Diversity in Fantasy Fiction
I have recently come across a few high school fantasy fiction novels. Unfortunately, I find it a rare occurrence when there is a diverse main character in fantasy novels. There has been an influx of new diverse main characters in many realistic novels and it seems like the fantasy genre is coming along slowly. I have listed a few options below that have realistic fantasy set into a diverse culture.
Koda thinks he is just the kid that wears a huge dorky helmet because of his narcolepsy until a very cute and mysterious classmate (who may also be a fox spirit) teaches him that his narcoleptic naps can steal the memories of nearby objects and people. When a string of suicides plagues his school and his town begins to fill with strange crows, Koda learns that his small town is under attack from a demon bent on revenge. His cute classmate urges him to find a memory that will let them know how to defeat the vengeful demon attacking their town. Koda is funny and makes light of his situation throughout the book but he is still determined to lift the curse hanging over his town’s history. This book is full of Japanese words, which can be confusing at first, but the way the sentences are used readers should be able to easily figure out the gist of the word’s definition. Japanese mythology is also a major aspect of this novel with spirits, demons, and samurais readers will be able to have their heads full of Japanese culture. While the protagonist is male, both girls and boys who are interested in Japanese culture will want to read this one.
The Monster on the Road Is Me by J.P. Romney. 9780374316549. Aug 2016. Gr 7-12.
Labyrinth Lost is full of Latin culture and mythology, Córdova actually created her own mythology based on many Latin American cultures. Alex lives in a home full of magic with her mother and two sisters who happily proclaim themselves bruja, but after a traumatic event happens when she is young she sees the dangerous side to her magic. On her Deathday celebration, when the spirits of her ancestors are supposed to grant her their blessing, Alex performs a cantos or spell to remove all of her magic instead. However, the spell goes terribly wrong and Alex banishes her entire family to Los Lagos, a limbo, where they are being tortured by an evil bruja. Alex makes it her mission to go to Los Lagos with a mysterious companion, Nova, to rescue her family and accept her abilities. This novel features a full cast of diverse characters and will have readers looking for the next book with a cliffhanger ending. Alex is also bisexual and there is a little love triangle between the mysterious Nova and her best friend, Rishi. This book was refreshing in experiencing a new culture in fantasy fiction that I have never read before.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova. 9781492620945. Sept 2016. Gr 9-12.
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