PRESS: “Young Adult Fiction Novels Have Yet to Achieve Proper Racial Representation,” The Post

I am happy to be a part of another article by Mae Yen Yap, who interviewed me about diversity and race in YA fiction and children’s literature for The Post:

“Young Adult Fiction Novels Have Yet to Achieve Proper Racial Representation”
Mae Yen Yap
November 12, 2017

When black actress Noma Dumezweni was cast as Hermione Granger in the 2016 play The Cursed Child, which takes place in the Harry Potter universe, the announcement was met with mixed reception.

Hermione was portrayed by white actress Emma Watson throughout the Harry Potter film series, and the unexpected change of the character’s race led upset fans to voice their criticisms against the casting choice on social media.

However, author J.K. Rowling commented on Twitter regarding the situation, supporting Dumezweni and later followed up with a tweet stating she had never specified Hermione’s racial background throughout the books.

“If J.K. Rowling was OK with how they portrayed her, I don’t see why it would be bad,” Emma Kane, a junior studying Spanish, said.

The publishing industry in the U.S. has grown over the years. In a 2017 report by Research and Markets, the industry was reported to have grown to more than 2,600 publishing houses, and its annual revenue is roughly $25 billion, due in large part to the increased interest in paperback children’s and young adult novels.

The racial representation within those books has yet to catch up to the growth of the industry. There is a belief that society automatically defaults a character to be straight, white, able-bodied and heterosexual.

“If you look at print media like books and stuff … television, movies (or) video games, there is a very slow incremental move toward inclusion and diversity,” Edmond Chang, an assistant professor of English, said. “But the numbers still aren’t very good.”

Read the full article here:

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