Education and knowledge are powerful tools in combating racism. It has been our mission to transform lives, support communities, and make our society more open, just, and inclusive for all by bringing learning resources to countless students, teachers, and readers.
In light of recent events—and as students march with parents and loved ones for social justice—we’ve compiled a list of relevant educational resources to help inspire justice and courage. In order to turn the tide and stop the spread of racism, we must start with education. A teacher’s role has never been more important, and we are here to support you!
Below, educators and parents can find books focused on race, anti-racism, and social justice for adults and children alike.
HMH Books about Race, Anti-Racism, and Social Justice:
One of the best ways to understand another person’s lived experience that is different from your own is to read about it. These books, drawn from the previous 70 years of HMH’s bestsellers and prize winners, represent a mixture of genres from poetry to memoir to fiction to self-help. These stories of Black lives in several eras of American history, including contemporary times, will move you. They will make you laugh, cry, and, most importantly, think about the many, many stories that make up the fabric of our country.
- Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow
- The Street by Ann Petry
- Silencer by Marcus Wicker
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- The Deepest Well by Nadine Burke Harris
- Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
- Jubilee by Margaret Walker
- Monument by Natasha Trethewey
- Third Girl from the Left by Martha Southgate
- The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
It’s never too early to plant the seeds of tolerance, and one way to do that is to surround children with stories from varying cultures. Stories from U.S. history, especially of those who had to fight for their rights, are vitally important because they expand the meaning of what it means to be American and illustrate the need for inclusion and social justice.
These books about people acting heroically—some whose names we know, and some whose names go unrecorded—will help children better understand the lives of others. Several of these books include difficult images and stories, so an adult may need to be ready to provide help or an explanation. But the result is a richer appreciation for our world and the need to keep fighting to ensure justice for all.
- The Undeafeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
- Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson, illustrated by Frank Morrison
- The Fierce 44: Black Americans Who Shook Up the World by The Staff of the Undefeated, illustrated by Robert Ball
- March Forward, Girl by Melba Pattillo Beals
- Remember by Toni Morrison
- Lullaby (For a Black Mother) by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Sean Qualls
- A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson
- A Few Red Drops by Claire Hartfield
- Let It Shine by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn
- It All Comes Down to This by Karen English
- I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry by Catherine Clinton, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn
Other Acclaimed Books:
We believe in reading and learning as widely as possible. This is especially the case today, as we all try to expand our thinking about racism and what it means to be anti-racist in America, and to learn how to speak to one another about race and racism. HMH is proud to have published some great books on the topic, but we are by no means the only company to have done so. Here are some books from other publishers that are extremely helpful on the path to understanding.
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Finally, if you’re looking to understand the historic context to this moment we’re in, there are several excellent books about American history and race, but here are three we can highly recommend for their readability and brilliance:
- The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
- Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
- Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, by Eric Foner
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