Trending in Color

We hear a lot about what’s trending in YA lit (can you say DYSTOPIA?) but what’s trending when it comes to books with POC as main characters or books written by authors of color? What are you seeing that you haven’t read before? What seems to be repeating?


This is what I’m noticing, please feel free to add to the discussing because I know there are things going on that I’m not seeing.



  • Authors of color are no longer focusing on race as the main issue in books which feature characters of color. This really started a few years ago but people now seem to be noticing.
  • It seems there are fewer YA books written  published this year that were written by Native American, Asian or Middle Eastern authors.
  • Books by authors of color are being published in a wider variety of genre. While more authors of color are publishing speculative fiction, I can’t say I’ve seen any write publish dystopian books. They’re left out of this loop.
  • I’m not seeing an increase in the numbers of books written by authors of color. In fact, the numbers are pretty much the same as the previous year’s, as if the quota gets met every year.
  • More books are being written with multicultural casts. I’ve even considered writing a post on this. From Drama High to Divergent and yes, even the Hunger Games we’re seeing books written that reflect the real world. While some authors are just painting color on a face, others write to reflect what they experience in real life.
  • While I see more YA books getting trailers and graphic novels based on the original, I see this happening to very few books by authors of color.  And movies??

I have a few questions with regards to trends that I think really address the literacy skills we want to develop in our YAs.

  • I’d like to know how likely YAs are to read books with main characters outside their own ethnic group. I’m in a 96% Black school, so I don’t know what others are doing. I know my students read a wide variety of books.
  • Are YAs of color engaging with ereaders? book apps? audiobooks? Or, or they mainly reading print?
  • Are YAs of color encouraged to write and publish their own stories, poems or graphic novels?
  • Are YAs of color picking up non-fiction? The new common core standards are shifting reading materials to a heavy reliance on non-fiction. Are our students willing to read these sources for enjoyment as well as for information?
  • Do YAs of color request books they want from libraries and bookstores or do they just pick up what’s on the shelf?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this including anecdotal evidence or more questions.


4 thoughts on “Trending in Color

  1. Edi these are some great questions. I loved that you crossed out written and replaced it with published. It’s very easy to follows the trends of YA authors of color, since there aren’t that many. If my numbers were correct 103 authors of color were published in 2011. I think its going to stay right around 100 again this year.


  2. I’m currently writing a paranormal ya novel that features characters of color. I’ve had some similar questions as the ones you have above. I read a great deal of ya being a ya librarian, but sometimes I do wish some main characters were representative of people of color as well, especially on the covers.

    Off topic question, aside from possibly bad editing, I wonder why you don’t review self published books?


  3. For sure it’s not that the books aren’t being written as much as it is that they’re not being publishing. I just saw on someone’s FB page that Tu Publishing is coming out with a multicultural dystopian short story collection this fall. Perhaps they’ll be publishing some dystopian novels in addition to the paranormal and speculative fiction soon?
    Nicola, I think you have to seek out the books with colors of character. When they’re in the books, they’re usually (not always!) on the covers.


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