Why Do We Need More OwnVoices Authors/Readers?

Hi friends! I’m here today with a post to discuss the importance of OwnVoices authors and reviewers! To begin, i am NOT an expert. Possibly the only thing I’m an expert in is the art of eating far too much junk food. However, I’ve noticed so much difference when an OwnVoices author writes a book, OwnVoices reviewers read it and share their thoughts, as compared to those who can’t actually relate on a personal level.

why is ownvoices important?

  • ACCURATE REPRESENTATION. For example, no matter how detailed my research, I cannot write a disabled character as well as someone who is either disabled or a caretaker of a disabled person. It would be far too easy for me to lean into stereotypes. However, OwnVoices authors understand the layers of culture and identity that the rest of us simply can’t. OwnVoices reviewers have the opportunity to see themselves in a story, and gauge how accurate the representation is.
  • Education! As someone who is unfamiliar with so very many cultures and people, I would much rather read books accepted by the audience they were written for. Then, I know that I’ll be learning the right things. A person of non-Mexican descent will not have the same knowledge that someone who is Mexican will have, and so the book might end up falling into the trap of stereotypes.
  • People can see themselves as actual human beings. Honestly, how many people have never seen themselves as the main character in a book, worthy of great things, worthy of love? We need to support OwnVoices authors with the same passion as authors like Sarah J. Maas, and put their books in the hand of OwnVoices readers.

A quick note: In my personal experience, I’ve found that stories with biracial individuals, especially ones coming from OwnVoices authors, are extremely rare. I can’t fully identify with either a black or a white main character, yet I’ve hardly found a book that contains a biracial protagonist for me personally to relate with. And I know that so, so many people also struggle with this problem, being two or more races, and never seeing themselves.

some great ownvoices books you should read!!

Obviously, I need to make a personal effort to read more OwnVoices books. These are all ones I’ve read and either adored or appreciated, but please please please leave your own recs down below! Im considering making a post where I go into detail about some OwnVoices books I’ve read, but we’ll see!

That’s it! Let’s continue this conversation in the comments below! Share your thoughts!

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39 thoughts on “Why Do We Need More OwnVoices Authors/Readers?

  1. This is a great post!It’s nice to see over the last year (mostly this year) the diversifying of the YA genre. The same old, same old, gets old. This year my favorite own voice has probably been A Song of Wraiths and Ruin but I did like the MG Brother’s Keeper. Hopefully there will be more biracial characters in the next couple of years. It sucks that it has to take so long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!💜 I totally agree, especially with how much hype diverse books have been getting! Ooh, ASOWAR is on my TBR! I’ll have to check out Brother’s Keeper though! Yeah, definitely. I’m hoping all the good hype around diverse books will translate into that area too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for such a great post!! I agree that it’s so so important to diversify your reading and make sure that you are seeking out stories from ownvoices authors, something that I could definitely do better to work on! My favorite ownvoices book that I’ve read this year would probably be Juliet Takes a Breath, it was so fun and informative and I enjoyed every second of it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, absolutely! I always feel like I can tell the difference while reading an ownvoices book vs not ownvoices. There’s just this authenticity that non ownvoices books are missing out on! And it’s so special when readers get to see themselves accurately represented

    Liked by 1 person

  4. YES! It is an important discussion to have and OwnVoices books are absolutely NEEDED! I really hope there are going to be more books with a biracial main character so that you can see yourself more in books. The Poet X, The Hate U Give, A Very Large Expanse of Sea, They Both Die at the End, All Boys Aren’t Blue are some ownvoices books I can think of right now but there are definitely more others!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is such an important discussion, Kaya! I agree with what you said on why it is important to have and read OwnVoices books, and I really appreciate this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We really do need to have more ownvoices biracial rep 110% agree that it’s so hard to find those relatable protagonists. I find often times too books with biracial characters are written by non biracial authors and it really isn’t the same! Even in like To All The Boys, people consider it ownvoices because Jenny Han is Korean and Lara Jean is Korean…. but tbh I felt that book really doesn’t read like she’s half, it reads like she’s full, and I can really tell the author isn’t half. Have you read Harley in the Sky? It has the best multiracial rep I’ve ever read (can really tell the author is biracial, and also I think Harley is 4 ethnicities which is cool both her parents are biracial), although it’s Asian and white, it still really reads like a love letter to multiracial people ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES. Definitely! I haven’t read TATBILB, but I’m glad to hear your perspective on the representation in it. That’s annoying, when the author doesn’t quite grasp it haha. I haven’t yet! Really?! I’ll be reading it soon for sure then💜💜

      Like

  7. I feel you with the struggle to find biracial rep in books, Kaya. 😥 I’ve read a total of one book with a biracial protagonist by an ownvoices author, though it didn’t speak much on identity. I think you read it, too, actually. THE DECEIVERS. Biracial and multiracial issues aren’t the same as the issues of any one race, it’s unique to each person.

    I agree with you on the importance of ownvoices authors and reviewers. Anyone who has first-hand experience of an issue will be better able to understand and then explain it then someone who reads about it or studies it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so true, it’s so very different for each individual. I actually haven’t read The Deceivers yet but that sounds amazing!! I’s so disappointing that there’s so few ownvoices biracial books in the industry though.

      Yes, exactly!! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think with biracial #OwnVoices I don’t really see any on the YA front but I have been seeing them in contemporary romance. For example the protagonist of the novel Intercepted is biracial and so is the author Alexa Martin. Another biracial author who wrote an #Ownvoices novel is Andie J Christopher.

    Not sure if her protagonist is biracial but biracial author Kelly McWilliams recently released a YA dystopian novel called Agnes at the End of the World.

    Also not #Ownvoices that I know of because I’ve only heard Alexis Henderson identify as Black but she wrote an adult fantasy called The Year of the Witching that was very good. I reviewed it on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, #ownvoices is so important! I remember when I was younger I didn’t really read about diversity in books, it was usually white girls around my age. Of course this is so limiting, A) because the authors aren’t all white women, and they certainly weren’t my age, and B) because most of the world’s people aren’t like me. Since then, I’ve been reading a lot more diversely, but I still should read more #ownvoices, for all the reasons you so excellently provided!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes yes yes! Oh my gosh exactly, it’s so obnoxious when white authors are given priority and so we don’t see much diversity. If you don’t mind me asking and you feel comfortable sharing, (and i’m so sorry if i’m overstepping, i don’t mean to pry) what is your race/ethnicity? Ahh, same here💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I’m Australian, with Irish/Scottish/English ancestry. Probably another reason why I didn’t read a lot of diverse books, it was probably seen like I didn’t need to, the market was already so wide for me. Yes, it’s such a problem that white authors are put into the spotlight, especially for kids’ books! We all really need to make an effort to promote #ownvoices, and then hopefully in the future the market will be so much more diverse!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful post, Kaya! I really appreciate all the points you brought up. Accurate representation is a lot different from just representation, so thank you for talking about that. The ownvoices books you recommended sound amazing, I’ll definitely check them out!

    Liked by 1 person

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