Educators around our country and all over the world want to do their part to make the world a better place for their students, families, and communities. Some have already participated in protests to make their voices heard. You may feel unsure and not be ready to speak out or even have conversations about racial equity and social justice, but a reading list this summer may help you find your voice.
This list will help you quickly access book choices for you to grow personally and professionally, including some YA literature and a few picture books. Perhaps form a book club or partner with a colleague so you can have a discussion and reflect on what you are thinking and feeling. Of course, this list is not complete. There are lots of places to go to find great book lists.
After you’ve done some reading, don’t forget to send a note to your state and federal representatives and ask them what they plan to do to create a safer, more just America for ALL our students. Use children’s literature as a concrete and powerful way to talk to children about race. Books can be a great tool for sparking discussion with your students and/or your own children and grandchildren. Let’s raise anti-racists. Our students and children will have questions for us. They’ll look to us to imagine the possibilities for a better world. They’ll need our support. Can we afford to let them down?
Books, Articles, and Websites for Summer Reading with Anti-Bias and Racial Justice Themes
- Check out this extensive list of antiracist book recommendations prepared by Bookshop
- Check out https://www.tolerance.org/
- Check out The Center for Racial Justice in Education for additional titles and resources
- Check out https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1873-an-anti-racist-reading-list-20-highly-rated-nonfiction-books-by-black-a?content_type=all
A list of book recommendations to get started
- Ahmed, Sara K. (2018). Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension
- Alexander, Michelle. (2020). The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
- Bajaj, Varsha. (2019) Count Me In
- Baldwin, James. (1963). The Fire Next Time
- Baptist, Kelly J. (Aug, 18, 2020) Isaiah Dunn is My Hero.
- Brown, Brene. (2018). Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, and Whole Hearts
- Chardin, Mirko and Katie R. Novak. (2020) Equity by Design: Delivering on the Power and Promise of UDL.
- Coates, Ta-Nehisi. (2015). Between the World and Me
- DiAngelo, Robin. (2018). White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism
- Eberhardt, Jennifer. (2019). Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do
- Harris-Perry, Melissa V. (2011). Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America
- Jacobs, Mira. (2020). Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations
- Jewell, Tiffany& Aurelia Durand. (2020). This Book is Antiracist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work
- Kay, Matthew R. (2018). Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom
- Kendi, Ibram X. (2019). How to Be an Antiracist
- Kendi, Ibram X and Reynolds, Jason. (2020). Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
- Kendi, Ibran X. (2020). AntiRacist Baby (board book)
- Laminack, Lester L. & Katie Kelly. (2019). Reading to Make a Difference: Using Literature to Help Students Speak Freely, Think Deeply, and Take Action
- Lorde, Audre. (2017). Your Silence Will Not Protect You
- Oluo, Ijeoma. (2019). So You Want to Talk about Race
- Rothstein, Richard. (2018) The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
- Saad, Layla. (2020) Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
- Shalaby, Carla. (2017). Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School
- Sofer, Oren Jay. (2018). Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication
- Stevenson, Bryan. (2017). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
- Tatum, Beverly Daniel. (2017). Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race
- Thomas, Angie. (2017). The Hate U Give
- Watson, Renée. (2020). Watch Us Rise
- Wilkerson, Isabel. (2011). The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
But please remember, don’t stop here. Share the books that have helped you grow, change, and find your voice. When considering where to buy books, you may be interested in examining this list put together by Lithub of black-owned independent bookstores that offer ordering/shipping options. Let’s support these businesses as a next step. In Pennsylvania, black-owned book stores at https://aalbc.com/bookstores/index.php?statename=Pennsylvania and support black authors who are writing with a perspective of the lived through experience by buying their books.
Reading and talking about what you’ve read is only a first step. We’ve got to do more. We’ve got to act to dismantle power systems that stand in the way of justice for ALL, humanity, and happiness for all American citizens and all who come to this country looking for a better life for their family. Whether these systems exist at work, at our state and federal government levels, in our education systems, we must work to dismantle systems that support inequalities and racial injustice. We’ve got to do better!