Diversity Is Important. Young Adult Novels with POC Protagonists

Many times, stories tend to follow the same cliché storylines, have the same type of main characters and end up similarly, and it seriously starts getting boring. Not only do most protagonists follow the same pattern, but you can usually predict what’s going to happen along the storyline too. It really takes away from the enthusiasm you had before picking up the book.

This is why diversity should be embraced more often, as it creates some authenticity in books and gives people more chances to relate to a character. One way to do this is by adding POC protagonists. You’re sure to have a blast reading these books, which is why we compiled this list of some great novels with people of color as main characters. Let’s get started!

  1. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

As we’re still living in a world where appearance matters a lot to other people, Mimi is a protagonist you’ll find easily relatable. She is a half-Japanese, half-black girl in 1969. She moves to a town in Vermont, where the majority of people are white, and you could tell what happens – she is pointed fingers at because people consider her unusual. Despite knowing that all people see is her appearance, she dreams of becoming an astronaut. Will she succeed in her life? Better buy this book and find out by yourself.

  1. Into White by Randi Pink

When facing racism, many people of color wish they were born white instead, so they wouldn’t have to face all the torment. This is also the case of Toya Williams, the main character of Into White, who is mad at the amount of discrimination she has to deal with. Because she’s sick and tired of it, she prays she was of a different race – which happens the next morning, when she wakes up white. The whole book is a great mix of different elements such as classism, racism, and sexism, as well as humor and sadness alike. If you want to experience a rollercoaster of emotions, this book is surely a must-read.

  1. Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

This book focuses on the story of a Muslim American woman, Scarlett, who is not afraid to venture herself in solving the crimes in her hometown. As her father has been murdered too, she’s working really hard to discover who’s responsible for the incident. When she sees that her family has been involved with a supernatural situation, and that’s when she thinks it is linked to her dad’s mysterious death.

  1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This novel is telling the story of six people with special powers. They’re outcasts of the society, and this makes them more relatable to the audience who is going through something similar. Two of the main characters are of color, and their skills are not slept on – they’re actually really cool and powerful! Don’t miss the chance to read this entertaining story.

  1. If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

“If I Tell” focuses on more than the racial problem, respectively that of a child raised by one parent. Basically, she’s the result of a one night stand between two people of different races. She’s never met her father but is getting along really well with her mother. However, she sees her mother’s boyfriend kissing someone else, and during the whole book, she is trying to tell her mother the truth. Like that wasn’t already enough, she also has to deal with living in a town where clashes between white and black people are not too pleasant.

These books are great if you’re looking for some diversity, so give them a shot. Aside from being entertaining and keeping you with the nose in the book for hours, they also have the gift to teach people to be more accepting towards others. Also it’s can be hard to write good enough story with diverse characters, so you can use those diversity essays.


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