Diversity is all about accepting and celebrating our differences, while remembering that we are all citizens of the same one world.

These books are not only written by an incredibly diverse cross-section of writers from around the globe, but touch on vitally important themes. These writers ask us to think again about our prejudices, to celebrate those who stand up for the disenfranchised, and to embrace difference.

Property by Valerie Martin

Property follows the story of Manon, the child of a creole mother and an American father living in America’s Deep South in the nineteenth century. The world is steeped in fear and repression, as we learn about Manon’s unhappy marriage to her frequently wayward husband, who owns sugar plantation. Property takes an unflinching look at human rights, race and slavery, making for a powerful read.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Malala is widely respected and revered for standing up for education for girls around the world. Shot in the head when she was fifteen for attending school, Malala refused to be silenced. I Am Malala tells her story: from her family’s flight from terrorism, to her fight for education rights for girls and more. If you want to be inspired, this is the book for you. Malala is living proof that just one defiant act can change the world.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is known for never shying away from difficult topics in her novels. Americanah is a powerful story of love and race, following teenagers Ifemelu and Obinze. The pair fall in love, but in trying to flee Nigeria’s dictatorship, are separated, living oceans apart. When they return to their homeland as adults, they are faced with the toughest decisions of their lives. Americanah brilliantly asks pertinent questions about human rights, race and gender, keeping readers thinking long after they’ve but the book down.

Stephen Hawking: His Life and Work by Kitty Ferguson

Steven Hawking, one of the world’s most celebrated scientists and thinkers, was given only a couple of years to live in 1963. Yet, against the odds, Hawkins has not only survived but made an incredible difference to how we see the world, indeed the entire universe and beyond, today. Hawkins lives with motor neurone disease, but this has never stopped him publishing numerous books and inspiring people the world over.

Maggie & Me by Damian Barr

Maggie & Me tells the story of Damien and his family, struggling to survive through Margaret Thatcher’s years as Prime Minister. Times are tight and life is hard, but Damien manages to struggle through, finding the light in life: Madonna’s music and Glasgow’s sole gay club. Maggie & Me vouches for the strength of the human spirit in the face of a number of trials, from the threat of violence, to the darkness of poverty, to the battle with silent killer, AIDS.

1984 by George Orwell

Orwell’s terrifyingly prophetic book is a stark reminder that we must always protect human rights and freedom of expression, for they can be easily eroded. 1984 imagines a dystopia, ruled by a totalitarian system which regulates every moment of its citizens lives. Any slight hint of disobedience can bring about violent consequences. In fact, in this world, individualism is a crime. 1984 is a stark reminder that, without diversity and the opportunity to voice our opinions, the world is utterly bleak.

My Night with Reg by Kevin Elyot

British playwright, Kevin Elyot, made a huge splash in 1994 with his play, My Night With Reg. Set among London’s gay community in the 1980s, the play documents the highs and lows of a group of gay friends. A play with plenty of heart and a vital point to make, My Night With Reg tackles subjects from AIDS, to friendship and acceptance. Elyot’s is another voice which reminds us how important diversity is, since brilliant stories are what bring us together and give us a glimpse into the lives of others.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

In God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy explores the far-reaching devastation just one tragic event can have. The book explores human rights and inter-caste relationships, following Ammu and her children, Rahel and Estha. In a world governed by Love Laws, they must fight for the freedom to be with who they want. The book looks unflinchingly at suffering, and serves as a powerful reminder that, often, our entrenched social structures are too tightly binding.

Image Copyright: Malala Yousafzaï addresses the members in the plenary session CC European Parliament