Diversity is important in fiction, particularly for Young Adult fiction. I think it’s important for students to find themselves in the pages of the books they read. If an author isn’t careful, she or he may limit themselves to their own ethnicity. But we need to utilize the diversity of the real world. Or if you’re writing a space opera, the diversity of alien life. 🙂
I want to recommend a post written by an acquaintance of mine, Gretchen E. K. Engel, entitled “Richly Colored.”
She very kindly mentions my books in her examples:
As for speculative fiction, science fiction and fantasy can be a great place to explore race, culture, religion, country identity, and every other demographic. Right now I’m reading Kathrese McKee’s novella, The Healer’s Curse. It’s heroine is black but because it’s set in a different world, she’s able to explore cultural, racial, and political differences without the framework of 21st century America. It’s a prequel to Mardan’s Mark, which has an equally diverse cast and both are set during a time of two kingdoms on the brink of war.
When I wrote the first draft of the first book, my oldest daughter complained that it was “white-washed.” And she was right! True, Linus was always black, but the rest were kind of pasty. Upon reflection, I made a conscious effort to reflect the spectrum of my personal family within my stories. We include a wide gamut of skin hues.