Written By: Nayirah Muhammad
Ever since reading the premise for this new addition to YA fiction, I have been amazed at how much press and coverage this series has gotten. This is because it is so rare to see a fantasy genre novel by a black author be met with such praise and excitement compared to well-known fantasy authors such as J.K Rowling. The fantasy genre has been something that is predominantly composed of the Caucasian demographic. In fact, the fantasy/sci-fi genre has been described as “not being for black people” because it doesn’t involve “black stuff”. If you think about, aside from this book there has always been discussion about the sci-fi/fantasy genre excluding people of color from the genre. My feelings on this and my excitement for this can be summarized in one sentence: why has it taken so long for black authors to have their work receive as much praise as white authors?
I myself am someone who heavily enjoys the fantasy and high fantasy genre and while I have never discriminated against a good book, it can be a little lonely when I hardly ever read a fun fantasy book with a lead character that looks like me. This exclusion of black people and any person of color pattern that happens in fantasy is something that is lessening and is beginning to branch out. But, I still, as a young adult and predominantly fantasy consumer, should not feel like Tomi Adeyemi and Children of Blood and Bones is some sort of Holy Grail. A vast amount of black fantasy writers should already be on the same playing field as J.K Rowling. There should not be only a handful of books and movies in the fantasy genre so young black adults like me can feel included.
But, at least Children of Blood and Bones is a step in the right direction.