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02 July 2009 @ 08:36 pm
YA Fantasy book lists for characters of color  
ETA: This list is still in progress but I absolutely need to get a dissertation chapter to my committee before updating I need to recover (breathing and thus cognitive focus) before the list is anything but a confusion and a daunting thing. 

ETA2: I am not well enough to put all of this information together yet, but wanted to add a link to this wonderful post now, rather than delaying till I can deal with all the data without head-explosion :)

I have been making 'em. Because a) I love YA, so I need these, b) The Carl Brandon Society has several wonderful lists but not a specific YA one yet, so this fills a gap (and is mostly made up of suggestions from the CBS listserv, as well as suggestions and resources from sdn .) and c) I'm co-modding a YA fantasy roundtable at MythCon and realized my knowledge of the sort of YA about POC is shameful.  This is the first step towards fixing that.

It's doubtless woefully incomplete, but it's a work in progress.
And I haven't read nearly everything here, so please tell me what doesn't fit, or if I have anyone in the wrong category; I've done the best internetsearching I can, but I'm basically going off suggestions.
And I haven't liked everything I've read (a couple books have problem-notes).  But it's a start!

ETA: There's so much stuff here that's worth noting even if it doesn't fit on these lists that I've started an addendum here.


YA fantasy novels by POC about POC that are more or less the same sort of POC they are
...AFAICT

Octavia Butler

Fledgling (consensus: not YA)
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Conch Bearer
Louise Erdrich

The Birchbark House
The Game of Silence
Not fantasy, oops.
Eugie Foster
Halp, does Eugie Foster write novels?  I'm finding lots of YA and kids' short fiction...
Jewelle Gomez
The Gilda Stories: a novel (vote: is it YA?  Cause I don't know!)
Hiromo Goto
Half World (illustrated by Jillian Tamaki)
The Water of Possibility
Virginia Hamilton
The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl
Willie Bea and the Time the Martians Landed
Walter Mosley
47
Marilyn Nelson and Tonya C. Hegamin
Pemba's Song
Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu (now Nnedi Okorafor)
Zahrah the windseeker
The Shadow Speaker
Long Juju Man (younger kids' book).
Helen Oyeyemi
The Icarus Girl
Cindy Pon
Silver Phoenix
Salman Rushdie
Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Tantalize
Eternal
Note: Unlike her books for younger readers, these don't seem to feature POC or Native traditions or mythology. Apparently Eternal's heroine is Chinese-American.  Anyone know if Tantalize belongs on this list?
Drew Hayden Taylor
The Night Wanderer


YA graphic novels by POC that are more or less the same sort of POC they are 
...AFAICT, again. 

Marguerite Aboutet & Clement Oubrerie
Aya
Note: I have no idea if this is fantasy or not.  I need to get it.
Los Bros Hernandez (Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez)
Love and Rockets
Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis (1&2)
Note: not fantasy.  But I'm keeping it in here anyway.
Shaun Tan
The Arrival
Gene Yang
American Born Chinese

YA Fantasy novels by 'non-POC' that are about POC of a different sort from them
...AFAICT, again
And I put "non-POC" in quotes 'cause I've yet to meet a colorless person.

Alma Alexander
Jin Shei trilogy
Lloyd Alexander

The Iron Ring (1997)
Note: Much as I love Lloyd Alexander, I find this one problematic: exoticizing, projecting values
MT Anderson
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party
Susan Cooper
The Green Boy
Diane Duane
So you want to be a wizard
Deep Wizardry
High Wizardry
A Wizard Abroad (I find this one problematic: exoticizing from POV character, indirectly evoked colonial cliches).
Note: There are four more books out in this series and one more forthcoming; my only issues are with book four.
Nancy Farmer
The ear, the eye and the arm
A girl named disaster
House of the Scorpion
Alison Goodman
The Two Pearls of Wisdom
(Published as Dragoneye Reborn (US) and Rise of the Dragoneye (UK))
Lian Hearn
Across the Nightingale Floor
Grass For His Pillow
The Harsh Cry of the Heron
Diana Wynne Jones
Castle in the Air
Justine Larbalestier
Magic or Madness
Ursule Le Guin
- The Earthsea sequence:
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Tombs of Atuan
The Farthest Shore
Tehanu
The Other Wind
- Annals of the Western Shore:
Gifts
Voices
Powers
China Mieville
Un Lun Dun
Andre Norton
Lavender-green Magic
Tamora Pierce
Trickster's Choice
Trickster's Queen
Note: This duology is perhaps problematic.  Approaches the "white kid comes in to solve the dark peoples' problems" trope.  IMO subverts rather than hits this, or perhaps sort of does both (though the books are still really about the white kid) but YMMV.
Terry Pratchett
Nation
Sherwood Smith
A Posse of Princesses
Suzanne Fisher Staples
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind
Shiva's Fire
Note: These made me uncomfortable as a kid, and I'd now say: seriously problematic.  Girls with oddly westernized values have to deal with their Misogynistic Cultures.  Even where I agree with the author, it still reads as cultural imperialism.
Susan Vaught
Stormwitch
Carole Wilkinson
The Dragon Keeper



Thoughts? Additions? Fixes? Cookies?
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Dichroicdichroic on July 3rd, 2009 06:40 am (UTC)
I was originally going to mention Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family series, on the grounds that if Jews aren't POC now, I think they were then (the books are set roughly 1910-18). But then I remembered those aren't fantasy either :-)

(Maybe I don't differentiate in my head. The All-of-a-Kind family's lives might not be all that far off some of my grandparents', but to me they still seem about as distant as any Nesbit heroine going off on adventures with a Psammead. I just recognize more details, that's all.)