Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly book-meme hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist. I’m sharing things I wish I could find more of in books for kids, tweens and teens. Sadly there are still so many gaps in the literature available for young people, but hopefully with time we’ll be able to find more books like these on our shelves and in our libraries. This list is just the tip of the iceberg, though, and there are many more gaps that still need to be filled, beyond these ten!
1. Transgendered boys in middle grade fiction. Transgendered girls dominate the current available literature (think George, Gracefully Grayson, If I Was Your Girl) and it can be a struggle to find books featuring male characters.
2. Sex-positive, queer-focused informational nonfiction for tweens. Queer young people need reliable, respectful sex education, especially when they cannot or would prefer not to turn to family members for information.
3. Positive portrayals of life with a mental illness. Many people in our society live healthy, successful lives with a mental illness, and their stories deserve to be told and celebrated!
4. Picture books with mixed-culture or mixed-race families, especially with Asian characters. Many of my friends have married partners from different backgrounds, and their children need to see families like theirs celebrated in the books they read together.
5. Happy, positive, romantic stories for queer youth. Guess what! Being queer isn’t just about coming out! Queer people fall in love and have happily-ever-after stories too, so why not share those stories?
6. Happy, positive, romantic stories for disabled youth. Guess what again! Disabled people fall in love, too! They flirt, they date, they even have sex! Being in a wheelchair, being visually or hearing impaired, or having any other disability doesn’t have to mean being sexless or loveless, and this reality needs to be celebrated.
7. Body positivity. All young people should be encouraged to be the healthiest, happiest, most confident versions of themselves they can be. They need role models who exemplify healthy body confidence, and who show that healthy, happy bodies can come in all shapes and sizes!
8. Books featuring non-traditional family units. Many of the children in my programs come from non-traditional families, with single parents, divorced parents, foster parents, and grandparents acting as primary caregivers. I’d love to see more stories that showcase families like these in natural, everyday ways – stories that aren’t necessarily about being raised by your grandparents, but which just feature kids who do live that way.
9. Stories that challenge male gender conventions. Girls are often encouraged to challenge gender stereotypes, but boys also need this kind of support. Boys need to be shown that it’s OK to be sensitive, that being gentle or respectful is not a sign of weakness, that there’s no shame in being interested in so-called “girly” things or activities, and that being a strong man doesn’t have to mean being “macho”.
10. Bilingual picture books in Indigenous languages. There are a few fantastic bilingual picture books available in indigenous languages, but there’s still such a lack of resources available, and a real need for indigenous language representation in picture books.
What do you think of my list? What would you add? Do you know of any great books that I should check out that fit the needs on my list? Let me know in the comments below!