Thought-provoking fiction and nonfiction books to read or listen to, in print and online for teens and adults.
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+
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.
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 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+
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.
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+
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.
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+
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, 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 fiction book and e-book. “In a near-future Southern city, everyone is talking about a new experimental medical procedure that boasts unprecedented success rates. In a society plagued by racism, segregation, and private prisons, this operation saves lives with a controversial method--by turning people white. Like any father, our unnamed narrator just wants the best for his son Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. But in order to afford Nigel's whiteness operation, our narrator must make partner as one of the few black associates at his law firm, jumping through a series of increasingly absurd hoops--from diversity committees to plantation tours to equality activist groups--in a tragicomic quest to protect his son. This electrifying, suspenseful novel is, at once, a razor-sharp satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. In the tradition of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, We Cast a Shadow fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love."-- Provided by publisher. 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.
Adult nonfiction book, and e-book. “If it weren't for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight." -- Amazon.com. Age: 13+
YA fiction book, and e-book. "Set in a futuristic, hostile Orleans landscape, Fen de la Guerre must deliver her tribe leader's baby over the Wall into the Outer States before her blood becomes tainted with Delta Fever."--Provided by publisher. Age: 13+
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+