by Saia, Glendale Branch
Growing up I did not see many characters in books or graphic novels that looked like me or had experiences like me. I never thought anything about why that was because it was normal to read the same narrative. The same narrative that I read was not representative of the world that I was a part of. My world contained many different faces, skin colors, abilities, sexualities, genders, styles, beliefs, religions, perspectives, classes, languages, and traditions. Due to what I was feeling and experiencing in my own life, I craved to see these things in the literature and media that I consumed. Now that I am older I strive to find books, movies, and graphic novels that give an honest representation of human stories and experiences.
Representation matters because it centers the stories that are not heard or pushed to the wayside. When all voices and all stories do not get a chance to be heard and felt by other people it creates false assumptions and stereotypes. This in turn creates fear and divides us.
This is why representation is so important. It is an act of re-centering humanity, ultimately leading to compassion and understanding. It is an act of empowerment by validating the experiences of those who are oppressed. For me personally, seeing characters who look like me and have similar experiences as me, helps me to remember that I am not alone in this world-that has made all the difference.
I have created a list of graphic novels that center individuals and stories that represent people of differing abilities, color, queerness, religions, as well as refugee experiences. All titles center those who are Teens or Young Adults. There are only 10 titles that I could fit into this blog post and each of the summaries I have taken from the publisher. If you like the title given on this list, go ahead and click directly on it. This will take you to our catalog and you can check it out using your library card. The list given is in no way a total representation of how people see and identify themselves. I encourage you, the reader, to create your own list. What would you include? Remember, representation is important but take the time to ask yourself, Why does it matter to you?
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