In an article I wrote, I argued that people of color are rarely the “popular” characters in literature unless their story pertains to their race. The popular characters in novels in the Young Adult genre are often superhuman figures. I used Katniss Everdeen and Beatrice Prior as examples. We are often not privy to – in the media and otherwise – to seeing and reading about people of color unless it has to do with race in some way or another. In 2014, CNN published an article expressing the same problem with diversity. While there is a huge push for more diversity in novels, especially with children’s books and young adult, there are also a lot of books out there that aren’t afforded the same attention.
Thankfully, it’s as if the book gods heard my plea. Here’s a list of books to look out for in 2017 that have people of color on the covers!
1) The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera (February 21, Simon & Schuster)
After Margot steals her father’s credit card, she ends up grounded. Even worse, she has to spend the entire summer working in her family’s grocery store. With the ultimate beach party coming up, she’s not going to let her family stand in the way of the party or the good looking boy who will be there.
2) It’s Not Like It’s A Secret by Misa Sugiura (May 9, HarperTeen)
Sana has a lot of small secrets Her father might be having an affair, it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties, but a big secret might ruin everything. The fact that she might be in love with her best friend is the biggest secret of all.
3) Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin (February 21, Katherine Tegen)
Ronit is an Israeli girl who lives on the opposite side of the fence from Jamil, a Palestinian boy. Separated by generations of conflict and hatred, Ronit and Jamil fall into a forbidden love that only makes things worse for their families.
4) Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (February 21, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Rowan chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property and she has no idea that her discovery will lead to a century-old murder investigation with brutal truths revealed about the past.
Over a hundred years earlier, as a result of a violent encounter, Will Tillman is propelled into a racial “firestorm”. In a country filled with Jim Crow and racial hatred, Will must make difficult decisions in order to do the right thing.
5) Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson (February 14, Bloomsbury)
Jade believes that in order to succeed, she has to get out of her neighborhood. From taking prep tests every Saturday morning to attending a mostly white school, Jade has to decide what she wants for her life. Through a coming of age story, Jade tries to understand what it means to be a black woman and what she must do to be happy.
6) When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (May 30, Simon Pulse)
Dimple Shah is out of high school and ready to live her life away from her family. Her family has something else for her in mind, though. A husband.
Rishi Patel’s parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same school as him, and he’s more than thrilled. Rishi is all for the arrangement.
When Dimple and Rishi meet, Sandhya Menon tells us what happens.
7) Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (April 4, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
In a follow-up to To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before, Lara Jean is continuing to write letters. She’s head over heels for her boyfriend Peter and is having the best senior year she could ask for, but there are some big decisions that Lara Jean will have to make once high school is over with.
Featured image courtesy of Twitter