Here at KDL, we love promoting #OwnVoices and helping you find the resources to have those tough conversations. With the recent black lives that were lost and the protests that spanned all 50 states and across the world, there is no time like the present to be talking about this and listening to voices that have been suppressed throughout history.
The story of a black boy getting shot by a police officer is the reality that we are living with time and time again. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes starts with 12-year-old Jerome losing his life this way. He lives on as a ghost trying to understand why. Soon, he meets another ghost named Emmett Till, who is from another time, but died under similar circumstances. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer who took Jerome’s life. Together, they help each other make sense of what happened and how historical racism led them all to this point.
We must all be anti-racist because racism isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It has been integrated into our society so deeply that it will take conscious determination to get to where we should be. Stamped by Ibram Kendi and Jason Reynolds is an empowering exploration of where America is today in regards to racism and anti-racism. This YA version of the same title by Dr. Kendi is a great place to start this conversation with kids.
Another empowering read is This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell. Full of 20 lessons on how to take action, this book is geared towards the next generation and how they can stand up to injustice.
To explore the concept of racial injustice further, check out The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. An instant classic when it came out in 2017, this is a must read for everyone. Starr is stuck between two worlds, her home life and the prep school she attends with mostly white peers. One day, she witnesses a policeman shooting and killing her unarmed friend. Headlines across the nation are soon calling him a thug and drug dealer so Starr must find the courage to speak the truth, her truth.
To understand activism and its importance, check out A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee. After Shayla attends a protest, she keeps wearing her Black Lives Matter bracelet. When her school asks her to remove it, she must choose between her identity and her education.
Check out our recommendations page for even more librarian curated picks!