|Books for Kids-Fiction||Books for Kids-Nonfiction||Books for Teens-Fiction||Books for Teens-Nonfiction|
Scenic Regional Library is committed to free access to information, as well as community development and growth. The primary way to combat racism is through education and this collection of resources, which was organized by a team of Scenic Regional Library staff, was created to aid patrons who are seeking information on racial and social justice issues. While this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of books, movies, podcasts, articles, and websites, but rather a starting point for children, teens, parents, and adults to learn and grow. The library hopes the collection will help people learn about racism, facilitate conversations about race, help parents raise anti-racist children, and explore many other aspects of the topic.
Books for Kids (Fiction)
All Kinds of Friends by Shelley Rotner-Photographs and simple text explore the many kinds of friends children have in their lives.
The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson-Presents the life of nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks who became the youngest known child to be arrested for picketing against Birmingham segregation practices in 1963.
Skin Again by Bell Hooks-Celebrating all that makes us unique and different, [this book] offers new ways to talk about race and identity. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia-In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.
What Lane? By Torrey Maldonado-Biracial sixth-grader Stephen questions the limitations society puts on him after he notices the way strangers treat him when he hangs out with his white friends and learns about the Black Live Matter movement.
Salam Alaikum: A Message of Peace by Harris J-An illustrated song celebrating life and encouraging readers to spread peace on earth.
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Marie Ramee-After attending a powerful protest, Shayla starts wearing an armband to school to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but when the school gives her an ultimatum, she is forced to choose between her education and her identity.
My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera-After being teased yet again about her unruly hair, MacKenzie consults her neighbor, Miss Tillie, who compares hair care with tending her beautiful garden and teaches MacKenzie some techniques. Includes tips for shampooing, conditioning, and protecting black hair, and recipes for hair products.
Books for Kids (Nonfiction)
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson-The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and South.
Let’s Talk about Race by Julius Lester-Introduces the concept of race as only one component in an individual’s or nation’s “story.”
Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 by Larry Brimmer-Documents the heroic 1961 campaign of the civil rights activists known as the “Freedom Riders,” describing their peaceful protests to raise awareness about unconstitutional segregation and the increasing violence they endured as they traveled south.
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashi Harrison-Features female figures of black history, including abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash.
Grandad Mandela by Zindzi Mandela-The great-grandchildren of Nelson Mandela ask their grandmother fifteen questions about the former South African president, from his activism work, his Nobel Peace Prize, and his time in prison.
Black Lives Matter by Duchess Harris-Examines the police shootings that fueled the movement, the events that led up to racial tensions in the United States, and the goals the movement has set for the future. Easy-to-read text, vivid images, and helpful back matter give readers a clear look at this subject.
Amazing Faces by Lee Bennett Hopkins-In this contemporary yet timeless collection brings together sixteen selections that reveal through poetic word imagery the common universal emotions and feelings we all have, whether they be happy, excited, wishful, proud, sad, or lonely.
This Promise of Change by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy-One year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee.Based on original research and interviews and featuring backmatter with archival materials and notes from the authors on the co-writing process.
Books for Teens (Fiction)
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds- Two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension. Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.
American Street by Ibi Zoboi- On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie — a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas- After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.
Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown-Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism-all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age story for fans of Renee Watson’s Piecing Me Together and Ibi Zoboi’s American Street.
Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles-When Marvin Johnson’s twin brother, Tyler, is shot and killed by a police officer, Marvin must fight injustice to learn the true meaning of freedom.
The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera-Margot Sanchez is paying off her debts by working in her family’s South Bronx grocery store, but she must make the right choices about her friends, her family, and Moises, the good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood.
Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson- As the Revolutionary War rages on, Isabel and Curzon are reported as runaways, and the awful Bellingham is determined to track them down. With purpose and faith, Isabel and Curzon march on, fiercely determined to find Isabel’s little sister Ruth, who is enslaved in a Southern state.
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker- Morgan can’t count the number of times she’s been the only non-white person at the sleepover, been teased for her “weird” outfits, and been told she’s not “really” black. She’s spent most of her summer crying in bed; it feels like the whole world is listening to the same terrible track on repeat, and Morgan sees life as a never-ending hamster wheel of agony. She knows why she’s in therapy. When Morgan makes friends with fellow outcasts, blasts music like there’s no tomorrow, and discovers what being black means to her, she finally puts her mental health first. After all, darkness doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Books for Teens (Nonfiction)
Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Powell-Written in blank verse, the story of Mildred Loving, an African American girl, and Richard Loving, a Caucasian boy, who challenge the Viriginia law forbidding interracial marriages in the 1950s.
March: Book One by John Lewis- March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.
Just Mercy: Adapted for Young Adults by Bryan Stevenson-Stevenson’s story is one of working to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society–the poor, the wrongly convicted, and those whose lives have been marked by discrimination and marginalization. Through this adaptation, young people of today will find themselves called to action and compassion in the pursuit of justice.
This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How To Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell- Who are you? What is racism? Where does it come from? Why does it exist? What can you do to disrupt it? Learn about social identities, the history of racism and resistance against it, and how you can use your anti-racist lens and voice to move the world toward equity and liberation.
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George Johnson- In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. This young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys. Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi- This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning, “Stamped from the Beginning”, reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson- When America achieves milestones of progress toward full and equal black participation in democracy, the systemic response is a consistent racist backlash that rolls back those wins. We Are Not Yet Equal examines five of these moments: The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction; the promise of new opportunities in the North during the Great Migration; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, the election of President Obama as well as current events going on in the United States.
Black Girl Magic by Mahogany Browne- Celebrates the strength and magic found in black girls, challenging the conditioning of society by offering a tribute to black women and girls everywhere.
Books for Adults (Fiction)
Native Son by Richard Wright – Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright’s novel is just as powerful today as when it was written — in its reflection of poverty and hopelessness, and what it means to be black in America.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, things don’t go as planned, and Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
Beloved by Toni Morrison – Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison – A Black man’s search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward – An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi’s past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power–and limitations–of family bonds.
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage–and lost his mother and all memory of her when he was a child–but he is also gifted with a mysterious power. Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but is saved from the depths by a force he doesn’t understand, a blue light that lifts him up and lands him a mile away. He becomes determined to escape the only home he’s ever known and so begins an unexpected journey into the covert war on slavery that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, all Hiram wants is to return to the Walker Plantation to free the family he left behind–but to do so, he must first master his magical gift and reconstruct the story of his greatest loss.
Books for Adults (Nonfiction)
The New Jim Crow : Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander – This work argues that the War on Drugs and policies that deny convicted felons equal access to employment, housing, education, and public benefits create a permanent under caste based largely on race.As the United States celebrates the nation’s “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status – much like their grandparents before them.
White fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo – In this groundbreaking and timely book, antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility. Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue.
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendri – Americans like to insist that we are living in a postracial, color-blind society. In fact, racist thought is alive and well; it has simply become more sophisticated and more insidious. And as historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas in this country have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history.
How to be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi – Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America — but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. In this book, Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism.
Just Mercy: a Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson – The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.
The Warmth of Other Suns : the Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson – This work chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism today. Full of clear, bold and keenly felt arguments, [this book] is a wake-up call to a nation in denial about the structural and institutional racism occurring at its heart.
Rest in Power: the Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton – An intimate portrait of Trayvon Martin shares previously untold insights into the movement he inspired from the perspectives of his parents, who also describe their efforts to bring meaning to his short life through the movement’s pursuit of redemption and justice.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – At every stage of his life, Coates has sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him, most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. In this book he takes readers through America’s history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings, moments when he discovered some new truth about our long, tangled history of race.
Resources for Parents
Raising White Kids with Jennifer Harvey (episode from Integrated Schools: Conversations about Integration) What is a healthy racial identity for a White person, and how do we help our White children develop one? We’re joined by Dr. Jennifer Harvey to discuss her book, Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, as well her personal journey towards anti-racist organizing, educating, and child rearing.
Five Pandemic Parenting Lessons with Cindy Wang Brandt “Parenting Forward” An episode from The Parenting Forward podcast which features interviews with authors and thought leaders from progressive faith spaces, monthly listener question shows, and practical strategies for parents, grandparents, and anyone who loves children and wants to commit to treating children with justice.
University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education: Talking to Children after Racial Incidents An accessible and eye-opening conversation with Howard Stevenson, PhD, clinical psychologist, professor, and expert in racial literacy. This resource provides information for talking to kids across the age range.
Center for Racial Justice in Education A working resource list for talking about race, racism, and racialized violence with kids.
PBS Kids for Parents: Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism Talking about racism with young children can be tough but is extremely important. PBS offers tips and resources on how to talk to your family about race, racism, and being anti-racist.
Code Switch This podcast from NPR is hosted by journalists of color, tackling the subject of race head-on and how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between.
Yo, Is This Racist? A podcast hosted by Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome and their guests answer questions from fan-submitted voicemails and emails about whether or not something is, in fact, racist.
This is How I Feel: A Playlist by Young Black Listeners (NPR)
Songs of Black Lives Matter: 22 New Protest Anthems (Rolling Stone)
10 Influential Songs to Celebrate Black History Month (Toledo Lucas County Public Library)
Just Mercy After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian’s life.
Hidden Figures The incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson were brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross chronicles the full sweep of the African-American experience, from the origins of the transatlantic slave trade to the reelection and second inauguration of President Barack Obama.
I Am Not Your Negro In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, “Remember This House.” The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.
Click Here for Additional Movies/Shows
Dr. Robin DiAngelo discusses ‘White Fragility’ (1:23:30)
“How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion” | Peggy McIntosh at TEDxTimberlaneSchools (18:26)
Articles to Read
“Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?” by Ibram X. Kendi appears in The Atlantic
“America’s Racial Contract Is Killing Us” by Adam Serwer | Atlantic (May 8, 2020)
An Antiracist Reading List by Ibram X. Kendi | The New York Times (May 29, 2019)
Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement (Mentoring a New Generation of Activists
”My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” by Jose Antonio Vargas | NYT Mag (June 22, 2011)
The 1619 Project (all the articles) | The New York Times Magazine
The Combahee River Collective Statement
“The Intersectionality Wars” by Jane Coaston | Vox (May 28, 2019)
NAACP’s Criminal Justice Fact Sheet.
The National Museum of the American Indian Education Office. Native Knowledge 360 Framework for Essential Understandings about American Indians.
The Sentencing Project, Report to the United Nations on Racial Disparities in the U.S. Criminal Justice System, April 19, 2018
Tips for Creating Effective White Caucus Groups developed by Craig Elliott PhD
Tribal Nations and the United States: An Introduction, developed by the National Congress of American Indians
“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Knapsack Peggy McIntosh
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“How to Be Anti-Racist: A Social Worker’s Perspective”; MSW@USC, the online Master of Social Work program at the University of Southern California, October 28, 2020
Black Lives Matter — Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. https://blacklivesmatter.com/
Stories Matter– This local group promotes the use of stories as a way for all people to understand themselves and others, both as unique and as members of a common community. http://storiesmatterbooks.com/
We Need Diverse Books — A non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. https://diversebooks.org/
Children’s Book Council — The CBC Diversity initiative was founded in 2012, as part of the Children’s Book Council’s commitment to promoting diverse voices in literature for young people. CBC believes that all children deserve to see their world reflected in the books they read. CBC also recognizes that diversity takes on many forms, including differences in race, religion, gender, geography, sexual orientation, class, and ability. http://www.cbcdiversity.com/resources/teachersandlibrarians/
Department of Afro American Research, Arts, and Culture — Started in 2008, to preserve, research, and review Blaxploitation films. https://www.daarac.ngo/
The 1619 Project — The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html
Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) of the American Library Association — The mission is to serve as a source of information on recommended ethnic collections, services, and programs. http://www.ala.org/rt/emiert/
Embrace Race — EmbraceRace organizes and creates tools, resources, discussion spaces, and networks to meet four goals: nurture resilience in children of color; nurture inclusive, empathetic children of all stripes; raise kids who think critically about racial inequity; and support a movement of kid and adult racial justice advocates for all children. https://www.embracerace.org/
St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature — St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature is committed to fostering awareness about the importance of early literacy by creating innovative opportunities for all kids to have access to Black children’s literature. http://stlblackauthors.com/
Race: The Power of an Illusion — An online companion to the documentary, this website offers information and resources about race in America. https://www.racepowerofanillusion.org/
For the Culture STL — Use this website to locate black owned businesses in metro St. Louis from salons to restaurants to apparel and everything in between. https://www.fortheculturestl.com/home
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