Diverse Reading Challenge – 2018


Sponsored by Platypire Reviews  this is a challenge that focuses on diversity -as defined by We Need Diverse Books

We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.
*We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction). Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization.

Each month will be “focused’ on a specific diversity topic – but all are welcome at any time – with a few caveats

January has been replaced with biracial awareness

LGBT pride month will take place in both June and July and will consist of a mini challenge to encourage reading of the different letters within the spectrum

March will be the only month that’s non-fiction only, and will be for books about or written by women.

The Topics by Month 

JANUARY – Biracial Awareness
FEBRUARY – Black History Month
MARCH – Woman History Month – non-fiction titles
APRIL – Arab Heritage Month
MAY – Asian/Pacific Islander History Month
​JUNE – LGBT Pride Summer
JULY – LGBT Pride Summer
AUGUST – Mental Health Awareness
SEPTEMBER – Hispanic History Month
OCTOBER – Physical Disability Awareness Month
NOVEMBER – Native American History Month
​DECEMBER – Religious Minorities

I’ll be tracking my progress below 



  1. It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian  ~ LGBTQ
  2. Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi ~ Arab Heritage
  3. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory ~ Interracial
  4. Where The Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine ~ Physical Disabilities
  5. We Were Strangers Once by Betsy Carter ~ Religious Minorities
  6. Promise by Minrose Gwin ~ Black History
  7. Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik ~ Arab Heritage
  8. A Cuddly Toy by Layla Wolfe  ~ LGBTQ
  9. Bachelor Girl by Kim van Alkemade ~ LGBTQ, Woman’s History
  10. A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole ~ Biracial Awareness
  11. Land For Fatimah by Veena Gokhale ~ Black History
  12. Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese ~ Native American
  13. Pretending He’s Mine by Mia Sosa ~ Biracial Awareness
  14. Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian  ~ LGBTQ, Non-Binary
  15. Moon Brow by Shahriar Mandanipour –  Arab Heritage
  16. The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar – Arab Heritage, Assimilation
  17. Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau  – Black History, Caribbean Islands
  18. The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi  – Arab Heritage
  19. Sand by Wolfgang Herndorf  – Religious Minorities, Arab Heritage
  20. The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar – Asian / Pacific Islander
  21. A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian – LGBTQ
  22. Secrets, Lies and Crawfish Pies by Abby L. Vandiver – Black History/ African American
  23. America for Beginners by Leah Franqui – Religious Minorities
  24. Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li – Asian / Pacific Islander
  25. A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole – Black History, African, Biracial
  26. The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles  – LGBTQ, Hispanic
  27. From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon – Asian / Pacific Islander
  28. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird – Black History
  29. The Pasha of Cuisine by Saygın Ersin  – Arab Heritage
  30. Breakfast in Bed by Rochelle Alers – Black History, African American
  31. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren – Asian, Biracial Awareness
  32. A Curious Matter of Men with Wings by F. Rutledge Hammes – Native American
  33. What We Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde – Arab Heritage
  34. Amreekiya: A Novel by Lena Mahmoud  – Arab Heritage, Assimilation
  35. Secret Passages in a Hillside Town by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen  – Mental Health, Finnish Stories

I’ve kind of gone off the rails here. It is possible to make the argument that every book you read is diverse in the sense that the author and you have not shared the same life experiences, gained the same knowledge, or approach situations quite as you would. But I made a concerted effort this year to read and review titles that were WHOLLY different from my (and many western) perspectives, encompassing stories from the Arab World, Europe, Turkey, Asia and even the backwoods of the south. Each book in my list of reads provides characters and perspectives that can (and should) reveal more similarities in our differences, and bring the ‘mysteries’ of that person who looks, sounds or behaves so differently from us. From religious differences to cultural norms, histories, folklore and even detailing the rich sense of what it means to be ____, each of the titles below bring the exotic into reach and have served to encourage me to delve deeper, read more and be aware of the futility of ‘us versus them’ when I see that, at the core, every human on the planet is searching for the same things.

That being said, I’ve managed to bring thirty-five titles onto my shelves that I may not have originally sought out, or put in the never-ending shelf of books owned but not yet read. I’m calling this a challenge win, even as it doesn’t strictly follow the guidelines.