Halloween Makes Us Think Of ... Diversity In Romance!
Once upon a time, when I was just out of college, I worked in a magical place called the Washington International School. The old Lower School building was a former D.C. public school on Olive Street in Georgetown, drafty and problematic, but full of character — and full of children from all over the world.
Halloween at WIS was an international gift: Students were invited to come to school in either costume or traditional dress, and midmorning, they'd all line up in a gigantic mass on the playground and parade around the block. It was a delightful sight, and possibly the only place on the planet where you might see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers queued up behind tiny kindergartners in jewel-toned Indian saris, Nigerian agbadas and Japanese kimonos. Beautiful and fun, in the singular way that young children celebrate who they are and what they love before anyone teaches them to be self-conscious about it.
Born in the international crossroads of El Paso, Texas, I went on to study international relations in college, found Olive Street and traveled extensively. Diversity in all things has always been important to me, and diversity in fiction is a concept that I am happy to see gaining steam. Seeing someone who looks like you reflected in the pages of a book as a fully rendered, three-dimensional character can be powerful and transformational. And I, of course, believe these characters — in particular these female characters — show up most often in romance novels.
So in honor of the growing diversity in the romance industry — and those little kids in their kimonos and agbadas, here are a few of my favorite diverse romances.
Diverse romances follow many paths beyond race and ethnicity, and I know I'm missing huge swathes here — for a deeper discussion and lots of great reads, check out and . I'd also like to mention that October saw the launch of a wonderful website, . Loosely modeled after Read-A-Romance Month, QRM is full of essays that highlight the importance of LGBTQ romances.
Bobbi Dumas is a freelance writer based in Madison, Wis. She mostly reviews for Kirkus Media, and she discusses books on her blog ReadWriteLove.net.
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