Diversity and Inclusion - Accessit Book Club
“I can imagine nothing more terrifying than an Eternity filled with men who were all the same. The only thing which has made life bearable…has been the diversity of creatures on the surface of the globe.”
― T.H. White
Stories can transform people and they can connect people. Our societies are beautifully diverse – we have people of different races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, socio-economic backgrounds, ages, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs and ideologies. Being different from our peers can feel isolating, but stories help us to see our similarities and empathise with those who are different from ourselves.
Having access to diverse stories through a range of mediums during the COVID-19 lockdown will help students feel connected. Two of our library-trained staff have put together a collection of reads for all ages, based on the themes of diversity and inclusion. Enjoy!
A brilliant member of the Red Eye series of horror books, The Haunting turns up the fear factor with a kickass heroine in a wheelchair who doesn’t let her reduced mobility define or hinder her. Check out Alex Bell’s website.
This multi-award winning thriller features main character Jemma who is non-verbal and has cerebral palsy. When her sister’s boyfriend cheerfully confesses a murder to her in the first few pages thinking she has no voice or brains, she knows she has to do something. Read more about Penny’s books on her website including her latest inclusive offering, The Girl in the Window.
Juno Dawson’s All of the Above is an excellent YA read that deals with moving to a new 6th form college, LGBTQ+ issues, eating disorders and mental health. A real page-turning piece of contemporary fiction done well.
One tells the story of 16 year old conjoined twins, Grace and Tippi, who make the move from being homeschooled to school, deal with making new friends, first love, and an operation that will change their lives forever. Beautifully written in free verse, it’s a must for any library if it isn’t already on your shelves.
Winner of the Stonewall Award and longlisted for the 2020 Carnegie award, The Black Flamingo is another free-verse novel with pages gorgeously illustrated by Anshika Khullar, telling the story of Michael, a mixed-race gay teen who finds his true self as a drag artist at University.
A lovely story aimed at 9-12 year olds, following the friendship of an often misunderstood Jaz, and refugee Nadima, who arrives at school with no friends and very limited English. The girls communicate through emojis while Nadima learns the language, and although there are mishaps along the way, this is a feelgood contemporary story that tackles the issues of identity, home and integration.
Paralympian Ade Adepitan’s first foray into children’s fiction. Rise of the Parson’s Road Gang is the start of a new series loosely based on his experience of moving from Nigeria to London in the 80s as a disabled black child. A great adventure filled with acceptance, inclusion and friendship.
Another absolute winner written by critically acclaimed author Muhammad Khan and illustrated by Amrit Birdi, Kick the Moon follows Ilyas as he tries to deal with GCSEs, pressure to join the family business, toxic masculinity and friendship.
Sophie Kinsella’s first book for younger readers is a riot. Hilarious from the first page, and gently uncovering topics of mental health, anxiety, family and first love, this could easily be loaned to strong readers from 12+.
Nine year old Ahmet arrives in the lives of the narrator and her friends suddenly, a refugee from Syria. An award winning book that encourages friendship, understanding and empathy. Onjali Q Rauf’s second book, The Star Outside my Window, is also a valuable addition to your catalogue.
Written and illustrated by Eva Eland, this beautiful picture book sensitively looks at sadness, the impact it has on our lives, and how we deal with it.
Even though Mum works really hard, there isn’t always money for food at home. It’s a No-Money Day gives us a glimpse into the life of the many families who rely on food banks to keep everyone fed.
A hilarious series of books in the vein of Tom Gates, Omar is a cheeky and lovable main character you’ll love to share. Illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik, Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet is the first in a new series that should be in all libraries.
A rip-roaring comedy adventure! Humza Khan, AKA Little Badman, is the best rapper in his town (and 11 years old). Life would be great, except for the fact that all the teachers are disappearing and the Aunties are taking over… Along with his friends Umer and Wendy, Humza’s up to saving the day.
BB is overweight and body positive. Her mum insists she go to the gym and keep a food diary, which transitions into a real diary. A funny, warm book about self-esteem, confidence and being yourself.
Harrison Opoku is 11, and recently arrived in England from Ghana. This book is written from Harri’s wonderfully naive perspective, and in his lovely pidgin English, but don’t let that deceive you – it packs an absolute punch. Opening up issues like immigration and gang warfare, Pidgeon English will stay with you long after you finish.
We couldn’t have a list about diverse and inclusive fiction and not include this classic. With its recent adaptation, Noughts and Crosses is once again in the spotlight as an eye-opening book that should be read by everyone. Dealing with themes of racism, gang violence, segregation and love, it doesn’t shy away from gritty subjects, and nor should it.
David’s got a secret: he should have been born a girl. Leo’s just started at David’s school and has a secret of his own – one he never wants to get out. When he stands up for David in a fight and the two become friends, can their secrets stay that way? The Art of Being Normal deals with trans rights, LGBTQ+ issues, bullying and friendship.
Rukhsana has only got a few months to go until she can escape her conservative Muslim family and move to Caltech – that is until she gets caught kissing her girlfriend and her family ships her off to Bangladesh and derails her life. LGBTQ+ issues merge with culture and identity.
(Not published until July 7, 2020)
Told 200 years after Cinderella has died, we see a society where girls are presented at the royal ball to potential husbands, and girls who are not chosen are never heard from again. Sophia would rather marry her best friend Erin, and flees, vowing to take down the King and learn the true story behind Cinderella’s tale.
(Not published until April 2020)
A Palestinian American woman wrestles with faith, loss, and identity before coming face to face with a school shooter, as the principal of a Muslim girls’ school. We learn of the bigotry she faced as a child and her tough family dynamic growing up in America as a first generation citizen.
Young mother Emoni struggles with balancing a baby, school and her dreams of being a chef. She is talented, but circumstance makes achieving her goals difficult.
A horrifying ‘What if?’ set in the not-to-distant future of Islamaphobia at its worst, where Muslim-American citizens are forced into internment camps.
From the author of Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda, we get to know Leah better, through her journey of bisexuality, friendships and rock and roll.
Historical fiction with Zombies. Set after the battle of Gettysburg, the dead begin to walk the battlefields, and the Native and Negro Reeducation Act requires certain children to attend combat schools in order to keep everyone else safe.
This story follows transgender student, Gabe, as he navigates the final years of high school, and the negative and positive attitudes of those around him. We see him blossom through his radio show, and the anonymity that gives him his voice.
Ava Lee loses her parents, her best friend and her home in a fire. A year on, she’s forced to go back to school. Seen only as the ‘Burned Girl’, she makes a friend in a fellow survivor who is fighting her own battles.
After turning to food to numb the pain of a missing sister in Iraq, Angie finally has to return to school. Bullied relentlessly, she makes a new friend in a recent transfer student.
Told in prose form, we hear the true story of a refugee family who flees to America after the Vietnam war.
Accessit Library – easy access to resources from home
Now, more than ever, it’s important for young people to feel connected to one another. Your students can access any type of digital resource through the Accessit Library Web App: eBooks, audio books, video clips, images, websites, and link directly to your subscription-based online content providers. Take the pressure off learning at home by providing easy access to a wide variety of literature and digital resources. Contact us to learn more.
Title image: Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
Book cover images from: