Books About Racism and Social Justice

When your kids see demonstrations in the street or on the news as a response to racially charged incidents, you can help them understand what's going on by giving them some historical context. Sometimes such actions reflect a healthy democracy. Sometimes they lead to changing laws. Some movements are peaceful, others turn violent. These books tell stories of people's experiences of racism and of those who put their bodies on the line for the cause of equality under the law and social justice. For more great reads for kids and teens, check out our Civil Rights Books and Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners.

Browse Books About Racism and Social Justice

Antiracist Baby Book Poster Image
Meaningful how-to for raising equity-conscious kids.
By Ibram X. Kendi
(2020)
(2020)
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The Day You Begin Book Poster Image
Encouraging advice for kids who feel excluded or less than.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2018)
(2018)
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Don't Touch My Hair! Book Poster Image
Girl speaks up, sets boundaries in funny picture book.
By Sharee Miller
(2019)
(2019)
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Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race Book Poster Image
Picture book intro to important, inspirational story.
By Margot Lee Shetterly, Winifred Conkling
(2018)
(2018)
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Jazz Age Josephine Book Poster Image
Jazzy bio of Josephine Baker inspiring, bittersweet.
By Jonah Winter
(2012)
(2012)
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Rosa Book Poster Image
Spectacular illustrations spotlight Parks' historic protest.
By Nikki Giovanni
(2006)
(2006)
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Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice Book Poster Image
Powerful story helps guide talk of bias, shootings.
By Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard
(2020)
(2018)
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All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom Book Poster Image
Poignant imagining of enslaved people learning of freedom.
By Angela Johnson
(2014)
(2014)
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The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial Book Poster Image
Inspiring, educational story of 1800s civil rights heroes.
By Susan E. Goodman
(2016)
(2016)
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Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan Book Poster Image
Document inspires vivid, moving portraits of slaves' lives.
By Ashley Bryan
(2016)
(2016)
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Let the Children March Book Poster Image
Powerful art amplifies inspiring civil rights protest tale.
By Monica Clark-Robinson
(2019)
(2018)
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Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X Book Poster Image
Malcolm X's daughter portrays his childhood in earnest bio.
By Ilyasah Shabazz
(2013)
(2014)
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Nelson Mandela Book Poster Image
Stellar art portrays key aspects of Mandela's life for kids.
By Kadir Nelson
(2013)
(2013)
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Show Way Book Poster Image
Beautiful story of family's journey from slavery to freedom.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2006)
(2006)
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The Undefeated Book Poster Image
Poetic tribute to African American heroes and struggles.
By Kwame Alexander
(2019)
(2019)
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The Youngest Marcher: The True Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Right Activist Book Poster Image
Charming, inspiring tale of 9-year-old protester.
By Cynthia Levinson
(2017)
(2017)
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I Am Martin Luther King, Jr.: Ordinary People Change the World Book Poster Image
Kid-friendly bio a strong, accessible intro to King's life.
By Brad Meltzer
(2016)
(2016)
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Ida B. Wells: Discovering History's Heroes Book Poster Image
Inspiring biography of courageous civil rights pioneer.
By Diane Bailey
(2020)
(2019)
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The Legendary Miss Lena Horne Book Poster Image
Solid intro to singer, movie star, civil rights activist.
By Carole Boston Weatherford
(2017)
(2017)
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Black Brother, Black Brother Book Poster Image
Boy challenges school bully in exciting sports story.
By Jewell Parker Rhodes
(2020)
(2020)
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Blended Book Poster Image
Honest, warm story of family, identity, police brutality.
By Sharon M. Draper
(2019)
(2018)
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Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, Inspired by Historical Facts Book Poster Image
Fact-filled look at rights leaders' intertwined lives.
By Nikki Grimes
(2015)
(2015)
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Kid Activists: True Tales of Childhood from Champions of Change Book Poster Image
Inspiring, relatable look at young lives of adult activists.
By Robin Stevenson
(2019)
(2019)
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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Book Poster Image
Inspirational bios of trailblazing African American women.
By Vashti Harrison
(2017)
(2017)
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Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History Book Poster Image
Brief biographies of notable black men inspire, educate.
By Vashti Harrison, Kwesi Johnson
(2019)
(2019)
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New Kid Book Poster Image
Funny, heartfelt middle school tale explores race, class.
By Jerry Craft
(2019)
(2019)
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Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness Book Poster Image
Kid learns the dangers of white privilege in powerful story.
By Anastasia Higginbotham
(2020)
(2018)
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The Parker Inheritance Book Poster Image
Kids investigate past racist incident in thrilling mystery.
By Varian Johnson
(2018)
(2018)
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A Good Kind of Trouble Book Poster Image
Girl learns to be brave in triumphant coming-of-age tale.
By Lisa Moore Ramée
(2019)
(2019)
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Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Six Guiding Beliefs (As Told by His Niece) Book Poster Image
A heartfelt intro to King's peaceful protest movement.
By Angela Farris Watkins
(2015)
(2014)
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My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth Book Poster Image
Inspirational and informative intro to an American hero.
By Ann Turner
(2015)
(2015)
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The Only Black Girls in Town Book Poster Image
Girls track down a secret in compelling, lighthearted tale.
By Brandy Colbert
(2020)
(2020)
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Todos Iguales / All Equal: Un Corrido De Lemon Grove / A Ballad of Lemon Grove Book Poster Image
Powerful true story of immigrants' victory for equal rights.
By Christy Hale
(2019)
(2019)
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We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices Book Poster Image
Inspiring advice from diverse authors and illustrators.
By Wade Hudson, Cheryl Willis Hudson
(2018)
(2018)
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Wishtree Book Poster Image
Moving, gentle friendship story tackles anti-Muslim bigotry.
By Katherine Applegate
(2017)
(2017)
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Bud, Not Buddy Book Poster Image
Well-crafted tale of orphan boy's search for home.
By Christopher Paul Curtis
(2004)
(1999)
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Clean Getaway Book Poster Image
Boy and grandma's thrilling ride through U.S., family past.
By Nic Stone
(2020)
(2020)
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Front Desk Book Poster Image
Immigrant kid tackles racism, bullying in powerful tale.
By Kelly Yang
(2019)
(2018)
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The Journey of Little Charlie Book Poster Image
Tense, powerful novel of boy and slave catcher in 1858.
By Christopher Paul Curtis
(2018)
(2018)
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Stella by Starlight Book Poster Image
Compelling, nuanced tale of loving family under segregation.
By Sharon M. Draper
(2014)
(2015)
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Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement Book Poster Image
Frank, poetic picture book bio has dazzling art.
By Carole Boston Weatherford
(2016)
(2015)
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The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 Book Poster Image
A funny novel with a devastating emotional punch.
By Christopher Paul Curtis
(2004)
(1995)
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Betty Before X Book Poster Image
Inspiring, intimate story of activist's early years.
By Ilyasah Shabazz, Renée Watson
(2018)
(2018)
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Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court Book Poster Image
Thoughtful memoir by basketball star and civil rights icon.
By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Raymond Obstfeld
(2018)
(2017)
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Brown Girl Dreaming Book Poster Image
Captivating poems depict coming-of-age in tumultuous 1960s.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2014)
(2014)
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Count Me In Book Poster Image
Powerful, appealing story about 7th grader fighting racism.
By Varsha Bajaj
(2019)
(2019)
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Crow Book Poster Image
Irresistible boy narrator faces turn-of-20th-century racism.
By Barbara Wright
(2012)
(2012)
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Esperanza Rising Book Poster Image
Historical fiction at its best in story of '30s farmworkers.
By Pam Munoz Ryan
(2011)
(2000)
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Ghost Boys Book Poster Image
Heavy look at black kids killed due to bigotry.
By Jewell Parker Rhodes
(2019)
(2018)
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Kira-Kira Book Poster Image
Girl faces racism, sister's cancer in touching tale.
By Cynthia Kadohata
(2005)
(2005)
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The Lions of Little Rock Book Poster Image
Poignant story of a shy girl who speaks for social justice.
By Kristin Levine
(2012)
(2012)
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Other Words for Home Book Poster Image
Hopeful, relatable story of Syrian refugee in middle school.
By Jasmine Warga
(2019)
(2019)
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Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematican Katherine Johnson Book Poster Image
Must-read true story of trailblazing NASA mathematician.
By Katherine Johnson
(2019)
(2019)
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Superman Smashes the Klan Book Poster Image
Asian American teens and Superman vs. racism in retro tale.
By Gene Luen Yang
(2020)
(2020)
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Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March Book Poster Image
Vivid recollections of a teen girl in the Selma march.
By Lynda Blackmon Lowery, Elspeth Leacock, Susan Buckley
(2015)
(2015)
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The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA Book Poster Image
Sweet, deft, thought-provoking tale of the Jim Crow South.
By Brenda Woods
(2019)
(2019)
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1919 The Year That Changed America Book Poster Image
Riveting tale of racial, labor protests, women's vote, more.
By Martin W. Sandler
(2019)
(2019)
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It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Book Poster Image
Comic's engaging memoir of growing up under Apartheid.
By Trevor Noah
(2019)
(2019)
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One Crazy Summer Book Poster Image
A gem, with strong girl characters, '60s black history.
By Rita Williams-Garcia
(2010)
(2010)
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The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights Book Poster Image
Little-known disaster gets overdue, in-depth treatment.
By Steve Sheinkin
(2014)
(2014)
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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Book Poster Image
Compelling tale of family facing racism in '30s Mississippi.
By Mildred D. Taylor
(2004)
(1976)
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This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work Book Poster Image
Empowering activist guide to defying and disrupting racism.
By Tiffany Jewell
(2020)
(2020)
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All American Boys Book Poster Image
Haunting tale of two boys' lives changed by police assault.
By Jason Reynolds, Brendan Kiely
(2015)
(2015)
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All-American Muslim Girl Book Poster Image
Captivating coming-of-age tale explores identity, racism.
By Nadine Jolie Courtney
(2020)
(2019)
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Almost American Girl Book Poster Image
Tender graphic memoir of Korean teen's immigrant experience.
By Robin Ha
(2020)
(2020)
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If I Ever Get Out of Here Book Poster Image
Relatable story of music-loving Native American boy in '70s.
By Eric Gansworth
(2013)
(2013)
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Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots Book Poster Image
Vibrant novel in verse shows anti-Latino racism in '40s L.A.
By Margarita Engle
(2018)
(2018)
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Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case Book Poster Image
Powerful true tale of mixed-race couple's fight for justice.
By Patricia Hruby Powell
(2017)
(2017)
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Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream Book Poster Image
Compelling history of an epic journey that changed America.
By Blair Imani
(2020)
(2020)
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March: Book One Book Poster Image
Powerful graphic novel captures spirit of desegregation.
By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
(2013)
(2013)
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Miles Morales: Spider-Man Book Poster Image
Exciting, smart, cool version of comic book superhero teen.
By Jason Reynolds
(2017)
(2017)
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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You Book Poster Image
Conversational history traces U.S. ideas about race.
By Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi
(2020)
(2020)
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The Tequila Worm Book Poster Image
Moving tale of Latina going to white boarding school.
By Viola Canales
(2006)
(2006)
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They Called Us Enemy Book Poster Image
Powerful graphic memoir of actor's internment as a child.
By George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott
(2019)
(2019)
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To Kill a Mockingbird Book Poster Image
Stunning classic examines racism -- and justice.
By Harper Lee
(2004)
(1960)
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We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide Book Poster Image
A must-read history of racism and oppression in America.
By Carol Anderson, Tonya Bolden
(2018)
(2018)
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The 57 Bus Book Poster Image
True story of teens' fateful encounter and its aftermath.
By Dashka Slater
(2017)
(2017)
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American Born Chinese Book Poster Image
First graphic novel to win major child lit awards.
By Gene Luen Yang
(2007)
(2006)
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Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice Book Poster Image
Dramatic story of forgotten teen civil rights hero.
By Phillip M. Hoose
(2009)
(2009)
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The Fire Next Time Book Poster Image
Baldwin's essays are essential reading to understand racism.
By James Baldwin
(2020)
(1963)
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The Hate U Give Book Poster Image
Powerful story of police shooting of unarmed Black teen.
By Angie Thomas
(2017)
(2017)
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My Family Divided: One Girl's Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope Book Poster Image
Heartbreaking, inspiring memoir of popular actress.
By Diane Guerrero, Erica Moroz
(2018)
(2018)
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Our Wayward Fate Book Poster Image
Taiwanese American teens tackle racism in heartfelt tale.
By Gloria Chao
(2019)
(2019)
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Piecing Me Together Book Poster Image
Powerful, insightful tale of self-awareness, power of art.
By Renée Watson
(2017)
(2017)
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This Time Will Be Different Book Poster Image
Captivating story of teen confronting the racist past.
By Misa Sugiura
(2019)
(2019)
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Watch Us Rise Book Poster Image
Inspiring teen activists join forces in sweet friends tale.
By Renée Watson, Ellen Hagan
(2019)
(2019)
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Black Boy Book Poster Image
Moving autobiography reveals brutality of Jim Crow South.
By Richard Wright
(2011)
(2007)
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Dear Martin Book Poster Image
Boy faces racial profiling in powerful, realistic tale.
By Nic Stone
(2017)
(2017)
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How It Went Down Book Poster Image
Haunting look at killing of unarmed African American teen.
By Kekla Magoon
(2015)
(2014)
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I Am Alfonso Jones Book Poster Image
Powerful graphic novel explores police brutality.
By Tony Medina
(2017)
(2017)
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I'm Not Dying With You Tonight Book Poster Image
Girls forge friendship amid night of rioting in deep novel.
By Gilly Segal, Kimberly Jones
(2019)
(2019)
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Saving Savannah Book Poster Image
Teen leaves bubble of privilege in exciting historical tale.
By Tonya Bolden
(2020)
(2020)
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Who Put This Song On? Book Poster Image
Eccentric teen girl fights depression in moving story.
By Morgan Parker
(2019)
(2019)
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X: A Novel Book Poster Image
Thrilling and tragic novel about Malcolm X's troubled youth.
By Ilyasah Shabazz, Kekla Magoon
(2016)
(2016)
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All the Days Past, All the Days to Come Book Poster Image
Young woman finds independence in compelling saga finale.
By Mildred D. Taylor
(2020)
(2020)
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Barely Missing Everything Book Poster Image
Eye-opening tale of Latinx teen boys facing racism, despair.
By Matt Mendez
(2019)
(2019)
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Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor Book Poster Image
28-day program for teens, families to become anti-racist.
By Layla F. Saad
(2020)
(2020)
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Out of Darkness Book Poster Image
Beautifully written look at racism and love in 1930s Texas.
By Ashley Hope Pérez
(2016)
(2015)
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The Underground Railroad Book Poster Image
Riveting, thought-provoking, brutal runaway slave story.
By Colson Whitehead
(2016)
(2016)
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Song of Solomon Book Poster Image
Brilliant but mature classic explores racism, gender, power.
By Toni Morrison
(2005)
(1977)
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Who Put This Song On? Book Poster Image
Eccentric teen girl fights depression in moving story.
By Morgan Parker
(2019)
(2019)
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