ – Voices

“I encourage my friends to view the LGBTQ+ community as what they are: people.” Brooklyn, NY I am a gay…


4 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health Today

Though your mental health may seem out of your control, there are steps you can take on your own to…