August 25, 2009

Diversity Role Call: Looking for a Few Good Men

Diversity Role Call is hosted by Ali of Worducopia.

For this week's question, I'd like to take a comment from Doret and put it out there for the group to work on. Doret (The Happy Nappy Bookseller) has been a regular contributor to the Roll Call as well as reviews for the Diversity Rocks reading challenge. In the comments of my summary of the Gender & Book Cover posts, she had this to say:
One thing I have noticed regarding gender. Most YA featuring people of color, with the stories set in another country, tend to have a female protagonist. I am having a difficult time finding many with male leads of color set in other countries.

I wonder why this is so. And I would love any suggestions.
Okay, team, this one's for Doret. Let's get out there and find her some titles! We're looking for titles and descriptions (publisher's blurb or link to a review is fine), not necessarily books you've read or can vouch for. Could be fiction, memoir, biography, and so on. The criteria again are:
  • Has appeal to young adults (an adult book which might appeal to a teen is fine)
  • Setting is outside the U.S.
  • At least one person of color figures prominently
  • Lead character is male

Here are the few I came up with:

~Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (I loved this story as a young adult and I want to re-read it this year and hopefully I will get to it!)

~No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe (The sequel to Things Fall Apart.)

~Life of Pi by Yann Martel

~Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murasaki

~Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

I have not read the followng but they also fit the desired formula:

~Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

~The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

~The Stranger by Albert Camus

~The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz


  1. Good list, and good catch on the European authors!

  2. I liked your list. I'm familiar with some of them.

  3. A Long Way Gone: Memoir of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

  4. Good post and excellent suggestions.
    I would add:

    The Examination by Michael Bosse- adventures of a Chinese would-be scholar and his protective brother

    The Good Earth- by Pearl S Buck- this is such a good book. It's about the ups and downs in the life of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer.

  5. Great list! Sharazad & Lit-and-Life, would love to have you add yours to the original post here so I make sure not to miss them when I do the wrap-up in a couple weeks.

    Rebecca, one of the titles you posted is the second one I referred to in the original post: I've also featured another book where the main character is a male person of color, most of the book takes place in the U.S. but there are some scenes in a foreign country--maybe more than I realize since I have yet to finish the book.

  6. I recently read "Surviving Chadwick" by Phillip Wilhite and it is an excellent read with young males. In fact, I passed this book on to a friend with a teenage son.

  7. The God of Small Things and Norwegian Books are among my all-time favourites, and I loved Oscar Wao too. I'll definitely check out the rest of your suggestions!

  8. Thanks for all the recommendations! And I appreciate the support for diversity in books! I think it is very important and if you've read my blog very long you know I love books set in other cultures. They are fascinating!


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