[DWJ] recommendations

Ellen Willcox eawil3 at email.wm.edu
Wed Jul 31 11:48:47 EDT 2013


Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson is an excellent fantasy set in a
beautiful world based on medieval India.  All the characters are people of
color.

The graphic novel Princeless by Jeremy Whitley is fantastic.  It's
hilarious, sending up lots of fairy-tale tropes, and features fun art and a
diverse cast.  The only downside is that there's only one volume out (Book
One:  Save Yourself).  One girl to whom I recommended it keeps asking me if
there's a new one yet!

I second the Keys to the Kingdom series, although that's probably already
on your radar, since you mention Garth Nix.  I also second Rick Riordan's
books, especially the Heroes of Olympus series (she'll get the most out of
those if she reads the Percy Jackson series first - luckily, those are
great, too).

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher is a good one, and very popular at the
library where I work.  (I'm a youth services librarian, so recommending
kids' and teens' books is pretty much my favorite thing.)  It has two main
characters, one male and one female, and my impression is that the boy is a
person of color.  I believe he's going to be played by Taylor Lautner
(Native American) in the movie adaptation.

Rapunzel's Revenge and the sequel Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale are
excellent graphic novels offering a new take on classic fairy tales -
Rapunzel set in a Wild West-type country and Jack and the Beanstalk in a
steampunk-inspired city.  Plus, Jack, who is a major character in both
stories, is a person of color.

Every person ever, but especially the young girl ones, should read the
graphic novel Smile by Raina Telgemeier.  It's not fantasy, but it is
fabulous, and every single person I know who has read it has loved it.

Scott Westerfeld's trilogy Leviathan, Behemoth, and Goliath is awesome.  It
has a girl protagonist and a boy one and switches between their points of
view.  It's set in an alternate version of World War I in which the Allies
fight with genetically engineered beasts and the Axis powers with
steam-powered robots.  And it has illustrations.  Which are amazing.

The Wall and the Wing by Laura Ruby is a fun, unexpected little
middle-grade fantasy with a girl and a boy as the main characters.  It has
a sequel, The Chaos King, which is good, too.

Hope that helps!

- Nic


On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 7:26 AM, Hallie O'Donovan <hallieod at gmail.com>wrote:

> Tu Books (http://www.leeandlow.com/p/tu.mhtml) is well worth checking out,
> for children's fantasy and science fiction that's racially inclusive. I've
> only read two so far, but CAT GIRL'S DAY OFF is a very cute fantasy with a
> mixed-race protagonist. Not at all a serious, issue type book, but that's
> kind of the point. I also read TANKBORN, but found it a bit heavy-handed
> and predictable, though very well-intentioned.
>
> Sherwood Smith's CROWN AND COURT DUET was a huge hit with my two at about
> that age (and with me, reading the books to them!), and in a few years your
> partner's friend might be ready for the series Sherwood is writing with
> Rachel Manija Brown - STRANGER, the first book, is being published next
> year by Viking. I've read the first two as works in progress, and they're
> wonderful, with many of the protagonists being mixed-race or POC.
>
> Dorian got me hooked on the Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas, for which
> I'm extremely grateful. Wonderful characters, who quietly subvert gender
> expectations in a variety of ways. The Winterling series is also very good
> so far, though the humour of the Magic Thief books makes them my
> favourites.
>
> Finally, I don't think anyone has mentioned R. J. Anderson, though there
> have been so many recs I might have missed it. ULTRAVIOLET would be too
> old, but the Faery Rebel series is great. I think the US title of the first
> book is SPELL HUNTER, and it's KNIFE in the UK.
>
> Hallie
>
>
> On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 8:56 AM, Gili Bar-Hillel
> <gbhillel at netvision.net.il>wrote:
>
> > Racewise, Rick Riordan seems to make a conscious effort to break out of
> the
> > all-white mold. The protagonists of his Egyptian trilogy (The Kane
> > Chronicles, starting with The Red Pyramid) are brother and sister of
> mixed
> > race, who don't look like siblings (she's more white, he's more black).
> > Each of the Heroes of Olympus books has multiple protagonists, including
> > characters who are Asian, black, Hispanic and Native American. He's based
> > some of his characters on students he used to teach in elementary school.
> > They are somewhere between MG and YA as far as themes and difficulty.
> >
> > I would DEFINITELY recommend Frank Baum. Even he has been labeled a
> racist
> > in recent years, for two highly unfortunate editorials he wrote while he
> > was a newspaper editor in South Dakota, surrounding the death of Sitting
> > Bull and the events of Wounded Knee. However, unlike in some cases where
> > once you discover an author's racist bias you realize it permeates his
> > works, with Baum these editorials are extremely unusual and seem at odds
> > with the bulk of his writing. They are also pretty obscure, and have only
> > made available in recent years because people seem to enjoy engaging in
> > this kind of discussion (if you look for them online, keep in mind that
> > they are sometimes shortened or fitted with headings that weren't in the
> > original newspaper, to highlight the terrible bits). His children's books
> > feature a host of characters who are as other as other can be: each one
> is
> > made of a different material, has different ideas of what is good and
> > desirable, and yet the characters get along in harmony. The bad guys in
> the
> > books are often those who try to enforce their one narrow way of living
> on
> > others.
> >
> > I haven't seen Malorie Blackman recommended. Some of her books are
> > alternate history ABOUT race struggles, in a world where dark-skinned
> > people are the leading race. She is highly popular in the UK but I think
> > relatively unknown in the USA (interesting, that). I've only read one,
> > "Noughts and Crosses": it was a bit too earnest for me, but I can see why
> > she's popular. Maybe wait a couple of years.
> >
> > I'd also recommend the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix, don't
> even
> > know what color the characters are. And of course Diana Wynne Jones.
> Aren't
> > most of the Dalemark protagonists non-white? They have different race
> > distinctions than ours, in any case. Ditto Power of Three. There are POC
> > lead characters in several DWJ books, including A Tale of Time City,
> > Wilkin's Tooth, etc.
> >
> > What I find disturbing about race in books for young people is that there
> > seems to be an assumption that unless stated otherwise, characters are
> > white. It's so strong that even when characters are explicitly described
> as
> > having dark skin or other non-caucasian features, some people tend to
> glide
> > over these descriptions, as seen by the fact that every so often book
> > covers are white-washed "by mistake" so that the images show white
> > characters even if they are explicitly non-white in the text, or that
> > viewers express surprise when black actors are cast to play black
> > characters onscreen (i.e. Rue in the Hunger Games). In many beloved books
> > no reference is made to character's skin color or ethnicity. While I wish
> > this meant that readers of all races could identify equally with the
> > characters, I know that in actual fact many readers will probably assume
> > that the characters are white. The problem is in our minds even when it
> > isn't in the books.
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 12:26 AM, Martha Hixon <marthahixon at gmail.com
> > >wrote:
> >
> > > Recommendations:
> > >
> > > > Lloyd Alexander (especially the Vesper Holly ones, which are fun, and
> > the
> > > Prydain ones, which are classic)
> > > > Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks series (neither fantasy nor mixed
> > race,
> > > but truly wonderful reads, and this is coming from a person who has
> > always
> > > vastly prefers fantasy to realistic fiction).
> > > > Rick Riordan's various series using Greek, Roman, and Egyptian myths,
> > > maybe?
> > >
> > > I'd second L. Frank Baum, and I'd suggest keeping Garth Nix's Abhorsen
> > > series for an older teen, as well as Alison Croggon's Pelinor series
> for
> > > the same age. Duane's So You Want to be a Wizard series would be good
> > for a
> > > 10-year-old, but not some of her others.
> > >
> > > Martha
> > >
> > > Dr. Martha P. Hixon
> > > Department of English
> > > Middle Tennessee State University
> > > Murfreesboro, TN 37132
> > > 615-898-2599 / martha.hixon at mtsu.edu
> > >
> > >
> > > On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 6:19 PM, Otter Perry <
> > > ottertee at silverwinggraphics.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > >
> > > > My partner has an acquaintance, a 10-year-old girl who is very
> bright.
> > > > She likes fantasy. I've recommended DWJ, of course, but any
> suggestions
> > > > are welcome. [I also recommended Nesbit, Lewis, Baum, Jansson, and
> > > > Pratchett.]
> > > >
> > > > She is also mixed-race*, so if anybody knows a particularly good
> author
> > > > for that, tell me. [I'm loaning her _The Wizard of Earthsea_.] It
> would
> > > be
> > > > nice to have protagonists who aren't just white.
> > > >
> > > > Garth Nix just occurred to me. And Diane Duane.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > *Her father is African-American, her mother is European-American.
> > > >
> > > > --------
> > > >
> > > > People say nothing rhymes with orange,
> > > > but it doesn't.
> > > >
> > > >
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