Children's Literature

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Education Librarian

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Laura Cameron
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Anti-Racism and Social Justice Books

The Hate U Give

LRC Location: Young Adult
Call Number: PS3620.H62463 H38 2017

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name.

The Poet X

LRC Location: Young Adult
Call Number: PS3601.C475 P64 2018

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers--especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

Dear Martin

LRC Location: Young Adult
Call Number: PZ7.1.S7546 De 2017  

After a traffic stop turns violent at the hands of the police, a young Black teen grapples with racism--and what it means for his future. Critically acclaimed author Nic Stone boldly tackles America's troubled history with race relations in her gripping debut novel.

Racism

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: HT1521 .B78 2019

What is racism? How does racism happen? What can we do to stop it? Discover more about racist behavior and how to spot and report it in Racism, part of the World Issues series.

A Kids Book about Racism

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: HT1521 .M442 2019

Yes, this really is a kids book about racism. Inside, you'll find a clear description of what racism is, how it makes people feel when they experience it, and how it makes people feel when they experience it, and how to spot it when it happens. This is one conversation that's never too early to start, and this book was written to be an introduction for kids on the topic.

A Kids Book about Systemic Racism

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: HT1521 .T485 2020

This book was made to help kids understand what systemic racism is and how it's built into laws, schools, stories, and other institutions in a way that collectively makes life much harder for people of color.

A Kids Book about White Privilege

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: E184.A1 S27 2020

This book was made to help kids understand what systemic racism is and how it's built into laws, schools, stories, and other institutions in a way that collectively makes life much harder for people of color.

We Are Not Free

LRC Location: Young Adult
Call Number: PS3603.H4436 W4 2020

Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps. In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart.

MLK and Civil Rights Books

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr. ?

LRC Location: Biographies
Call Number:  E185.97.K5 B325 2008

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was only 25 when he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott and was soon organizing black people across the country in support of the right to vote, desegregation, and other basic civil rights. Maintaining nonviolent and peaceful tactics even when his life was threatened, King was also an advocate for the poor and spoke out against racial and economic injustice until his death'from an assassin's bullet'in 1968. With clearly written text that explains this tumultuous time in history and 80 black-and-white illustrations, this Who Was? celebrates the vision and the legacy of a remarkable man.

The Undefeated

LRC Location: Picture Books
Call Number: PS3601.L35388 U53 2019

Originally performed for ESPN's The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present.

We March

LRC Location: Picture Books
Call Number:  PZ7.E8924 We 2012

On August 28, 1963, a remarkable event took place--more than 250,000 people gathered in our nation's capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march began at the Washington Monument and ended with a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech, advocating racial harmony. Many words have been written about that day, but few so delicate and powerful as those presented here by award-winning author and illustrator Shane W. Evans. When combined with his simple yet compelling illustrations, the thrill of the day is brought to life for even the youngest reader to experience.

Sit-In

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: E185.61 .P596 2010

It was February 1, 1960. They didn't need menus. Their order was simple. A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side. This picture book is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement.

X: a Novel

LRC Location: Young Adult
Call Number: PS3619.H32 X3 2015

X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

Twelve Days in May

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: E185.96 .B798 2017

On May 4, 1961, a group of thirteen black and white civil rights activists launched the Freedom Ride, aiming to challenge the practice of segregation on buses and at bus terminal facilities in the South. The Ride would last twelve days. Despite the fact that segregation on buses crossing state lines was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1946, and segregation in interstate transportation facilities was ruled unconstitutional in 1960, these rulings were routinely ignored in the South. The thirteen Freedom Riders intended to test the laws and draw attention to the lack of enforcement with their peaceful protest. As the Riders traveled deeper into the South, they encountered increasing violence and opposition.

The Little Rock Nine

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: LC214.23.L56 M55 2004

Students will learn many valuable lessons from these African American students in Little Rock, Arkansas. The bravery of these nine students and the resistance they had to overcome in order to attend a previously segregated school will surprise and interest kids. With the help of the National Guard, these courageous students were escorted to school amid protests and anger. Even young people can be heroes, as the Little Rock Nine proves in this engaging book!

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: F334.S4 L69 2015

As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Albama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes. Jailed nine times before her fifteenth birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African-Americans. In this memoir, she shows today's young readers what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history. Straightforward and inspiring, this beautifully illustrated memoir brings readers into the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, complementing Common Core classroom learning and bringing history alive for young readers.

Because They Marched

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: F334.S4 F74 2014

In January 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a voting rights march and was attacked by a segregationist. In February, the shooting of an unarmed demonstrator by an Alabama state trooper inspired a march from Selma to the state capital. The event got off to a horrific start on March 7 as law officers brutally attacked peaceful demonstrators. But when vivid footage and photographs of the violence was broadcast throughout the world, the incident attracted widespread outrage and spurred demonstrators to complete the march at any cost.

The Port Chicago 50

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: D810.N4 S44 2014

On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution. The Port Chicago 50 is a fascinating story of the prejudice and injustice that faced black men and women in America's armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights.

The Girl from the Tar Paper School

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: E185.97.J59 K35 2014

In 1951, witnessing the unfair conditions in her racially segregated high school, Barbara Johns led a walkout--the first public protest of its kind demanding racial equality in the U.S.--jump starting the American civil rights movement. Ridiculed by the white superintendent and school board, local newspapers, and others, and even after a cross was burned on the school grounds, Barbara and her classmates held firm and did not give up. Her school's case went all the way to the Supreme Court and helped end segregation as part of Brown v. Board of Education.

Who Was Rosa Parks?

LRC Location: Biographies
Call Number: F334.M753 P38556 2010

In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. This seemingly small act triggered civil rights protests across America and earned Rosa Parks the title "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement." This biography has black-and-white illustrations throughout.

A Dream of Freedom

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: E185.61 .M39 2004

In this history of the modern Civil Rights movement, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Diane McWhorter focuses on the monumental events that occurred between 1954 (the year of Brown versus the Board of Education) and 1968 (the year that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assasinated). Beginning with an overview of the movement since the end of the Civil War, McWhorter also discusses such events as the 1956 MTGS bus boycott, the 1961 Freedom Rides, and the 1963 demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama, among others.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer

LRC Location: Biographies
Call Number: E185.97.H35 W43 2015

Stirring poems and stunning collage illustrations combine to celebrate the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a champion of equal voting rights. "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired." Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. Integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964, Ms. Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that, despite President Johnson's interference, aired on national TV news and spurred the nation to support the Freedom Democrats. Featuring vibrant mixed-media art full of intricate detail, Voice of Freedom celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer's life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength.

Martin's Dream Day

LRC Location: Non-fiction
Call Number: E185.97.K5 K45 2017

This day--August 28, 1963--was a momentous day in the Civil Rights Movement. It was the culmination of years spent leading marches, sit-ins, and boycotts across the South to bring attention to the plight of African Americans. Years spent demanding equality for all. Years spent dreaming of the day that black people would have the same rights as white people, and would be treated with the same dignity and respect. It was time for Martin to share his dream.