Thought-provoking fiction and nonfiction books to read or listen to, in print and online for teens and adults.
Adult nonfiction. A CNN contributor and former law enforcement officer offers a personal account of the racism, crimes, and color lines that challenge America's police, sharing insights into high-profile cases, the Black Lives Matter movement, and what is needed for change. Age: Adult.
Adult fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. Three-time Hugo Award winner N. K. Jemisin's first collection of short fiction challenges and enchants with breathtaking stories of destruction, rebirth, and redemption. N. K. Jemisin is one of the most powerful and acclaimed speculative fiction authors of our time. In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, Jemisin equally challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story "The City Born Great," a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis's soul. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book. “Journalist and essayist Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing, 2018) journeys to discover her ancestral lineage. As she travels south, she learns the complexity of her genetic heritage, dating back 300 years, and peels back the layers of myths in Black culture.” —from Booklist. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction graphic novel. Covering the key figures and events that have advanced women's rights from antiquity to the modern era, this fascinating graphic novel-style primer illuminates stories of notable women throughout history and the progressive movements led by women that have shaped history. Age: 14+
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. "'The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it -- and then dismantle it.' 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." --Provided by publisher. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, and e-book. “Award-winning author Reynolds (Look Both Ways, 2019, etc.) presents a young readers’ version of American University professor Kendi’s (How To Be an Antiracist, 2019, etc.) Stamped From the Beginning (2016). This volume, which is “not a history book,” chronicles racist ideology, specifically anti-blackness in the U.S., from its genesis to its pernicious manifestations in the present day.” —from Kirkus reviews. Age: 12+
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America--more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, audiobook on cd, and e-audiobook. A memoir by the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement explains the movement's position of love, humanity, and justice, challenging perspectives that have negatively labeled the movement's activists while calling for essential political changes. Age: 14+
Adult nonfiction. Started in the wake of George Zimmerman's 2013 acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has become a powerful and uncompromising campaign demanding redress for the brutal and unjustified treatment of black bodies by law enforcement in the United States. The movement is only a few years old, but as Christopher J. Lebron argues in this book, the sentiment behind it is not; the plea and demand that "Black Lives Matter" comes out of a much older and richer tradition arguing for the equal dignity - and not just equal rights - of black people. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, audiobook on cd, e-audiobook, and large print. An account of the previously unheralded but pivotal contributions of NASA's African-American women mathematicians to America's space program; describes how they were segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws in spite of their groundbreaking successes. Age: 15+
Adult nonfiction graphic novel, and e-book. Welcome to the stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling MARCH trilogy. Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today's world. Age: 13+
Adult nonfiction graphic novel, and e-book. After the success of the Nashville sit-in campaign, John Lewis is more committed than ever to changing the world through nonviolence -- but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before."--page 3 of cover. Age: 12+
Adult nonfiction book, and e-book. The writings of poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature. In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Age: Adult.
Appleton nonfiction book, and audiobook on cd. A behind-the-scenes account of the #blacklivesmatter movement shares insights into the young men and women behind it, citing the racially charged controversies that have motivated members and the economic, political, and personal histories that inform its purpose. Age: Adult.
Child nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. A 50th-anniversary tribute shares the story of the youngest person to complete the momentous Selma to Montgomery March, describing her frequent imprisonments for her participation in nonviolent demonstrations and how she felt about her involvement in historic Civil Rights events. Age: 12+.
Adult nonfiction book, and e-book. “On the Other Side of Freedom reveals the mind and motivations of a young man who has risen to the fore of millennial activism through study, discipline, and conviction. His belief in a world that can be made better, one act at a time, powers his narratives and opens up a view on the costs, consequences, and rewards of leading a movement."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr. -- Provided by publisher. Age: Adult
Adult nonfiction book. A physician reveals how right-wing backlash policies have mortal consequences--even for the white voters they promise to help. In the era of Donald Trump, many lower- and middle-class white Americans are drawn to politicians who pledge to make their lives great again. But as Dying of Whiteness shows, the policies that result actually place white Americans at ever-greater risk of sickness and death. Physician Jonathan M. Metzl's quest to understand the health implications of "backlash governance" leads him across America's heartland. Interviewing a range of everyday Americans, he examines how racial resentment has fueled progun laws in Missouri, resistance to the Affordable Care Act in Tennessee, and cuts to schools and social services in Kansas. And he shows these policies' costs: increasing deaths by gun suicide, falling life expectancies, and rising dropout rates. White Americans, Metzl argues, must reject the racial hierarchies that promise to aid them but in fact lead our nation to demise. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book. “In a landmark book, an extraordinary young woman recounts her coming-of-age as a transgender teen--a deeply personal and empowering portrait of self-revelation, adversity, and heroism. In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she publicly stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Since then, Mock has gone from covering the red carpet for People.com to advocating for all those who live within the shadows of society."-- Provided by publisher. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book. “An account of the 2015 police-brutality killing of Freddie Gray retraces key events from the perspectives of seven insiders, including a conflicted Baltimore Police Department captain, the victim's sister and the owner of the Baltimore Orioles.” —from the publisher. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book. "Through personal essays, criticism, interviews, testimonials, poetry, and visual art, this collection explores, as coeditor Cherrie Moraga writes, 'the complex confluence of identities--race, class, gender, sexuality--systemic to women of color oppression and liberation.'" --Back cover. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book. Albert Murray (1916-2013) was one of the most provocative and original American thinkers of the twentieth century, writing with equal grace and power as an essayist and novelist."--Page 4 of cover. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. A memoir of the African American who grew up listening to stories and who carries on the storytelling tradition in his numerous and award-winning books. Age: 10+
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and audiobook on cd. “Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man's relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life."--publisher's description. Age: 15+
Child nonfiction book, and e-book. If my mother had one goal, it was to free my mind. My mother spoke to me like an adult. She was always telling me stories, giving me lessons. Bible lessons especially. She was big into Psalms. I had to read Psalms every day. She would quiz me on it. " What does the passage mean? What does it mean to you? How do you apply it to your life?" "That was every day of my life. My mom did what school didn't. She taught me how to think. Age: 10+
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, audiobook on Playaway, and e-audiobook. Born a free man in New York State in 1808, Solomon Northup was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., in 1841. He spent the next 12 years as a slave on a Louisiana cotton plantation, and during this time he was frequently abused and often afraid for his life. This is his detailed description of slave life and plantation society, culture and institutions. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, large print edition, e-book, audiobook on CD, and e-audiobook. In her memoir Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world's most famous address. She describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it in her own words and on her own terms. Age: Adult
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father--a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man--has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey₇first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother's family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father's life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance. Age: 14+
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. “A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today's racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.“ —Provided by publisher. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book. “Magical Negro is an archive of black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objectification, while exploring and troubling tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans. Focused primarily on depictions of black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics— of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience. In Magical Negro, Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes, and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present— timeless black melancholies and triumphs." -- Description provided by publisher. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book. From racial profiling to racial literacy : the lessons of 12 angry men. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book. "Emotionally raw and deeply reflective, Imani Perry issues an unflinching challenge to society to see Black children as deserving of humanity. She admits fear and frustration for her African American sons in a society that is increasingly racist and at times seems irredeemable. However, as a mother, feminist, writer, and intellectual, Perry offers an unfettered expression of love--finding beauty and possibility in life--and she exhorts her children and their peers to find the courage to chart their own paths and find steady footing and inspiration in Black tradition." -- Provided by publisher. Age: 14+
Adult nonfiction book. “A gripping tale of racial cleansing in Forsyth County, Georgia and ... testament to the deep roots of racial violence in America ... Patrick Phillips breaks the century-long silence of his hometown and uncovers a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America in the twenty-first century"-- Provided by publisher. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book. "A bracing renewal of civic poetry, from the award-winning essayist and poet."-- Provided by publisher. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book. Police brutality and misconduct have been under the microscope for the last several years. Loretta Prater confronts the far-reaching consequences of police brutality through the personal case of her son, numerous examples of other cases, and a review of related research. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, and e-book. “Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named 'post-race' society."--from publisher's description. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, and e-book. "From Lawrence Ross, author of The Divine Nine and the leading expert on sororities and fraternities, Blackballed is an explosive and controversial book that rips the veil off America's hidden secret: America's colleges have fostered a racist environment that makes them a hostile space for African American students. Blackballed exposes the white fraternity and sorority system, with traditions of racist parties, songs, and assaults on black students; and the universities themselves, who name campus buildings after racist men and women. It also takes a deep dive into anti-affirmative action policies, and how they effectively segregate predominately white universities, providing ample room for white privilege. A bold mix of history and the current climate, Blackballed is a call to action for universities to make radical changes to their policies and standards to foster a better legacy for all students"-- Provided by publisher. Age: 15+
Adult nonfiction book, and e-book. “In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America's cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation―that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.“ —publisher’s description. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. “When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #meandwhitesupremacy, she never predicted it would become a cultural movement. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviors, big and small. She was looking for truth, and she got it... Thousands of people participated in the challenge, and over 80,000 people downloaded the supporting work Me and White Supremacy. Updated and expanded from the original edition, Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too."-- Provided by publisher. Age: Adult.