Challenged Accepted: Read Harder 2017
2017 is here and a new year means new year resolutions and challenges. One reading challenge that I love to do is Book Riot's Read Harder challenge. Instead of having people focus on a specific number of books, Read Harder challenges people to read different genres or authors that they may overlook. This year, there are 24 prompts for readers. This read feed will address the nineteenth challenge, to read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey. Defining a spiritual journey is complicated, but for my purposes I defined it as a protagonist realizing something about themselves or making a change to how they interact with the world. A complete list of challenges can be found here.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Gene Luen Yang's first graphic novel is a story about Jin Wang, a boy who is desperate to fit in. When his family moves to a new neighborhood Jin realizes that he is the only Chinese American student in his almost all-white school, and is teased for it by bullies. As the bullying feeds into his self-doubts about what it means to be an American, Jin is taken on a journey that involves a god and confronting stereotypes.
Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (YA)
After the death of his mother, Matt is left driftless and his father is doing no better. So when the neighborhood funeral director gives Matt a chance to do something, he takes it. It's better than working in the chicken shack in his neighborhood. As Matt has to deal with death as a part of his job, he starts to process his own pain about his mother's death and get back out there into the world of the living.
Buddha by Osamu Tezuka
A manga history of the Buddha, Osamu Tezuka takes what little biographical information we have about the Buddha and blends it with his imagination to try and give us a history of one of the most inspirational figures in human history. However Tezuka also finds time in his eight volume epic to find moments of comedy and lightness.
Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina (YA)
Sonia Ocampo was born on the stormiest night Tres Montes had ever seen, which stopped as soon as she came into the world. The townspeople believe that she is touched with powers, and begin to come to her seeking advice Sonia feels trapped, because she doesn't believe that she has powers- only that she was lucky. As Sonia escapes her town and reputation she begins to realize the ways that fate can intervene in someone's life.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
After a cargo boat sinks, the only lifeboat holds its only survivors: a sixteen year old boy named Pi, a zebra, hyena, an orangutan, and a 450-lb Bengal tiger. What could possibly go wrong? A story about survival, strength, and faith speaks to the fortitude that people can have even in the most unthinkable circumstances.
The Return by Hisham Matar
When the Gaddafi regime fell in 2011, Hisham Matar was given an opportunity to return to the country he fled as a child. The fall of the regime meant a lot of things for Matar and his family, but one of those things was the possibility that they would be reunited with their patriarch, Jaballa, who was kidnapped in 1990. Though family and several militia have searched, there is no sign of his father or what may have happened. Matar describes the pain of not knowing- not knowing what happened and not knowing the country that you call your own.
Did you read something else for this challenge? Share it with us on Twitter by using #readharderdcpl!