Recent events and protests are highlighting injustices that exist in nearly every aspect of our lives… socially, economically and politically… injustices that some Americans know too well.
What we’re hearing, seeing and learning may be difficult, emotional and even uncomfortable. However, the subject matter is sparking a reflection of our actions and creating a deep awareness of our biases.
Richland Library wants to help members of our community gain a better understanding of race, equity and inclusion.
Members from the library’s Let’s Talk Race Team curated a collection of diverse titles for all age groups to further conversations that we are having with our families, friends, neighbors and colleagues.
Books for Children
Please consider reading or listening to the following recommendations.
This year’s Caldecott medal winner is a love letter to Black Americans - their triumphs and their tragedies, their loves and their losses. Kwame Alexander’s words and Kadir Nelson’s images create a must-read masterpiece of black history full of future promise.
Black Magic Dinah Johnson (Author) & R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator)
A rhyme, a chant, a rhythm – “Black Magic” is a sweet celebration of blackness written by Columbia, SC’s own Dinah Johnson and illustrated by the award-winning R. Gregory Christie. Books that center the Black experience with joy are essential and, unfortunately, uncommon. Publishing trends are changing, but when everyone buys and reads black books by Black authors, we insure these stories will become mainstays in bookstores, libraries and in our homes.
“When you know the truth, you have the key that will set you free. Read a book.” - from the sign of The National Memorial African Bookstore
Lewis Michaux was the founder of The National Memorial African Bookstore (1932-1974). Located in Harlem, this store was a place to learn about hidden history and a place to connect with one another. It was the heart of the community and attracted Black luminaries of the day, like Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali. Read “The Book Itch” and experience a bookstore founded to support Black learning and promote Black pride.
This collection of inspiration, advice, memories, dreams and images is meant to be explored together - as a family. Writers, like Jacqueline Woodson, Carole Boston Weatherford and Jason Reynolds, and illustrators, like Ekua Holmes, Eric Velasquez and Vanessa Brantley-Newton, invite families, specifically families of color, to read and seek comfort, to read and take heart, to read and find courage.
A Newbery award-winner and a classic, “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” is part of the Logan Family series based on Mrs. Taylor’s own family history. A tight-knit family who live on the land that they own, the Logans and their community work to weather the hard and uncertain times brought on by the Great Depression. The Logan children are also growing more independent, and as they do, they encounter bigotry and structural racism. An important book to share as a family to understand our nation’s history and the imperfect quality of freedom.
Books for Teens
Please consider reading or listening to the following recommendations.
Marvin's twin brother, Tyler, goes missing and is later found murdered by a police officer. Confronted with grief, racism and police brutality, Marvin must learn to continue to fight the injustices that plague his community.
Part guidebook, part workbook, part history lesson - this is aimed at teens and tweens who are ready to enact anti-racist change. With journal prompts to help "grow from our discomfort", specific ways to take action, and engaging illustrations, this is the ultimate guidebook for working in solidarity against racism.
After a racially-charged incident at a high school football game escalates into a riot in the city, two teens - Lena who is Black and Campbell who is white - are thrown together and must rely on one another to survive. This duel-perspective YA (Young Adult) novel is sure to spark conversations about racism, prejudice and implicit bias.
“This is NOT a history book. This is a book about the here and now. A book to help us better understand why we are where we are. A book about race.”
In this brilliant young adult version of the National Book Award-winning “Stamped from the Beginning” by the esteemed Ibram X. Kendi, Young Adult author Jason Reynolds breaks down the history of racism in an accessible, enlightening and interesting way, giving much food for thought and tools to become actively anti-racist.
This National Book Award-winning memoir teeters on being proclaimed a modern classic. It’s a heavy, but accessible, view into America's history of violence against Black people and what it is like to "inhabit a Black body". Written as a letter to his 15-year-old son, Samori, Coates poetically navigates his way through the history of his upbringing, growing up Black in Baltimore, life after the birth of his son, and the sobering view into a woman's life whose son was murdered by police. The common thread of living in constant fear weaves this letter together as systemic racism, slavery, mass incarceration and police brutality are explored and uncovered. Honest, raw and far from sugar-coated. The author narrates the audio version.
Anti-racism educator and professional diversity trainer Robin DeAngelo maps out the dangers of white defensiveness when the topic of race, systemic racism, and white privilege arise. Commonly referred to as "Racism 101 for white people,” this book lays out ways that white people can begin to sit in the uncomfortable reality of their emotions that cause, perhaps unintentionally, harm to people of color and perpetuate white supremacy that plagues our society. The perfect book for white people who believe themselves to be anti-racist looking to learn, grow and enact change.
Filled with scientific research and evidence-based studies that show how our implicit biases, which stem from our lived experiences and culture, affect the human brain's ability to view the world objectively when it comes to race.
Dr. Fleming breaks down why our society has us growing up to be "stupid" about race because that is how the system has been designed. Filled with historical research and societal analysis, this book helps the reader unlearn the racist ideas that have been fed to us for decades.
The bite-size chapters and earnest and concise writing make this book accessible to all who wish to talk about race, as well as for those who don't want to. From cultural appropriation to the school-to-prison pipeline, topics of timely interest are examined and explained in a straight-forward, conversational tone.
Shift the historical lens from a Eurocentric view to the perspective of the oppressed in America, and you get a very different history lesson than what was taught in school. Paul Ortiz describes the intersectionality of the cultures presented and Emancipatory internationalism in great detail in this meticulously researched account that includes almost 100-pages of end notes.
This expertly researched non-fiction work closely examines the de jure segregation that has plagued American cities and the scaffolding of systemic racism and its enduring repercussions. This dense and richly detailed exposé uncovers cases and decisions in local, state and federal governments that further ignited America's racial divide in regards to public housing, mortgage lending, racial zoning, school funding, and the unequal policing of these laws and how these decisions exacerbated the economic divide in our nation. An important read for anyone interested in the history of segregation and how those policies have shaped our world today.
Inspired by Saad's 2018 wildly popular Instagram challenge of uncovering racist behaviors, this workbook is designed to be read and worked through over 28 days with journal prompts at the end of each chapter and questions to further ponder at the end of the book, which help readers become aware of their white privilege and how they can use it to help dismantle racism that embedded into our everyday lives.
These book recommendations were compiled by Richland Library's Let's Talk Race team and appeared in the July 10 issue of The State Newspaper. Find more resources, recommendations and information on race, equity and inclusion, here.