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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Diversity in YA: Guest Post w/ Cindy Pon + Giveaway!

Diversity in YA Fiction is a website and book tour founded by two young adult authors, Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon, to celebrate diverse stories in YA.


Today, I am really honored to be featuring Cindy Pon, author of Fury of the Phoenix and Huntress. Authors like her, represent not only Asian characters but, diversity in general. Even though, I am not Asian, I might have been in my other life, I'm sure you've noticed my 'Korean Pop Addict' icons below my About Me section hehe. What I am trying to say is, I really love when main characters come from diverse cultures. It's boring reading about the same backgrounds all the time, so when a character brings excitement to my eyes, I am all for it! On top of that, I might even learn something new in the process.

Show your love and support for the lovely and talented Cindy Pon, her guest post is definitely a must read! Plus, one person just might win one YA book that embodies the diverse celebration by entering the giveaway below as well!
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Where Have the Brown Hobbits Gone?

Fantasy has always been a favorite genre of mine, but it wasn't until I decided to write Silver Phoenix that I realized I had never read a book as a child that featured a hero (or even a side character) that looked like me. Many readers say that ethnicity doesn't matter when it comes to a good story, that a reader can identify with a well written protagonist no matter what. And this is very true. I grew up loving and being there with Sara Crewe from A Little Princess, tried out for dancing parts along with Hilary and Rachel in London in Dancing Shoes, rode on a winged horse with Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time. So... why couldn't a reader relate just as easily to a heroine in a story set in China... or Nigeria? As long as the story was well told? Because stories do matter, and played such a crucial part in my own youth. But somehow, even though I had been writing stories since I was an early teen, I could never allow myself to write a full Asian character until I created Ai Ling in Silver Phoenix--when I was Thirty-three!

It is wonderful to see other worlds and people and cultures in stories, and it is also a validation when you see characters and cultures like your own. I think it's especially important to have this reflected for children and teen readers today, because the world is only getting smaller, and there are so many different stories to tell.

Malinda Lo and I started the Diversity Tour when we realized our second novels Huntress and Fury of the Phoenix (both Asian inspired young adult fantasies) would be releasing close to one another. We really felt it was a reason to celebrate diversity in young adult and middle grade books. We decided to invite other awesome authors to join us in various cities for panels/signings and after over six months of planning, it's finally happening! We're kicking it off in San Francisco, then headed for Austin, Chicago, Boston and New York City. And we'd love for you to join us! Not only do we want to celebrate and talk about great books, but we're hoping this will help generate dialogue among readers and writers alike, about being more inclusive in our reading and writing. We think the time is right for this discussion!

Please check out the tour stops and authors attending here:

Visit Cindy's website:

Thank you to Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo for continually striving to educate YA readers to the diversity we all need in our lives. Also, thank you to Tooraj from TKPublicRelations for setting up these blogger posts.
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Diversity in YA Giveaway:

-One person will win a randomly picked book from the selected authors below:
  • Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle by Deva Fagan
  • White Cat by Holly Black
  • Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon
  • Truth with a Capital T by Bethany Hedgedus
  • The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan
  • Stork the Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X
  • Level Up by Gene Luen Yang
  • Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
  • If You Come Softly & Behind You by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Huntress by Malinda Lo
-Contest is open to US residents only.
-Deadline ends on May 20, 2011.

CONTEST IS CLOSED.

4 comments:

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

If I hadn't read and loved :c: all of these books, I'd SO enter right now. Great giveaway!!

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

I love this event! It raises really important issues, and I'm so glad to see this kind of awareness being raised! Great guest post, and thank you for the giveaway! I'm excited to read all the books mentioned =) I've also heard really amazing things about Huntress.

gaby317 said...

Thanks so much - it's such a generous contest and a topic close to my heart. I remember when I first read about Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix. It made me so happy to find a fantasy novel with a young girl in Ancient China as the lead character. Then, reading the book, I loved the way that she melded together what must have been Chinese culture with fantasy. : )

kaye (paper reader) said...

Thanks for posting this - it's a great topic being raised. Books are a great way to raise cultural awareness and interest and the more the merrier! I can see my goodreads list getting longer and longer.

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