Thanks to Naz @ Read Diverse Books who started the Diverse Books Tag, I’ve had a lot of fun hunting up some good bookish treasures. Naz started this book tag with the purpose of getting people to search for, share, and recommend a wide variety of books. I gave mine a CanLit twist.
Canada is big, our population is widely diverse, and I feel strongly that our diversity as a country is reflected in our literature. So, let’s celebrate that.
There are a few here that I’ve read, a few that were on my tbr pile, and a few that I hadn’t heard of before I went digging. There were so many other books I wanted to put on this list, but I had to contain myself. If there are any that you want to mention or recommend, please do so in the comments!
(Snippets from the synopses are all from Goodreads.)
Find a book starring a lesbian character.
(You) Set Me on Fire by Mariko Tamaki
“Allison Lee is seventeen and off to college in the fall. So far, she’s been in love once (total catastrophe) and on fire twice (also pretty bad). Both love and fire have left their scars.”
Adult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonald (my review)
“Adult Onset is a powerful drama about motherhood, the dark undercurrents that break and hold families together, and the power and pressures of love.”
Find a book with a Muslim protagonist.
Where the Air is Sweet by Tasneem Jamal
“An epic family saga that charts three generations of an Indian family in Uganda”
Laughing All the Way To the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz
“Zarqa Nawaz has always straddled two cultures. She’s just as likely to be agonizing over which sparkly earrings will “pimp out” her hijab as to be flirting with the Walmart meat manager in a futile attempt to secure halal chicken the day before Eid.”
Find a book set in Latin America.
Retribution by Carmen Rodriguez
“Retribution spans over seventy years in the life of the Martinez family, from their daily existence before the 1973 military coup to the horror that ensued; their flight to Canada as political refugees, and back to Chile again as Sol joins the underground resistance movement to the dictatorship and looks for the remains of her disappeared husband.”
Irma Voth by Miriam Toews (my review)
“Irma Voth entangles love, longing and dark family secrets. The stifling, reclusive Mennonite life of nineteen-year-old Irma Voth – newly married and newly deserted… is irrevocably changed when a film crew moves in to make a movie about the community.”
Find a book about a person with a disability.
Do You Think This Is Strange? by Aaron Cully Drake (my review)
“Freddy is having a rough year.
First, he is expelled from school for fighting. Now, at his new school, he is required to have regular conversations with a counselor—an awkward situation for anyone, really, but even more so for Freddy, who has autism.”
Mine For Keeps by Jean Little
“Away at school, Sally Copeland has always dreamed of going home, but now that she’s there, she feels frightened and unsure of herself.Will her brother and sister accept her? Will she be able to do things for herself? And what will it be like to go to a regular school and be the only one with cerebral palsy?”
Find a Science-Fiction or Fantasy book with a PoC protagonist.
Brown Girl In the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
” With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother.
She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.”
Half World by Hiromi Goto
“Melanie Tamaki is human—but her parents aren’t. They are from Half World, a Limbo between our world and the afterlife, and her father is still there. When her mother disappears, Melanie must follow her to Half World—and neither of them may return alive.”
Find a book set in (or about) any country in Africa.
The In-Between World of Vikram Lall by M.G. Vassanji
“Vikram Lall comes of age in 1950s Kenya, at the same time that the colony is struggling towards independence. Against the unsettling backdrop of Mau Mau violence, Vic and his sister Deepa, the grandchildren of an Indian railroad worker, search for their place in a world sharply divided between Kenyans and the British.”
Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb (my review)
“The first-person narrative alternates seamlessly between England (1981-91) and Ethiopia (1970-74), weaving a rich tapestry of one woman’s quest to maintain faith and love through revolution, upheaval and the alienation of life in exile.”
Find a book written by an Indigenous author.
Birdie by Tracey Lindberg (my review)
” Part road trip, dream quest and travelogue, the novel touches on the universality of women’s experience, regardless of culture or race.”
Celia’s Song by Lee Maracle
“Celia’s Song relates one Nu: Chahlnuth family’s harrowing experiences over several generations, after the brutality, interference, and neglect resulting from contact with Europeans.”
Find a book set in South Asia.
The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami (my review)
“Set in the dusty seaside town of Toturpuram on the Bay of Bengal, The Hero’s Walk traces the terrain of family and forgiveness through the lives of an exuberant cast of characters bewildered by the rapid pace of change in today’s India. Each member of the Rao family pits his or her chance at personal fulfillment against the conventions of a crumbling caste and class system.”
Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai
“In FUNNY BOY we follow the life of the family through Arjie’s eyes, as he comes to terms both with his own homo-sexuality and with the racism of the society in which he lives. In the north of Sri Lanka there is a war going on between the army and the Tamil Tigers, and gradually it begins to encroach on the family’s comfortable life.”
Find a book with a biracial protagonist.
Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz (my review)
“Beena and Sadhana are sisters who share a bond that could only have been shaped by the most unusual of childhoods — and by shared tragedy. Orphaned as teenagers, they have grown up under the exasperated watch of their Sikh uncle, who runs a bagel shop in Montreal’s Hasidic community of Mile End.”
All Inclusive by Farzana Doctor (my review)
“All Inclusive blurs the lines between the real world and paradise, and life and the afterlife, that shows how love can conquer any obstacle.”
Find a book starring a transgender character or about transgender issues.
For Today I Am A Boy by Kim Fu
“At birth, Peter had been given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, powerful king. The exalted only son in the middle of three daughters, Peter was the one who would finally embody his immigrant father’s ideal of power and masculinity. But Peter has different dreams: he is certain he is a girl.”
A Safe Girl To Love by Casey Plett
“Eleven unique short stories that stretch from a rural Canadian Mennonite town to a hipster gay bar in Brooklyn, featuring young trans women stumbling through loss, sex, harassment, and love.”