This Tumblr post comment said they'd love to read about a person like them. A deaf person. Of course, this made me go "YEAH!" because I would love to read a book about a deaf/blind/mute person, if done right. And it made me think more about diversity. It's great that so many people want it, but I wonder if the majority just wants it for race purposes. It's great to not have only white people as main characters. I instantly perk up at the mention of a POC (person of color) as a main character. However, I think it's important to also want other kinds of diversities. I hate to say disorders or disabilities in case I offend anyone, but they're the only accurate, general terms I can think of. Deafness, paralysis, blindness, muteness, loss of limbs (Soul Surfer, anyone? Or a military story!), phobias, diseases, illnesses. The list can go on. I could even say leprosy, although that is uncommon, but it's an issue that's rarely done. Instead of authors going down the well-beaten path, I'd like to see more exploring going on. Like another Tumblr post said, it's not about having a character that's exactly like the reader (that won't really happen). It's about having situations/stories/lives to relate to and feeling like others get it. Even if they're fictional, it feels like someone else understands your own story or situation.
I recently read and reviewed Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson (click on the title to be led to the review). It's a great example of this. The main character has anxiety issues and uses superstition to the extreme. Someone touches her, her family becomes permanently broken in her mind. It's a form of OCD, but not a type that many people are aware of since OCD is usually talked about in terms of cleaning and Monk.
If you need suggestions to diverse books, here's a website that can definitely help. And here's another list, but devoted to race. But I'd also like to applaud HarperTeen for doing a great job this year. They published Say What You Will, which dealt with physical and psychological issues (wheelchairs and more anxiety). In Falling Into Place, suicide was a main theme. Then, of course, in Don't Touch, OCD takes place. Different kind of "heroes" for different people is always good. I already appreciated and liked HarperTeen as is, but they gained much more from me this year.
And I'm not even saying that the aspect that makes the character diverse has to be the focus of the story (just like race shouldn't always be the focus in a story either). So authors, write characters with different traits. Maybe mention the fact that the love interest has only one hand. Or maybe the main character had a cutting issue in her past, but she's fine now. Or the main character is deaf. Or maybe the love interest is in a wheelchair. So many options, so little time, you know?
What books featuring diversity have you read and enjoyed? What would you like to read about?