I put together a bookshelf tour video for this week's post, but right now, it doesn't feel right to post it. Across the past few days, through social media, I've seen a fervor erupt in the U.S. like I've never seen before. This is largely inspired by the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by police in Minneapolis. However, there are a lot of larger factors at play: decades of police violence, the current coronavirus pandemic, an ever-widening wealth gap in the midst of yet another economic downtown, and all of this being borne most severely by marginalized groups and particularly Black people. It's not hard for me to understand why there have been such intense protests in so many cities across the country. Black people have had enough, and frankly, it is way past time for change.
I've always been most fascinated by humans; all our weird contradictory complexities, and yet history shows us that humans don't do a lot of changing. There is always a lot of violence and prejudice and horror being perpetrated by people, especially those in power. There is always a lot of resistance to any social movement. There is always a lot of selfishness. But some things do change, in bursts here and there, and I hope this might be one of those times. It's not easy to live amid chaos, but it's also not easy to live amid an accepted status quo where people are suffering. In both these cases, privilege protects a lot of people, including me. It's quiet where I live, in my life, almost all the time, and sometimes, that makes me forget how much societal and political terror so many others are living with. But social media provides me a broader view by giving me access to other people. It shows me the suffering that people like me, white people, need to recognize and accept responsibility for changing, and it helps me be understanding about behavior that might seem extreme if I didn't know how much injustice and death and pain has been happening.
As a speculative fiction writer, reader, and viewer, I have immersed myself in so many stories about morality, injustice, and revolution. I am not in any way alone there. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and other popular phenomena all include these themes. But I think too many of us see this as being limited to fiction, to the past, or to other countries. We fail to recognize the way they're affecting our own societies, especially those of us who are people of privilege living quiet lives. We have problems, yes, many of them deeply painful, but we aren't being hurt by society in such a consistent and structural way. So it's easy for us to turn away or condemn others and not realize that we're ignoring the very heroes that we cheered for when we saw them in a different setting. Protests and riots are a part of so many important pieces of progress that have been made in the world.
In February 2013, as an almost nineteen-year-old, I wrote a post where I described my dream for my future life when I would be around age thirty. Seven years later, a lot has changed, including my vision of what I'd like my future to be. So I thought I'd share a 2020 update of what I, twenty-six-year-old Kira, dream for my future! This future vision could happen really anytime, and I would be happy with it, so I won't be specific about what age I am here. Life happens on its own timeline, after all.
First, in line with the previous version, here's a terrible Paint drawing of my dream!
It took an unfortunate amount of time for me to find and read enough appropriate books to create a sizeable list here. Now, I have so many, I'm limiting this post to my 4.5+ star reads, instead of the usual 4+ stars! It is my pleasure to present recommended YA books that have central characters with disabilities in them. These disabilities do not include mental illnesses, which are instead represented in this list and in this list.
I hope you'll give these books a read and support their disability representation!
1) Neal Shusterman's Unwind Dystology. You already know how much I love this wild and brilliant YA sci-fi dystopian series about a future America where abortion is outlawed and replaced by the "unwinding" of unwanted teens for body parts. The first book doesn't have disability representation, but in later books, all four of the main characters have something going on. Connor gets a transplanted arm, Levi has permanently stunted growth, Risa is briefly paralyzed but then cured against her will, and my boy Camus has to "relearn" a variety of neuromuscular skills. (5-star average)
2) Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles. I've mentioned this series here a hundred times already, but somehow, it keeps fitting with my post themes! In this futuristic YA sci-fi retelling of four different fairytales, one of the main characters, Cinder, has various cybernetic parts, including a prosthetic leg, while a different main character, Cress, lives with a much maligned fictional disability. One of the love interests, Wolf, has to deal with the lifelong results of human experimentation, and a different love interest, Thorne, is stricken with a temporary blindness. (There's also a main character, Winter, with hallucinations. This book has it all!) (4.75-star average)
Now that we're in May (how wild), it's time for a life update! You can review April's update here.
Reading: Reverie by Ryan La Sala
Writing: #SnowQueenStory, on page 54
Editing: my blog archives, at October 2014
Working: most recently on a book description
Watching: The Half of It on Netflix
Playing: Hogwarts Mystery on a brand new save file because I decided to delete my Facebook
Earworming: the main theme from Us
Bookmarking: some websites about flower language
Following: most recently on Twitter, Joanna No Banana
Wearing: a navy tank top dress and black shrug with white pearl earrings
Eating: too many Chips Ahoy
Smelling: almond sugar lip balm
Hearing: my youngest brother thundering around
Welcome, everyone, to the latest installment of On This Day in My History! As usual, I will be going through my many diaries (which begin in November 1999) to see what has happened on May 2nd throughout my life so far. I will then provide a summary here.
No May 2nd entry in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005.
May 2, 2006, Twelve Years Old (Sixth Grade)
Today, one of my friends was absent from school. We did the shuttle run test in P.E., and as usual, I did not do great on it. In language arts class, we played Kid Biz and talked about Greek mythology, which was one of my favorite topics. We sixth graders then got some information about a ROPES trip we were going on the next day. In GATE class, my publishing mentor told me she was impressed with #IceEnchantressStory! I also drew some pictures of my cat in my diary. .
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