Religion in YA

One of the things I’ve noticed recently about my quest to read more diverse books is that I’ve read hardly any books with religious protagonists. When I look at my shelves, there are hardly any books that contain characters who are religious. Why is that? Is it because I’m not overly religious myself, my buddhism being more a part of how I choose to live my life rather than being an active part of it? Is it because the authors themselves aren’t religious? Is it because many people presume young people aren’t as religious as the older generations? Regardless of the reasons, I think it’s important to read more novels with characters of different faiths in the same way it’s important to read novels with protagonists of different ethnicities or identities or disabilities. Diversity is diversity, right?

Most of the novels I’ve read that have any sort of religious element are those where characters are Christian, or less commonly, Jewish, however, they don’t discuss their faith beyond mentioning it once or twice. While many people’s faith manifests in this way — something that’s a part of them rather than something that they have multiple conversations or thoughts about daily — we need to read some stories that contain characters who do belong to a religion to varying degrees. Like every other diverse book, these novels can help us empathise with people different to ourselves and learn about people in different situations to ourselves. To me, the most powerful aspect of novels is that they allow us to form empathy.Read More »