There’s no mystery that in contemporary society there is still a fight to have stronger representation for both people of color and LGBT characters in literature and media. Trans author Jaz Joyner (who uses they/them pronouns) realized this issue and decided to speak on it with their novel “Juniper Leaves: The Otherworldly Tale of a Lonesome Magical Girl.”
The novel follows 15-year-old Juniper Bray, a queer black teen, who goes on a journey to save the world with her magical powers. Joyner hopes their book is able to show young teens that they are represented in literature and that their stories are important.
“I want people who read Juniper Leaves to finish the book and be inspired by Juniper not only because she’s a #MagicalBlackGirl, but because she represents so many of us who feel like we’re not good enough,” Joyner told HuffPost. “I want readers to leave understanding better how relatable a story lead by a black queer protagonist can be. There’s this idea that black stories can’t be relatable to the masses. You see it all the time with TV execs being surprised black-led TV shows and movies do so well — and that’s bullshit. I want to be a part of that shift.”
Joyner believes that there are other magical identities that exist in our world and they hope their tale is able to inspire teens that they too can be a hero, just like Juniper Bray.
“If Juniper Leaves inspires even one teen to work in STEM, or get hype about science, or read more fantasy stories starring PoC protagonist, or even just see themselves in a better light, then I will die happy,” they added.