Over the past couple years, the #DiverseReads movement has gained momentum and people have become aware of reading books that are different from cis straight white characters. Because, this world is a huge place and there are many different people here that are not straight or white. They have been poorly represented in media for a long time and that has taken its toll.
Desis are an example of such oppressed voices. We have not been represented in a good light in the western media, but, thankfully, that has changed in the last few years and with emerging authors such as Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon, Tara Sim, Dhonielle Clayton, Sabaa Tahir etc, hopefully, people will see us in a better light.
The purpose of this discussion event is to make others aware of the lush, beautiful desi culture and to tell them more about us. So, for the next few days, my absolutely amazing friend, Aditi from A Thousand Words A Million Books and I will be sharing various essays by desi book people – bloggers, bookstagrammers, twitterati etc for you guys.
I hope that you learn something new by reading what we have in store for you here and that you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by!
A Love Letter to Sandhya Menon
Discussing diversity in media is a prominent part of my mission as a booktuber. More importantly, I want to support and promote diverse content, particularly diverse YA novels. Last year, I had the honor of beginning my journey of supporting Sandhya Menon, an unbelievably talented YA author who writes about Indian-American teens as an Indian author herself. To this day, I can still remember the moment I discovered her and how that changed my world forever.
In the first half of 2017, Menon’s first novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, was released and I had the privilege of receiving an ARC of this novel. When Dimple Met Rishi was the first novel I ever read featuring a main character of my skin color. I still have an inability to express how my world changed and the happiness this brought me.
Since the release of When Dimple Met Rishi, Menon has announced two other novels, From Twinkle, With Love (out May 22nd, 2018) and When Ashish Met Sweetie, the sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi, two more YA novels featuring Indian-American teens. Each of these novels has the potential to change yet another Indian-American teen’s life the way When Dimple Met Rishi changed my life.
By writing about characters that look like her, Menon has revolutionized the YA world in terms of its Indian representation. When Dimple Met Rishi is the first mainstream #ownvoices YA novel with an Indian-American main character. This is thanks to the endless work of so many activists in the publishing world, but is also thanks to the endless work and talent of Sandhya Menon.
South Asian representation is rarely considered in the discussion diversity, as though places like India and Pakistan do not exist and people from there do not deserve to see themselves in media. Menon has begun dismantling this ideology by being brave enough to write what she does. Everyday when she writes, she is changing the world with her work.
I implore you to support Sandhya Menon in any way you can because the desi community needs your support. Support the woman who has changed countless Indian-American teens’ lives and will continue to do so in the future.