Here’s what I came up with:
(1) A Book Starring a Lesbian Character
That Certain Something by Clare Ashton is a romantic comedy featuring Pia and Cate. One is a disaster-prone idealist, while the other is an elegant pragmatist. They fall for each quickly, perhaps too quickly for those of us who cringe at “insta-love,” but love isn’t the highest priority for the practical half of the pair–at least, not immediately.
To find other books starring lesbian characters, check out Lambda Literary.
(2) A Book with a Muslim Character
As I wrote in Courting Samira: An Honest Portrayal of Muslim Women:
“Amal Awad’s debut novel, Courting Samira, centers on a Jane Austen-style love-triangle set in a contemporary Arab-Australian community where business-like arranged marriages are still the norm… It caught my eye immediately, as I share my first name with the author and one of my daughters shares her first name with the protagonist… Overall, I appreciated Courting Samira for its nuanced look at what it means to be a modern Muslim woman in the Western world, a polite rebuke to the stereotypical depiction of Muslims that we often see in the media.”
For other books starring Muslim characters, check out Nuzaifa’s list at Word Contessa.
(3) A Book Set in Latin America
César Aira’s How I Became a Nun, set in Rosario, Argentina, focuses on a six-year-old child, who generally refers to herself as a girl while the adults refer to her as a boy. Though light on plot, this novella is a compelling foray into the mind of an imaginative, precocious child.
For more books set in Latin America, check out the recommendations at Vamos A Leer (Teaching Latin America Through Literacy).
(4) A Book About a Person With a Disability
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork features a seventeen-year-old with an Asperger’s-like condition whose father forces him into the “real world” by making him work in a law firm’s mailroom.
Though certain aspects of the legal framework in this YA book didn’t quite hold up, as I wrote in Marcelo in the Real World: A Book Law Students Should Read, “the book is worth reading for those interested in entering the legal profession. It is a reminder about the human side of the law, particularly of the people who have been injured and who need legal representation. These are real people with real problems…”
(5) A Science Fiction or Fantasy Book with a PoC protagonist
This isn’t a genre I’ve read much lately. Thanks to this book tag, I’ve added The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo to my TBR list.
Via Goodreads: “Li Lan, the daughter of a respectable Chinese family in colonial Malaysia, hopes for a favorable marriage, but her father has lost his fortune, and she has few suitors. Instead, the wealthy Lim family urges her to become a “ghost bride” for their son, who has recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at what price?”
(6) A Book set in (or about) any country in Africa:
A book I’ve added to my TBR list is Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Via Goodreads: “With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s.”
(7) A book written by an Indigenous or Native Author
Louise Erdrich’s Chickadee (the Birchbark Series) is a middle grade novel that features Chickadee and Makoons, identical twins who were born prematurely during the 1800s.
At the end of Louise Erdrich’s Chickadee: “Small Things Have Great Power,” I wrote: “As I discussed  in Correcting a Kindergarten Deficit (As Requested By An Almost-First Grader), one of my daughters has already decried her lack of exposure to Native American culture. Erdrich’s novels are one way to fill this void. The Birchbark House Series is destined for their bookshelves.”
(8) A Book Set in South Asia
Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje is the first book Mr. AMB, then my college sweetheart, ever gave me. It was probably his first exposure to Sri Lanka, where my mother is from.
For children, I recommend Tea Leaves by Frederick Lipp (author) and Lester Coloma (illustrator). As I said in The Best Stories Are The Ones You Know Yourself: “[This] beautifully illustrated story features Shanti, a nine-year-old child from Sri Lanka’s mountainous tea region. She lives on an island, but has never seen the sea… Tea Leaves offers my daughters a glimpse into a part of their background. Shanti lives in a different region from where our relatives live, but she is a fictional friend my daughters associate with their heritage.”
(9) A Book With a Biracial Protagonist
Here are two books with biracial protagonists: Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Peña and Re Jane by Patricia Park.
In What it Means to be Biracial, I wrote: “Mexican WhiteBoy explores  structural barriers for ethnic minorities with an emphasis on the experiences of Danny and Uno, two boys caught between two identities.” Danny is half Mexican and half white, and Uno is Mexican and African American.
Patricia Park’s Re Jane is a contemporary Korean American retelling of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. While I struggled with the unsettling parallels to Bronte’s Victorian novel, I appreciated Park’s portrayal of biracial identity. As I wrote in The Challenges of Modernizing a Classic Novel, “What is wonderful about the book is its portrayal of bi-racial identity, of being “Asian-ish,” of not quite belonging anywhere. These are feelings I can identify with as a multi-racial person of predominantly South Asian and Irish American ancestry.”
(10) A Book Starring a Transgender Protagonist or About Transgender Issues
A middle grade novel I plan to read soon (thanks to a recommendation from my sister) is George by Alex Gino.
“When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.
George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.
With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.”
I would also put Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music into this category because it involves transgender-related issues.
Jeanne “Jenny” Bonnet, a 27-year-old frog catcher, dressed like a man at a time when women were not supposed to do that. It was actually against the law.
In Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music: Portraying 19th Century Gender Norms That Still Exist Today, I discuss the evolution of anti-cross dressing laws in the United States and the ways in which the underlying gender expectations that fueled those pernicious laws remain part of our society.
Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them?