Did you hear about the students and parents in Pennsylvania who banded together to pressure a school board into overturning a ban on books, most of which were written by Black and Brown authors? I looked over the very long list, and then I read the rationale behind the ban.
The board believes that the fundamental purpose of school is that of core academics, objective education without indoctrination from any political or social agenda…
The racism really jumps out. One thing that struck me, among other things, was that the members of the board could not conceive of a world that isn’t centered in whiteness. Anything else must be propaganda. Maybe if we could give the board a mandatory reading assignment, they could imagine a world in which Black and Brown children, families, and communities matter. I dusted off my Fiction Helps Us Imagine a Better World™ soapbox and found the perfect topic for a comment diversion:
What Books Sparked Your Imagination?
Any work of fiction, in any genre, no matter how light and fluffy can make us think about the world a little differently, a little more inclusively, and broaden our perspective. This year I’ve read a few, for example:
- P. Djèlí Clark‘s alternate universe Dead Djinn series imagines a past in which magic returned to the world and threw the colonizers out of Africa and Asia.
- Beverly Jenkins‘ Wild Rain, like all of her historical romances, shows Black characters building families and thriving communities in a time where they are largely erased from the narrative.
- E.E. Ottoman‘s The Companion, a sweet polyamorous trans romance, challenges heteronormative ideas about who gets a happy ending and also shows people creating a safe place to live and love as they are.
Tell us in the comments – which books, however serious or light they may have been, led you to imagine the world being a better place?