Thought-provoking fiction and nonfiction books to read or listen to, in print and online for teens and adults.
YA fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. In a near-future society that claims to have gotten rid of all monstrous people, a creature emerges from a painting seventeen-year-old Jam's mother created, a hunter from another world seeking a real-life monster. Age: 12+
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. “In the Deep South of the 1950's, a color line was etched in blood across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross that line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. What happened to John Howard Griffin--from the outside and within himself--as he made his way through the segregated Deep South is recorded in this searing work of nonfiction. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity every American must read.“ —from the publisher. Age: 14+
Adult nonfiction e-audiobook. Jezebel's sexual lasciviousness, Mammy's devotion, and Sapphire's outspoken anger--these are among the most persistent stereotypes that black women encounter in contemporary American life. Hurtful and dishonest, such representations force African American women to navigate a virtual crooked room that shames them and shapes their experiences as citizens. Many respond by assuming a mantle of strength that may convince others, and even themselves, that they do not need help. But as a result, the unique political issues of black women are often ignored and marginalized. Age: Adult.
Child nonfiction book, e-book, audiobook on cd, and e-audiobook. “Examines the events and forces leading up to 1919 race riots in Chicago."--Provided by publisher. Age: 12+
Adult nonfiction book, and audiobook on cd. “A powerful, timely, dazzling collection of sonnets from one of America's most acclaimed poets, Terrance Hayes, the National Book Award winning author of Lighthead. In seventy poems bearing the same title, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of American, of assassin, and of love in the sonnet form. Written during the first two hundred days of the Trump presidency, these poems are haunted by the country's past and future eras and errors, its dreams and nightmares. Inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, and bewildered--the wonders of this new collection are irreducible and stunning."-- Provided by publisher. Age: Adult.
YA fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. Young Timothy is sentenced to house arrest after impulsively stealing a wallet, and he is forced to keep a journal into which he pours all his thoughts, fears, and frustrations. Age: 13+
Adult fiction book, and e-audiobook. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives.” —book jacket. Age: Adult.
Adult fiction book, e-book, e-audiobook, and large print. An African-American woman searches for a fulfilling relationship through two loveless marriages and finally finds it in the person of Tea Cake, an itinerant laborer and gambler. Age: 14+
YA fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. When families go missing in Baltimore County, Jane McKeene, who is studying to become an Attendant, finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy that has her fighting for her life against powerful enemies. Age: 14+
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, 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, 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 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+
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 fiction book, e-book, e-audiobook, and large print. After Paul D. finds his old slave friend Sethe in Ohio and moves in with her and her daughter Denver, a strange girl comes along by the name of "Beloved." Sethe and Denver take her in and then strange things begin to happen. Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this profoundly affecting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath is Toni Morrison's greatest novel, a dazzling achievement, and the most spellbinding reading experience of the decade. A brutally powerful, mesmerizing story ... read it and tremble. Age: 15+
Adult fiction book, e-book, audiobook on cd, e-audiobook, and large print. It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove -- a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others -- who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. Age: 14+
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+
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.
YA fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. Told in two voices, sixteen-year-old Audre and Mabel, both young women of color from different backgrounds, fall in love and figure out how to care for each other as one of them faces a fatal illness. Age: 14+
YA fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. When Norris, a Black French Canadian, starts his junior year at an Austin, Texas, high school, he views his fellow students as clichés from "a bad 90s teen movie." Age: 14+
YA fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Told through Rashad and Quinn's alternating viewpoints. Age: 13+
YA fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. Soon after his mother's death, Matt takes a job at a funeral home in his tough Brooklyn neighborhood and, while attending and assisting with funerals, begins to accept her death and his responsibilities as a man. Age: 12+
YA fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn's fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know. Age: 13+
Child fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. “After seventh-grader Jerome is shot by a white police officer, he observes the aftermath of his death and meets the ghosts of other fallen black boys including historical figure Emmett Till."-- Provided by publisher. Age: 10+
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.
Adult science fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. “Yetu holds the memories for her people--water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners--who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one--the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu. Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities--and discovers a world her people left behind long ago. Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past--and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they'll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity--and own who they really are. Inspired by the hit song by Clipping (comprised of Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes), The Deep will resonate long after the last page is turned." --book jacket. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. The executive director of a social advocacy group that has helped relieve condemned prisoners explains why justice and mercy must go hand-in-hand through the story of Walter McMillian, a man condemned to death row for a murder he didn't commit. Age: Adult.
YA fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him. Age: 14+
Adult nonfiction book, and audiobook on cd. The best-selling author of The Divide presents an exploration into the roots and aftermath of the infamous killing of Eric Garner by the police in 2014, sharing insights into the ensuing nationwide series of protests that reinforced the "Black Lives Matter" movement and transformed American politics. Age: Adult.
YA fiction, e-book, audiobook on cd, and e-audiobook. Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip-hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri's got massive shoes to fill. But it's hard to get your come up when you're labeled a hoodlum at school and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral—for all the wrong reasons. Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn't just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public made her out to be. Age: 14+