I was recently thinking about all the different ways that I am represented in fiction and was thinking about how few biracial or multi-racial characters I see. So while I planned on originally doing books that feature Adopted characters, I couldn’t find as many. For this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the lovely Broke and Bookish, I am doing multi-racial characters.
But to be clear, there aren’t necessarily that many here either! I don’t mean also characters where their struggle as such doesn’t interact with their character. They have to have a meaningful discussion or have their identity shaped in some way. So let’s begin with my very small list which is a) I am totally overworked and my brain is just absent and b) there aren’t that many besides these standouts. It’s also great timing that I’ve actually already reviewed all of these beauties.
Starfish is THE book that inspired this whole post. So if you read only one of these entries. Read this one. It is an amazingly nuanced discussion of what it means be to bi-racial in the family. Each of the characters, family siblings, deal with it in different ways, but Kiko’s exploration of identity just meant everything to me as a multi-racial person. It is intricate and complex and impacts her life in so many different ways. There were great discussions about the subtle and not so subtle racism as well.
This book is also such a great addition to the list which I read almost directly afterwards. But what it does, is brings the discussion to a multi-generational and adult level. This book looks at the way race is seen in society – from immigration to assimilation – and the prejudices with multi-racial. There was one specific conversation that just hit me where this young girl is so tired of being pulled either way by her family sides, that she just yells: I am both. And that’s when this book bewitched my heart.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
In this case, Percy is bi-racial. His father is supposed to have had an affair when he was across the seas and while his mother has passed away, he was brought back to Europe. But because of this, he has mixed heritage and the one that is the most expressed stems from his mother. A lot of people, because this is a historical fiction piece, think he is either a reformed slave or a free slave. And it’s not glossed over at all. Not only that, but Percy and Monty, his white friend, have many conversations about the privilege Monty has because he is white. So it’s just an amazing book – and the entire thing has me over the moon.
I know that’s a totally short list, but these were my stand outs. Any ones I’m missing or need to read right now??
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