Today’s theme at the Broke and the Bookish is 10 Books that Celebrate Diversity.  I’ve been writing a lot about this topic this year and recommending a lot of books written by authors of color.  For this post I decided to focus on a different area of diversity.
Books Featuring Main Characters with Physical or Mental Diversity,


A Time to DanceA Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who’s grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again, taking beginner classes with the youngest dancers. Then Veda meets Govinda, a young man who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As their relationship deepens, Veda reconnects with the world around her, and begins to discover who she is and what dance truly means to her.

My review here.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow BlyThe Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes


The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

My review here.
Hammered (Jenny Casey, #1)Hammered by Elizabeth Bear


Once Jenny Casey was somebody’s daughter. Once she was somebody’s enemy. Now the former Canadian special forces warrior lives on the hellish streets of Hartford, Connecticut, in the year 2062. Racked with pain, hiding from the government she served, running with a crime lord so she can save a life or two, Jenny is a month shy of fifty, and her artificially reconstructed body has started to unravel.

I haven’t read this one yet. I couldn’t be a good sci-fi/fantasy fan though without mentioning cyborgs though. Cinder would fit into this category too.

The IslandThe Island by Victoria Hislop

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion.

My review here.


Almost PerfectAlmost Perfect by Diane Daniels Manning

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Bess meets Benny, a teenager with mild autism who attends a therapeutic special school, and learns he has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. Benny is drawn into the world of dog shows and becomes convinced he has found the perfect way to win his mother’s attention. If he can win Westminster with either McCreery or Breaker, he just knows she will finally be proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy. . .

My review here.

Noah's WifeNoah’s Wife by T.K. Thorne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


ForeWord Review’s BOOK OF THE YEAR for Historical Fiction (2009) Noah built an ark, but this story has never been told! Noah’s wife is Na’amah, a brilliant young girl with a form of autism (now known as Aspergers). Na’amah wishes only to be a shepherdess on her beloved hills in ancient Turkey–a desire shattered by the hatred of her powerful brother, the love of two men, and a disaster that threatens her world.

My review here.


Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much MoreRedefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.

My review here.


None of the AboveNone of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

My review here.

Female Genital Mutilation

Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert NomadDesert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad by Waris Dirie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Waris Dirie ran away from her oppressive life in the African desert when she was barely in her teens, illiterate and impoverished, with nothing to her name but a tattered shawl. She traveled alone across the dangerous Somali desert to Mogadishu—the first leg of a remarkable journey that would take her to London, where she worked as a house servant; then to nearly every corner of the globe as an internationally renowned fashion model; and ultimately to New York City, where she became a human rights ambassador for the U.N.

My review here.


Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star BallerinaTaking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The extraordinary memoir of Michaela DePrince, a young dancer who escaped war-torn Sierra Leone for the rarefied heights of American ballet.
Michaela DePrince was known as girl Number 27 at the orphanage, where she was abandoned at a young age and tormented as a “devil child” for a skin condition that makes her skin appear spotted.

My review here.

In compiling this list I realized that I don’t have any books with either blind or deaf main characters.  I’ve read books with blind supporting characters like The Fault In Our Stars and the Alpha and Omega series and all manner of blind seers popping up in fantasy books but no main characters.  Any suggestions?

What other books with physically or mentally diverse main characters do you recommend?

19 Replies to “Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters”

  1. What a unique look at the topic of diversity. I have not read any of these books so thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday linkup. Pinned to our linkup board too.

  2. None of the Above and Minnow Bly were both fantastic! I am going to have to check out some of the other books on your list for sure. Thanks for sharing them, this is a fabulous list!

  3. I so want to read None of the Above! I read a TON of books with mental and physical disabilities and afjsdkla they’re so good and I love them. I totally recommend All the Bright Places (which is a YA about bipolar) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (which is a YA about a boy with Aspergers). 😀
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

  4. What an interesting list! I was looking forward to this topic to get some book ideas:)! Hammered and A Time to Dance look particularly up my alley.

  5. Thanks for this list! I added a few to my TBR and I’m especially excited about Minnow Bly! None of the Above is the only one on this list I’ve read but it was a good read and one that I will be recommending to anyone who will list. Great list!

    Amanda @ i solemnly swear

  6. This is a great list! I haven’t read any of the books you mention, but several have caught my eye and I will definitely be looking into. Particularly Desert Flower.

    1. Desert Flower was intriguing because as a child she begged to have the procedure done because it made you grown up. Now she fights against it.

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