Thursday, 2 March 2017

Getting excited about diverse reads!

Hello everybody! I hope you're well!

I wanted to talk about something I've been getting really enthusiastic about lately: diverse reads. If you're a book blogger and you frequent Twitter a lot, you'll see there's a lot of talk about diverse books which I think is awesome. There are so many different cultures and countries that I know nothing about and lately I've been wanting to know more about people from countries I rarely see in books and movies, I want to know how they live, their customs, their religious beliefs – I want to hear the stories from people other than the ones living in the USA or the UK.



A few weeks ago I, for some strange reason, decided to browse the Sonlight website. For those of you who don't know, Sonlight is a literature-based homeschooling programme that incorporates so many brilliant books into the curriculum to enlighten readers about different cultures, religion, historical events and so forth. I briefly did Sonlight's maths and science programmes when I was 14 but I hadn't even gotten around to ordering the rest of the programme when we discovered that it was probably better for me to switch to Cambridge International Examinations due to me needing exam grades and wanting to go to university to study astrophysics. Yes, I cried. Anyway, the other day I found myself on the Sonlight website and I thought to myself, why don't I make a list of all the books I want to read that I never got the chance to? And so I did. Then I proceeded to reserve several at the library. It took quite a while for all the reservations to arrive but once they did, it was like Christmas came early!

I thought I'd share what books I got out and why I'm excited about them! I don't generally do reviews for books that haven't been sent to me to review, but I'll probably make an exception for these as it's always good to bring awareness to books are key to us understanding as many people and their customs as possible.

The Books:
Why I'm Excited For: 
1. I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade
Set in Mongolia (I'm hoping I'll learn more about Mongolia from this book!)
Set during the time of Kublai Khan's reign (I know nothing about Kublai Khan, so I hope I learn stuff about him too)
Main character considered disabled due to having a crushed foot (I always think it's good reading about a character who hasn't got a 100% able body because it puts us in their shoes and helps us grow more understanding and compassionate - I believe if we all made an effort to understand everyone more and were more compassionate, the world would be a much better place!) 
Disguises herself as a boy (let's not lie, we're all suckers for this trope)
♥ Sets off on a life-changing journey (I LOVE JOURNEYS, especially if the character experiences extreme growth due to aforementioned journey)


2. First Girl by gloria whelan
Set in China (I've always wanted to go to China and learn more about their culture, so I'm SUPER stoked to read this!)
Family (I'm guessing, as the main character leaves the home after her sister is born as there can only be one girl per household, I believe?)
Interesting premise that sounds quite heartbreaking (Chu Ju decides to leave home so her sister can stay. THAT'S SO SAD)

3. Where the mountain meets the moon
CHINESE FOLKLORE!!! (I love folklore and I know nothing about Chinese folklore so I'm super excited that I get to read about it!)
♥ FANTASY (Fantasy and Chinese folklore combined, this sounds like perfection already)
Chinese culture (despite it being fantasy, it seems as if it will contain quite a lot of Chinese culture as well! Eek!)
"Extraordinary journeys" (Yes, please. Who doesn't love extraordinary journeys? No one, you are correct.)
Dragons (there's dragons, need I say more?)

4. The breadwinner
 Heartbreaking premise (DON'T DENY IT. YOU LOVE THE PAIN.)
Set in Afghanistan (I've never read a book set there, so it's going to be very interesting exploring Afghanistan and learning about their culture!)
Set during the time where the Taliban regime was in order (Another thing I know very little about, so I'm looking forward to being enlightened on this time in history)
Girl disguises herself as a boy to save her family (you go, girl)
♥ "Based on the true-life stories of women in Afghan refugee camps" (I think it's very important to read books based on true stories, it can teach you so much)
Unveils the appalling manner in which females were treated (Hard subject matter but once again, even though there are many chilling events in history, I believe it's important that we are aware of them. I'm sure this book will also show many why feminism is so important, especially in Eastern countries)

5. Journey to jo'burg
I've already read this and it broke my heart. It makes me so incredibly sad that my country that I love so much has a past filled with so much hatred over skin colour. It broke my heart reading about how unfairly the black people were treated and I still can't fathom that they were treated worse than animal purely because of the colour of their skin. I will never understand racism. That being said, it made me so proud happy to compare Apartheid South Africa to the South Africa I know now and to see all the progress we've made as a nation in accepting and loving one another, despite their skin colour. Let me tell you why you should read it...
♥ It's set in South Africa! My home!
♥ You can learn about the culture of the Tswana people, which is one of the largest ethnic groups in the country
♥ You will get to see through the eyes of a child living in the Apartheid era, bearing witness to the struggles her and her family went through as the whites constructed more restrictive rules and heavily oppressed the many ethnic groups of South Africa
♥ The writing is simple and childlike which will probably emotionally impact you more as there are no brutal truths hidden between metaphors and similes - it's all laid bare in its devastating honesty


6. when Hitler stole pink rabbit
I'm not sure if this counts as a diverse book, but since it centers around a country and its culture outside of the US/UK, I'll count it as one for this post, if that's okay?
 Features a Jewish protagonist 
 Set during Hitler's reign (Lately I've been getting more interested in politics and history so I'm looking forward to learning more about how things with Hitler all started)
 True events (based on the author's life, it's going to utterly break my heart, but once again I believe it's imperative that we read books based on true events so that we can develop more compassion and understanding)
Told from the perspective of a refugee (I don't talk like talking about politics, but with all the Trump drama that has been happening recently, I think it would be great if all people could some books that are told from a refugee's perspective, once again so we can put ourselves in their shoes and understand, love and care deeper than we did before)

7.Persepolis
 A memoir (It's more personal and hence, I find, more hard-hitting and sometimes even more poignant)
It's a graphic novel (I don't read very many graphic novels but I think it's great that I'm able to read one that features history, religion, and politics. It makes it more accessible which is always a great thing!)
Set in Iran (A country I never read about!)
Set during the Islamic Revolution (once again, I've never read a children's/YA book featuring this before - I'm looking forward to learning more!)
Religion 

There you have it - my diverse library book haul! Let's discuss! Have you read any of these/are you planning on reading any of these? What's your favourite diverse book? Which countries and their cultures which you like to learn more about?

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