I was reading this book as the news that Disney is apparently unable to find a single middle Eastern actor to play Aladdin was making the rounds. There is, of course, an entire film industry full of middle Eastern actors being cast as nothing but terrorists, not to mention the talented actors Disney already employs to portray Aladdin in parks and cruise ship shows, and Disney is merely whining about not being able to cast Johnny Depp, but anyway; what struck me about this book is how simple making a protagonist non-white is. Here is the first physical description of the titular heroine of "Blackberry Blue:"
"Her skin was as black as midnight, her lips like crushed damsons, and her tightly curled hair shone like threads of black gold."
ETA: Disney has since announced the casting of Egyptian actor Mena Massoud as Aladdin.