Books on race and antiracism, including fiction and non-fiction titles for readers of all ages.
- by Isabel Wilkerson
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER o OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK o NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST o "An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.
NAMED THE #1 NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR BY TIME, ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People o The Washington Post o Publishers Weekly AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review o O: The Oprah Magazine o NPR o Bloomberg o Christian Science Monitor o New York Post o The New York Public Library o Fortune o Smithsonian Magazine o Marie Claire o Town & Country o Slate o Library Journal o Kirkus Reviews o LibraryReads o PopMatters
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize o National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist o PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction Finalist o PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Longlist
"As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not."
In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.
Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.
- by Walter Dean Myers
Young adult softcover
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A stunning graphic novel adaptation of Walter Dean Myers's New York Times bestseller Monster.
Monster is a multi-award-winning, provocative coming-of-age story about Steve Harmon, a teenager awaiting trial for a murder and robbery. As Steve acclimates to juvenile detention and goes to trial, he envisions how his ordeal would play out on the big screen.
Guy A. Sims, the acclaimed author of the Brotherman series of comic books, collaborated with his brother, the illustrator Dawud Anyabwile, in this thrilling black-and-white graphic novel adaption of Monster.
Monster was the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award recipient, an ALA Best Book, a Coretta Scott King Honor selection, and a National Book Award finalist. Monster is also now a major motion picture called All Rise starring Jennifer Hudson, Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Nas, and A$AP Rocky.
Fans of Monster and of the work of Walter Dean Myers--and even kids who think they don't like to read--will devour this graphic adaptation.
- by Bell Hooks
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From legendary author and critic bell hooks and multi-Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka comes a new way to talk about race and identity that will appeal to parents of the youngest readers.
The skin I'm in is just a covering. It cannot tell my story. If you want to know who I am, you have got to come inside and open your heart way wide.
Race matters, but only so much--what's most important is who we are on the inside. Looking beyond skin, going straight to the heart, we find in each other the treasures stored down deep. Learning to cherish those treasures, to be all we imagine ourselves to be, makes us free.
This award-winning book, celebrates all that makes us unique and different and offers a strong, timely and timeless message of loving yourself and others.
- by Ibi Zoboi
Young adult softcover
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Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today--Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it's like to be young and Black in America. A selection of the Schomburg Center's Black Liberation Reading List.
Black is...sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.
Black is...three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.
Black is...Nic Stone's high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.
Black is...two girls kissing in Justina Ireland's story set in Maryland.
Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more--because there are countless ways to be Black enough.
- by Tiffany Rose
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"Contagiously upbeat, joyful, and positive . . . [C]herish this book." -Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
"A must-have for any library that is in need of books with positive representation for and about black children, as there is no other alphabet book quite like this one." -School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
"A necessary, uplifting volume that celebrates 'black girl magic' and 'black boy joy.'" -Publishers Weekly
M Is for Melanin is an empowering alphabet book that teaches kids their ABCs and celebrates Black children!
M is for Melanin
shining in every inch of your skin.
Every shade, every hue.
All beautiful and unique.
Each letter of the alphabet contains affirming, Black-positive messages, from A is for Afro, to F is for Fresh, to W is for Worthy. This book teaches children their ABCs while encouraging them to love the skin that they're in.
Be bold. Be fearless. BE YOU.
- by Amyra Leon
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"I wonder, then, what freedom is. Is it a place? Is it a thought? Can it be stolen? Can it be bought?"
As powerful as it is beautiful, Freedom, We Sing is a lyrical picture book designed to inspire and give hope to readers around the world. Molly Mendoza's immersive, lush illustrations invite kids to ponder singer/songwriter Amyra León's poem about what it means to be free. It's the perfect book for parents who want a way to gently start the conversation with their kids about finding hope in these very tense times we are living in.
- by C. Carty-williams
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ONE OF TIME'S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
ONE OF NPR'S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2019 BY WOMAN'S DAY, NEWSDAY, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, BUSTLE, AND BOOK RIOT!
"[B]rilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking." --Jojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You
For fans of Luster and I May Destroy You, a disarmingly honest, unapologetically black, and undeniably witty debut novel that will speak to those who have gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.
Queenie Jenkins is a twenty-five-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she's constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places...including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.
As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, "What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?"--all of the questions today's woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.
With "fresh and honest" (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today's world.
- by Marlene E. Mckay
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Forbidden Fruit: Engaging an Indigenous Feminist Lens as an Neninaw Iskwew is a feminist based memoir acknowledging that people are measured, categorized, and placed in a hierarchal order that is deeply influenced by discourses predicated upon social processes.
Dr. McKay's Indigenous feminism is about being aware that due to the colonial patriarchy that has seeped through Indigenous social and cultural systems, Indigenous women are positioned differently in economic, social and political structures. Marlene masterfully uses her own life experiences to assert that colonialism and Indigenous cultures obscure the role of women in a way that continues both their marginalization and the binary of the princess/squaw (p. 11).
- by Darryl Leroux
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Distorted Descent examines a social phenomenon that has taken off in the twenty-first century: otherwise white, French descendant settlers in Canada shifting into a self-defined "Indigenous" identity. This study is not about individuals who have been dispossessed by colonial policies, or the multi-generational efforts to reconnect that occur in response. Rather, it is about white, French-descendant people discovering an Indigenous ancestor born 300 to 375 years ago through genealogy and using that ancestor as the sole basis for an eventual shift into an "Indigenous" identity today. After setting out the most common genealogical practices that facilitate race shifting, Leroux examines two of the most prominent self-identified "Indigenous" organizations currently operating in Quebec. Both organizations have their origins in committed opposition to Indigenous land and territorial negotiations, and both encourage the use of suspect genealogical practices. Distorted Descent brings to light to how these claims to an "Indigenous" identity are then used politically to oppose actual, living Indigenous peoples, exposing along the way the shifting politics of whiteness, white settler colonialism, and white supremacy.
- by Helen Knott
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An unflinching memoir of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds of sexual assault from a resilient, emerging Indigenous voice.
Helen Knott, a highly accomplished Indigenous woman, seems to have it all. But in her memoir, she offers a different perspective. In My Own Moccasins is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption.
With gripping moments of withdrawal, times of spiritual awareness, and historical insights going back to the signing of Treaty 8 by her great-great grandfather, Chief Bigfoot, her journey exposes the legacy of colonialism, while reclaiming her spirit.
"In My Own Moccasins never flinches. The story goes dark, and then darker. We live in an era where Indigenous women routinely go missing, our youth are killed and disposed of like trash, and the road to justice doesn't seem to run through the rez. Knott's journey is familiar, filled with the fallout of residential school, racial injustice, alcoholism, drugs, and despair. But she skillfully draws us along and opens up her life, her family, and her communities to show us a way forward. It's the best kind of memoir: clear-eyed, generous, and glorious....Bear witness to the emergence of one of the most powerful voices of her generation." --Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster and Monkey Beach (from the foreword)
"Helen Knott speaks truth to the experience of Indigenous women living through the violence of colonized spaces and she does so with grace, beauty and a ferocity that makes me feel so proud." --Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of This Accident of Being Lost
"Helen writes beautifully and painfully, about her own life and the lives of many of our sisters. A strong, gentle voice removing the colonial blanket and exposing truth." --Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed
"An incredible debut that documents how trauma and addiction can be turned into healing and love. I am in awe of Helen Knott and her courage. I am a fan for life. Wow." --Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed
"Heartfelt, heartbreaking, triumphant and raw, In My Own Moccasins is a must-read for anyone who's ever felt lost in their life... Actually, it's a must-read for anyone who appreciates stories of struggle, redemption and healing. Knott's writing is confident, clear, powerful and inspiring."
--Jowita Bydlowska, author of Guy: A Novel and Drunk Mom
"Powerful, filled with emotion." --Carol Daniels, author of Bearskin Diary and Hiraeth
"A beautiful rendering of how recovery for our peoples is inevitably about reconnecting with Indigenous identities, lands, cultural and healing practices." --Kim Anderson, author of Reconstructing Native Womenhood
- by Jody Wilson-raybould
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An Indigenous leader who has dedicated her life to Indigenous Rights, Jody Wilson-Raybould has represented both First Nations and the Crown at the highest levels. And she is not afraid to give Canadians what they need most - straight talk on what has to be done to move beyond our colonial legacy and achieve true reconciliation in Canada. In this powerful book, drawn from speeches and other writings, she urges all Canadians - both Indigenous and non-Indigenous - to build upon the momentum already gained or risk hard-won progress being lost. The good news is that Indigenous Nations already have the solutions. But now is the time to act and build a shared postcolonial future based on the foundations of trust, cooperation, recognition, and good governance.
- by M.nourbese Philip
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Blank is a collection of previously out-of-print essays and new works by one of Canada's most important writers and thinkers.
Through an engagement with her earlier work, M. NourbeSe Philip comes to realize the existence of a repetition in the world: the return of something that, while still present, has become unembedded from the world, disappeared. Her imperative becomes to make us see what has gone unseen by writing memory upon the margin of history, in the shadow of empire and at the frontier of silence.
In heretical writings that work to make the disappeared perceptible, Blank explores questions of timeliness, recurrence, ongoingness, art, race, the body politic, and the so-called multicultural nation. Through these considerations, Philip creates a linguistic form that registers the presence of what has seemingly dissolved, a form that also imprints the loss and the silence surrounding those disappearances in its very presence.
Praise for Blank: Interviwes and Essays
"Poet, Essayist, Novelist, Playwright, Public Intellectual: M. NourbeSe Philip is the principal--and most principled--woman-of-letters in English right now. Her every word is a must-read because she writes nothing that doesn't change everything. She isn't politic; she's political. Unabashedly. Her ruthless truth-telling is page-turning and paradigm-overturning." --George Elliott Clarke, Parliamentary Poet Laureate (2016-17)
"To read Blank--new essays as well as selected writings from her 1994 collection Frontiers--is to understand that Philip, in habitual eloquent and poetic prose, was warning us in 1994 about the dystopia of right wing populism, violent racism, and virulent sexism we witness unfolding right here, right now in 2017," --Dr. Richard Douglas-Chin, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Windsor
"In Blank: Interviews and Essays M. NourbeSe Philip shares how the lonely impossibility of black is an articulation of black life. This collection, a gathering of her past and present essays on black diasporic politics, tracks how Philip's poetics emerge from exile--the ungrieveable middle passage and the wreckage of empire enveloping us all, globally. Here we must sit with the inflexible logics of racial capitalism, unfolding in Canada and elsewhere, as these logics are re-languaged by Philip as poetic diasporic struggle. Philip's insights on how race and racism emerge in and beyond Canada, in the form of staged and unstaged misrepresentation, are enmeshed with a politics of (longstanding) refusal that animates the black diaspora." --Katherine McKittrick, Associate Professor, Department of Gender Studies, Queen's University
- by Jacqueline Woodson
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
"A spectacular novel that only this legend can pull off." -Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST, in The Atlantic
"An exquisite tale of family legacy....The power and poetry of Woodson's writing conjures up Toni Morrison." - People
"In less than 200 sparsely filled pages, this book manages to encompass issues of class, education, ambition, racial prejudice, sexual desire and orientation, identity, mother-daughter relationships, parenthood and loss....With Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson has indeed risen -- even further into the ranks of great literature." - NPR
"This poignant tale of choices and their aftermath, history and legacy, will resonate with mothers and daughters." -Tayari Jones, bestselling author of AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, in O Magazine
An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson's taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.
As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody's mother, for her own ceremony-- a celebration that ultimately never took place.
Unfurling the history of Melody's parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives--even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.
- by Dionne Brand
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Griffin Poetry Prize winner Dionne Brand's startlingly original work about the act of writing itself.
On a lonely wharf a clerk in an ink blue coat inspects bales and bales of paper that hold a poet's accumulated left-hand pages--the unwritten, the withheld, the unexpressed, the withdrawn, the restrained. In The Blue Clerk, award-winning poet Dionne Brand stages a conversation and an argument between the poet and the Blue Clerk, who is the keeper of the poet's pages. In their dialogues--which take shape as a series of haunting prose poems--the poet and the clerk invoke a host of writers, philosophers, and artists, from Jacob Lawrence, Lola Keipja, and Walter Benjamin to John Coltrane, Josephine Turalba, and Jorge Luis Borges. Through these essay poems, Brand explores memory, language, culture, and time, offering beautiful and jarring juxtapositions ("The Wire is the latest version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"), and endlessly haunting language ("On a road like this you don't know where you are. Whether you have arrived or whether you are still on your way. Whether you are still at the beginning or at the end. You are in the middle all the time. What would be the sign?").
An essential observer and one of the most accomplished poets writing today, Dionne Brand's latest engages intimately with the act and difficulty of writing, the relationship between the author and the world, and the relationship between the author and art. Profound, moving, and wise in equal parts, The Blue Clerk is a work of staggering intellect and imagination, and a truly sublime piece of writing from one of Canada's most renowned, honoured, and bestselling poets.
- by Dionne Brand
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A smart, sensual and witty novel about what happens when love and intellect are set on a collision course. This compact tour de force affirms Dionne Brand's place as one of Canada's most dazzling and influential artists.
Theory begins as its narrator sets out, like many a graduate student, to write a wildly ambitious thesis on the past, present, and future of art, culture, race, gender, class, and politics--a revolutionary work that its author believes will synthesize and thereby transform the world.
While our narrator tries to complete this magnum opus, three lovers enter the story, one after the other, each transforming the endeavour: first, there is beautiful and sensual Selah, who scoffs at the narrator's constant tinkering with academic abstractions; then altruistic and passionate Yara, who rescues every lost soul who crosses her path; and finally, spiritual occultist Odalys, who values magic and superstition over the heady intellectual and cultural circles the narrator aspires to inhabit. Each galvanizing love affair (representing, in turn, the heart, the head and the spirit) upends and reorients the narrator's life and, inevitably, requires an overhaul of the ever larger and more unwieldy dissertation, with results both humorous and poignant.
By effortlessly telling this short, intense tale in the voice of an unnamed, ungendered (and brilliantly unreliable) narrator, Dionne Brand makes a bold statement not only about love and personhood, but about race and gender--and what can and cannot be articulated in prose when the forces that inhabit the space between words are greater than words themselves.
A gorgeous, profoundly moving, word- and note-perfect novel of ideas that only a great artist at the height of her powers could write.