Thought-provoking fiction and nonfiction books to read or listen to, in print and online for teens and adults.
YA fiction book, e-book, audiobook on cd, e-audiobook, and large print. 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. Age: 14+
Adult fiction book, e-book, audiobook on cd, and e-audiobook. “Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie's children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise."-- Provided by publisher. Age: Adult.
Adult fiction book, e-book, e-audiobook, and large print. As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men." In reality, The Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors, where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Age: 15+
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and audiobook on cd. In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson 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. Age: Adult.
YA fiction book, and e-audiobook. Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi and featuring some of the most acclaimed, bestselling Black authors writing for teens today, this is an essential collection of captivating coming-of-age stories about what it's like to be young and Black in America. Age: 14+
Child fiction book and large print, e-book, and audiobook on cd. In the summer of 1988, twelve-year-old Chuck Bell is sent to stay with his grandparents, where he discovers jazz and basketball and learns more about his family's past. Age: 11+
YA fiction book, e-book, audiobook on cd, e-audiobook. Seventeen-year-old Blade endeavors to resolve painful issues from his past to navigate the challenges of his former rockstar father's addictions, scathing tabloid rumors, and a protected secret that threatens his own identity. Age: 14+
YA fiction book, e-book, e-audiobook. “Noah and his best friend Walt want to become cool, make the baseball team, and win over Sam, the girl Noah has loved for years. When Noah finds old love letters, Walt hatches a plan to woo Sam. But as Noah's love life and Walt's baseball career begin, the letters alter everything."-- Provided by publisher. Age: 14+
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. "A civil-rights lawyer's disturbing view of why young black men make up the majority of the more than two million people now in America's prisons. In this explosive debut, Alexander (Law/Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity) argues that the imprisonment of unusually large numbers of young blacks and Latinos--most harshly sentenced for possession or sale of illegal drugs, mainly marijuana--constitutes "a stunningly comprehensive and well-designed system of racialized social control." --from Kirkus Reviews Age: Adult.
Adult fiction e-book. “In 1866 as Tom and his guardian, Eliza Bethune, struggle to adjust to their fashionable apartment in the city in the aftermath of riots that had driven them away a few years before. But soon a stranger arrives from the mysterious island of Edgemere, inhabited solely by African settlers and black refugees from the war and riots, who intends to reunite Tom with his now-liberated mother."--Page  of cover. Age: Adult.
Adult fiction book, e-book, audiobook on cd, and e-audiobook. Describes a day in the life of several members of a Harlem fundamentalist church. The saga of three generations of people is related through flashbacks. Age: 15+
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. At once a powerful evocation of his early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice to both the individual and the body politic, James Baldwin galvanized the nation in the early days of the civil rights movement with his eloquent manifesto. The Fire Next Time stands as one of the essential works of our literature. Age: 15+
Adult nonfiction book, and e-book. In June 1966, an African-American man named James Meredith set out to walk through his home state of Mississippi, intending to fight racism and fear with his feet. The next day, he was shot and wounded in a roadside ambush. Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokely Carmichael, and other civil rights leaders then took up Meredith's cause, determined to overcome this violent act and complete Meredith's walk. This is an account of those events and their impact on the Civil Rights Movement and American society. Age: 12+
Adult nonfiction book, and e-book. Michael Bennett is a Super Bowl Champion, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, a fearless activist, a feminist, a grassroots philanthropist, an organizer, and a change maker. He's also one of the most scathingly humorous athletes on the planet, and he wants to make you uncomfortable. Bennett adds his unmistakable voice to discussions of racism and police violence, Black athletes and their relationship to powerful institutions like the NCAA and the NFL, the role of protest in history, and the responsibilities of athletes as role models to speak out against injustice. Following in the footsteps of activist-athletes from Muhammad Ali to Colin Kaepernick, Bennett demonstrates his outspoken leadership both on and off the field. Written with award-winning sportswriter and author Dave Zirin, Things that Make White People Uncomfortable is a sports book for our turbulent times, a memoir, and a manifesto as hilarious and engaging as it is illuminating. Age: Adult.
Child nonfiction book, and e-book. Presents a young reader's adaptation of Bennett's memoir and manifesto that uses humor to discuss racism and violence, denounce the NFL's abuses, and encourage black athletes in the NCAA and NFL to speak out against injustice both on and off the field. Age: 12+
YA fiction e-book. Fifteen-year-old Tyrell, who is living in a Bronx homeless shelter with his spaced-out mother and his younger brother, tries to avoid temptation so he does not end up in jail like his father. Age: 14+
Child nonfiction book, and e-book. “In 1956, 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. This is the heartbreaking and relatable story of her four months thrust into the national spotlight and as a trailblazer in history. Based on original research and interviews and featuring backmatter with archival materials and notes from the authors on the co-writing process."-- Provided by publisher. Age: 10+
Adult fiction book, and e-book. “On a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer's twin sister Summer walks to the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again, the door to the roof is locked, and no footsteps are found. Faced with authorities indifferent to another missing woman, Autumn must pursue answers on her own, all while grieving her mother's recent death. With her friends and neighbors, Autumn pretends to hold up through the crisis. She falls into an affair with Summer's boyfriend to cope with the disappearance of a woman they both loved. But the loss becomes too great, the mystery too inexplicable, and Autumn starts to unravel, all the while becoming obsessed with murdered women and the men who kill them."-- Provided by publisher. Age: Adult.
Adult fiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. In an alternate history novel, Lincoln escapes assassination by John Wilkes Booth only to face impeachment, and Abigail Canner, a young black woman involved in his defense, helps investigate the murder of the president's counsel. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, e-audiobook, and large print. In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Age: 15+
Adult fiction book, e-book, audiobook on cd, e-audiobook, and large print. "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. This strange brush with death forces a new urgency on Hiram's private rebellion. Spurred on by his improvised plantation family, Thena, his chosen mother, a woman of few words and many secrets, and Sophia, a young woman fighting her own war even as she and Hiram fall in love, he becomes determined to escape the only home he's ever known."-- Provided by publisher. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, audiobook on cd, and e-audiobook. “We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.” But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. Groundbreaking book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when discussing racism that serve to protect their positions and maintain racial inequality. In this groundbreaking and timely book, antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility.--Amazon.com Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. When first published in 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk struck like a thunderclap, quickly establishing itself as a work that wholly redefined the history of the black experience in America, introducing the now famous "problem of the color line." In decades since, its stature has only grown, and today it ranks as one of the most influential and resonant works in the history of American thought. This centennial edition contains a landmark Introduction by historian David Levering Lewis that brilliantly demonstrates how The Souls of Black Folk remains indispensable not only to an understanding of the history of race and democracy in America but to considerations of the future of racial and cultural comity in the twenty-first century. Age: Adult
Adult nonfiction book, e-book, and e-audiobook. You don't have to be racist to be biased. Unconscious bias can be at work without our realizing it, and even when we genuinely wish to treat all people equally, ingrained stereotypes can infect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behavior. This has an impact on education, employment, housing, and criminal justice. In Biased, with a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Jennifer Eberhardt offers us insights into the dilemma and a path forward. Age: Adult.
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, and e-book. Touching on subjects like first love, lost love, individuality and the passing of time, each poem captures the fleeting moments we all experience and which stick with us, shaping us into the people we become. Age: Adult.
Adult nonfiction, and e-book. “Recounts the tragic role that some African Americans--as judges, prosecutors, politicians, police officers, and voters--played in escalating the war on crime."-- Provided by publisher Age: Adult.
Nonfiction adult book, and e-book. “A profound new rendering of the struggle by African-Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counter-revolution that resubjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring racist stain on the American mind. The abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked 'a new birth of freedom' in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s America? In this new book, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African-American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the 'nadir' of the African-American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance.“ —provided by the publisher. Age: Adult.
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+
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, 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, 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+