The power of words

In response to the recent events in Minneapolis and across the nation, the Colorado Academy Library Department collaborated with the Director of Inclusivity, Sarah Wright, on the following book list to share with the community. While we don’t have answers, we can encourage conversation and deeper understanding through books. Reading the stories and experiences of others is just one superpower of a good book. Stories build background knowledge, add new perspectives, create dialogue, spark ideas, and can create purpose.

It is challenging to find the words to talk about what is happening in our nation and how we are feeling about it. Even more challenging can be finding ways to talk about race and racism with your children. Finding common ground in a story is a good starting point for conversations addressing these topics. The online community EmbraceRace shares tips for teaching and talking with children about race.

The Library Department hopes that the following book lists will provide information and stories that will inform and empower the CA community in the coming days as we continue to try to understand, empathize, and find purpose during a time in which many are feeling untethered.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all of the incredible titles that exist about these topics, but rather a sampling of some of the ones that the CA librarians have read and found to be particularly valuable, impactful, and important.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Antiracism Titles

Primary Grades – picture books 

*Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews and Bryan Collier (nonfiction)

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James (fiction)

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton (nonfiction)

Hands up! by Breanna J. McDaniel and Shane W. Evans (fiction)

I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo (fiction)

Skin Again by bell hooks and Chris Raschka (fiction)

Saturday by Oge Mora (fiction)

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara (nonfiction)

*It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr (fiction)

Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds (nonfiction)

*Each Kindness by Jaqueline Woodson and E.B Lewis (fiction)

*The Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson and Rafael López (fiction)

Intermediate Grades – picture books and chapter books

*The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (fiction)

*The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson (nonfiction)

*The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (fiction)

I Am Not A Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis, Kathy Kacer, and Gillian Newland (fiction)

Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester and Karen Barbour (nonfiction)

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon (fiction)

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney (nonfiction)

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (fiction)

Kid Activists: True Tales of Childhood from Champions of Change by Robin Stevenson (nonfiction)

That’s Not Fair!: Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice = No Es Justo!: La Lucha de Emma Tenayuca Por La Justicia by Carmen Tafolla (fiction)

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes (nonfiction)

*Revolution by Deborah Wiles (fiction)

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. William (fiction)

*Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson (fiction)

Middle School

*New Kid by Jerry Craft (graphic novel)

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper (fiction)

This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell and Aurelia Durant (nonfiction)

March: Books 1, 2, and 3 by John Lewis (graphic novels)

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi (nonfiction)

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes (fiction)

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (fiction)

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan (fiction)

*The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (fiction)

*Pride by Ibi Zoboi (fiction)

Upper School/Adult

The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah (fiction)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (memoir)

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo (nonfiction)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (fiction)

How We Fight For Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones (memoir)

How to Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (nonfiction)

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (nonfiction)

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (fiction)

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (nonfiction)

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (poetry)

Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward (fiction)

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (fiction)

Titles Addressing Police Relations in Black and African American Communities

Primary Grades

Something Happened in our Town: a child’s story about racial injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard (fiction)

Middle School

I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina (graphic novel)

Monster by Walter Dean Myers (fiction)

All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely (fiction)

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (fiction)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (fiction)

The Day Tajon Got Shot by The Teen Writers of Beacon House (fiction)

Upper School/Adult

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles (fiction)

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon (fiction)

Light it up By Kekla Magoon (fiction)

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Gilly Segal & Kimberly Jones (fiction)

Dear Martin by Nic Stone (fiction)

Upper School/Adult Podcasts

Seeing White by Scene On Radio

Code Switch by NPR

Hear to Slay: The Black Feminist Podcast of Your Dreams by Roxane Gay & Tressie McMillan Cottom

*Starred titles indicate books and authors that are part of Colorado Academy’s summer reading requirements for various grades.