Books on Race, Anti-Racism, and Social Justice
Conversations about anti-racism, social justice, and the experience of black Americans are extremely important, and the push to continue to amplify black voices and educate the masses about racism and systematic oppression has led teens and adults alike to search for resources to help them be better allies and overall more informed citizens.
Consuming and thoughtfully reflecting upon novels, memoirs, poems, and more that address racism in America, social justice, and reform is one way for students to educate themselves on the experience of black Americans and find ways to constructively and effectively engage in activism.
Outside reading is not just something to do in order to look good on college applications. Reading helps broaden students’ minds and gives them a glimpse into the experiences of authors and characters that look nothing like them. It allows students to think critically about topics and issues that they previously did not understand or may not have even known about. Self-educating is a small step toward enacting real change and is by no means a blanket solution – but it is a good place to start.
Here’s a list of fiction and non-fiction outside reading suggestions on race, anti-racism, and social justice for teens.
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health by Keith Wailoo
- Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper
- Freedom Is A Constant Struggleby Angela Davis
- From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
- Heavy by Kiese Laymon
- How to Be an Anti-Racist and Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
- The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcom X as told to Alex Haley
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, And A New Era In America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
- Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Here are some additional reading lists, podcasts, and resources for students interested in learning more about race, racism, and how to support black communities.
- 1000 Black Girl Books Resource Guide
- 28 great Black History Month books for kids
- 31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance
- Anti-racism Resources for White People
- Code Switch by NPR
- Come Through with Rebecca Carroll
- Mahogany Books
- Pod Save the People
- Shine Brighter Together Podcast by Monique Melton
- The Anti-Racist Reading List