Anti-Racism Reading List & Resources

Stratford is a town with a growing minority population. We unequivocally condemn all forms of violence against Black, Latinos, Indigenous, and all People of Color. The library believes it is important to come forward and publicly state that we believe black lives matter. Libraries are often considered neutral spaces but the Stratford Library is far from neutral on the issue of racism. We can proudly say that the mission of the library " empower and enrich our diverse community by providing access to innovative services, information, and ideas" is one that seeks to directly combat divisiveness, ignorance, hate, and racism in our community. - Adopted by the Stratford Library Board, September 17, 2020

Stratford is a town with a growing minority population. We unequivocally condemn all forms of violence against Black, Latinos, Indigenous, and all People of Color. The library believes it is important to come forward and publicly state that we believe black lives matter. Libraries are often considered neutral spaces but the Stratford Library is far from neutral on the issue of racism. We can proudly say that the mission of the library “…to empower and enrich our diverse community by providing access to innovative services, information, and ideas” is one that seeks to directly combat divisiveness, ignorance, hate, and racism in our community. – Adopted by the Stratford Library Board, September 17, 2020


Libraries are places of inclusion and empowerment, dedicated to breaking down barriers to access and resisting inequality. Stratford Library strives to be a place of inclusion and equality.  We are committed to educating ourselves as well as offering a space for our community to learn, reflect, share & grow as allies.

As librarians, our instinct is to share information with our patrons, but we are also reading, listening, and learning from our community. This list of anti-racism resources includes books, movies, podcasts and links to local and national organizations. We will add to this list as we continue to learn. It is our hope that this resource will empower and enrich our diverse community.

Nonfiction Books

Click on the title to go to the library catalog, you can reserve the book there and also read more about it.
* indicates this title is also available as an ebook on Overdrive/Libby.

Examining Racism:

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt. PhD*

Did That Just Happen?!: Beyond “Diversity”–Creating Sustainable and Inclusive Organizations by Stephanie Pinder

Good White Racist: Confronting Your Role in Racial Injustice by Kerry Connelly

Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi*

Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine

Long Time Coming: Reckoning With Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo*

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather C. McGhee

Tears We Cannot Stop: a Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho

White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo.*

Whitewashing Race: the Myth of a Color-Blind Society by Michael K. Brown

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge*

Who We Be: the Colorization of America by Jeff Chang

You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience: An Anthology by Tarana Burke

Current Events:

Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism by Terry McAuliffe*

The Black and the Blue: a Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement by Matthew Horace and Ron Harris

Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America by Vegas Tenold

The Fire This Time: a New Generation Speaks about Race edited by Jesmyn Ward

Five days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City by Wes Moore

I Can’t Breathe : a Killing on Bay Street by Matt Taibbi

A More Perfect Reunion: Race, Integration, and the Future of America by Calvin Baker

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Policing Black Bodies by Angela J. Hattery and Earl Smith

Suspicion Nation: the Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It by Lisa Bloom

Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil: the Life, Legacy, and Love of My Son Michael Brown by Lezley McSpadden

They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowrey

Links to articles discussing current events:

Black Lives Matter: How far has the movement come?, The Conversation by Kwasi Konadu and Bright Gyamfi

The long history of US racism against Asian Americans, from ‘yellow peril’ to ‘model minority’ to the ‘Chinese virus’ by Adrian De Leon

The Muddled History of Anti-Asian Violence by Hua Hsu

The New Yorker: Did Last Summer’s Black Lives Matter Protests Change Anything?

Scientific American: From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter

Why This Wave of Anti-Asian Racism Feels Different by Cathy Park Hong

Why we must talk about the Asian-American story, too by Brando Simeo Starkey

Personal narratives:

Asian Americans in the Twenty-First Century: Oral Histories of First- to Fourth-generation Americans from China, Japan, India, Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Laos by Joann Faung

Beneath a Ruthless Sun: a True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found by Gilbert King.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates*

Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America by Laila Lalami

Heavy: an American Memoir by Kiese Laymon*

Here For It, or, How to Save Your Soul in America: Essays by Eric Thomas

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou*

I Take My Coffee Black: Reflections on Tupac, Musical Theater, Faith, and Being Black in America by Tyler Merritt

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

Just Mercy: a Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson*

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

Motherhood So White: a Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America by Nefertiti Austin

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins

Walking With The Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by Rep. John Lewis

Where We Stand: Class Matters by bell hooks

You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar

Historical context:

Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks

America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erika Lee

Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie Glaude

The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song by Henry Louis Gates

Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District by Hannibal B. Johnson

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry

The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 by Tim Madigan

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

The Color of Law: a Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein*

Driven Out: The Hidden War Against Chinese America by Jean Pfaelzer

Four Hundred Souls: a Community History of African America, 1619-2019

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight

Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II by Martin W. Sandler

A More Beautiful and Terrible History: the Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History by Jeanne Theoharis

A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South by Ben Montgomery

Stamped From the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi*

Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.*

Tulsa, 1921: Reporting a Massacre by Randy Krehbiel

The Warmth of Other Suns: the Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson*

Link to Explore History

What We Lost In the Fire: Black Wall Street Before the Tulsa Race Massacre – from The Root

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: Resources in the Collections – from Beinecke Library at Yale

Links to get involved and increase awareness:

Citizens Addressing Racial Equity (C.A.R.E.) in the Town of Stratford is made up of volunteers working together to open communication among residents of all ages, socioeconomic groups, and ethnicities in non-confrontational ways to break down stereotypes, build trust and find ways to work together. For more information and to keep up with C.A.R.E, follow their Facebook Page.

National Museum of African American History and Culture. Talking about race, although hard, is necessary. We are here to provide tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation.

Embracing Equity cultivates the mindsets and practices necessary to create an affirming, inclusive, and equitable educational ecosystem.

Showing Up for Racial Justice is a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and to work toward racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts.

How can we help students understand George Floyd’s death in the context of institutionalized racism? The following articles, published over the course of JSTOR Daily’s five years try to provide such context. We will be updating this page with more stories and are working to acquire a reading list about institutionalized racism in the near future. (Note: Some readers may find some of the stories in this syllabus or the photos used to illustrate them disturbing. Teachers may wish to use caution in assigning them to students.) JSTOR Daily is an online publication that contextualizes current events with scholarship.

This public Google Doc was created in May 2020, and intends to serve as a public resource to educate individuals on anti-racism work.

A huge list of books and resources complied by Elizabeth Bird, the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system. Antiracist Resources and Reads: Lists for All Ages

Anti-Racism Resources for all ages. A Project by the Augusta Baker Chair, Dr. Nicole A. Cooke of the University of South Carolina. An amazing collection of links to books, websites and other resources.

The end of racism starts with each of us: Q&A with Vernā Myers, a Ted Talk.

The MSW@USC Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege. This toolkit is meant for anyone who feels there is a lack of productive discourse around issues of diversity and the role of identity in social relationships, both on a micro (individual) and macro (communal) level. Perhaps you are a teacher, youth group facilitator, student affairs personnel or manage a team that works with an underserved population. Training of this kind can provide historical context about the politics of identity and the dynamics of power and privilege or help build greater self-awareness.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice  is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. They have a place to report hate crimes at

Hollaback! is a global, people-powered movement to end harassment — in all its forms. We believe that we all deserve to be who we are, wherever we are.  We believe we all have a role to play in disrupting harassment and building a culture where it is no longer seen as “just the price you have to pay” for being a woman, LGBTQ+, a person of color, or any other marginalized identity. We teach people to take action, and to reach across their own identities to ally with others and establish a united front against harassment each time we witness it. Hollaback! offers a free virtual Bystander Intervention Training to stop anti-Asian/American and xenophobic harassment.

Stop AAPI Hate – In response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University launched the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center on March 19, 2020. The center tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Our approach recognizes that in order to effectively address anti-Asian racism we must work to end all forms of structural racism leveled at Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color.
#IAmNotAVirus – We are an artist led initiative that does impactful work on dismantling racism by guiding individuals to explore their personal stories and think of them through an equity lens so they can make conflict less uncomfortable and become invested in growing  in community.


These books, featuring Black authors, are available to borrow from Stratford Library. Click on the title to go to the library catalog, you can reserve the book there.
* indicates this title is also available as an ebook on Overdrive/Libby, ** available as an ebook on Hoopla.


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones*

The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray.

Crossing the Color Line: Readings in Black and White edited by Suzanne W. Jones

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley*

New England White by Stephen L. Carter

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward*

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward*

Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid*

We Are Taking Only What We Need by Stephanie Powell Watts**

Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson**


The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison*

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison*

Native Son by Richard Wright **

Passing by Nella Larsen**

The Street by Ann Petry**

The Stories of John Edgar Wideman by John Edgar Wideman


Cane River by Lalita Tademy

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi*

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead*

Some Sing, Some Cry by Ntozake Shange & Ifa Bayeza

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead*

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates*

Why read fiction?
Looking through the lens of someone different than yourself is a direct path to empathy…Think about the last book you read. Who was the main character? What was their race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status? Did you relate to the character’s point of view, or was it new to you? Continue reading the article from

Reading Anti-Racist Nonfiction Is a Start. But Don’t Underestimate the Power of Black Fiction by Jasmine Guillory

For Teens – Fiction & Nonfiction (but recommended for adults too!)

These books written for Teens, featuring Black authors, are available to borrow from Stratford Library. Click on the title to go to the library catalog, you can reserve the book there. Thank you to our Teen Librarians for putting this list together.

* indicates this title is also available as an ebook on Overdrive/Libby, ** available as an ebook on Hoopla.


All American Boys by Jason Reynolds*

American Street by Ibi Zoboi**

Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi*

Dear Martin by Nic Stone*

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Fire from the Rock by Sharon M. Draper

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes*

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas*

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson*

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal & Kimberly Jones

Miracle’s Boys by Jacqueline Woodson

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson*

Monster by Walter Dean Myers*

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas*

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson*

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

Slay by Brittney Morris*

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz


Graphic Novels (fiction & nonfiction)

I am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina

March: Book 1, March Book 2, March Book 3 by John Lewis

New Kid by Jerry Craft**


Black Like Me John Howard Griffin**

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson*

Hidden Figures: the American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly*

March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine by Melba Pattillo Beals

How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen

Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward

Of Poetry & Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin edited and compiled by Philip Cushway and Michael Warr

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir by Nikki Grimes

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi*

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele

The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom*

Books For Kids

These books are available to borrow from Stratford Library. Click on the title to go to the library catalog, you can reserve the book there. Thank you to our Children’s Librarians for putting this list together.


A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
An alphabet book that introduces ideas related to activism, including environment justice, feminism, human rights, and more. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-8

The Civil Rights Movement for Kids: A History with 21 Activities by Mary C. Turck
Describes the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans in the 1950s and 1960s and profiles important civil rights leaders. Reading/Interest Level: Varies.

Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the front lines of the civil rights movement by Ann Bausum
This book introduces readers to the concept of nonviolent resistance as practiced by Zwerg, Lewis, and their classmates in Nashville, Tennessee. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-14

Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis
The stories of ten African-American women freedom fighters. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
How Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 6-10

What Color is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, champions a lineup of little-known African-American inventors in this lively, kid-friendly book. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12


Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by: Ilyasah Shabazz
The story of the boy who became one of America’s most influential figures. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 7-12

Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim
A fascinating glimpse into the boyhood of Civil Rights leader John Lewis. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 6-12

Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line by Andrew Maraniss
When Vanderbilt University recruited Wallace to play basketball, he endured hateful experiences as he met the challenge to desegregate the Southeastern Conference. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 13-17

So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary D. Schmidt
The story of a woman who was born into slavery but became a leader in the movement for rights for both women and African Americans. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 4-8

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
A collage-illustrated collection of poems and spirituals inspired by the life and work of civil rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 9-12

When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan
An introduction to the life of Marian Anderson, singer and civil rights activist, whose life and career encouraged social change. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 7-12

Parents’ Collection:

Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, et al.
A story in which a group of friends support each other for who they are. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-8

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano
After discussing the police shooting of a local black man with their families, Emma and Josh know how to treat a new student who looks and speaks differently than his classmates. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 4-8

Picture Books:

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
In 1865, members of a family start their day as slaves, working in a Texas cotton field, and end it celebrating their freedom on what came to be known as Juneteenth. Reading Level/Interest: Ages 5-9

Carter Reads the Newspaper by Deborah Hopkinson
The true story of Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Black History Month. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 6-10

Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton
The daughter of a civil rights activist watches and listens to the struggles, eventually joining her family and thousands of others in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 4-8

Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu
While riding his new bicycle, Desmond’s hurt by the mean word yelled at him by a group of boys, but he soon learns that hurting back won’t make him feel any better. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 6-9

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 4-9

Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons
Alan looks forward to the annual family reunion at the farm where Daddy grew up, but everyone is supposed to share something special and Alan worries about arriving with empty hands. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-8

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
It’s up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this story of self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-8

Jojo’s Flying Side Kick by Brian Pinkney
Everyone gives JoJo advice on how to perform in order to earn her yellow belt in tae kwon do class, but in the end she figures it out for herself. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-8

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero
When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-8

Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin, illustrated by Ebony Glenn
Tameika is a girl who belongs on the stage. She loves to act, sing, and dance–and she’s pretty good at it, too. So when her school announces their Snow White musical, Tameika auditions for the lead princess role. But the other kids think she’s ‘not quite’ right to play the role. They whisper, they snicker, and they glare. Will Tameika let their harsh words be her final curtain call? Reading/Interest Level: Ages 4-8

Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
A celebration of the Woolworth lunch counter sit-in, when four college kids staged a peaceful protest for racial equality during the civil rights movement. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 6-12

We March by Shane W. Evans
Illustrations and brief text portray the events of the 1963 march in Washington, D.C., where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a historic speech. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 4-9

Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson
Introduces young readers to the contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. Reading/Interest Level:  Ages 5-9


Rosa  by Nikki Giovanni
The story of Rosa Parks and her courageous act of defiance. Reading Interest Level: Ages 8-11

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey
When Ruth and her parents take a motor trip from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandma, they rely on a pamphlet called “The Negro Motorist Green Book” to find places that will serve them. Includes facts about “The Green Book.” Reading/Interest Level: Ages 7-12

Easy Readers:

The King & Kayla series by Dori Butler
King, a lovable dog, helps Kayla, his human girl, solve mysteries. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-9

The Mo Jackson series by David Adler
The story of a small boy with a big passion for sports. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-9

Bridge Books:

Jasmine Toguchi series by Debbi Michiko Florence
Spunky eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker! Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-9

Keena Ford series by Melissa Thomson
Keena Ford tackles bossy classmates, mix-ups, and messes with humor. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-9

Lola Levine series by Monica Brown
Follow the funny and realistic adventures of Lola Levine, a biracial, bicultural second-grader. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-9

Yasmin series by Saadia Faruqi
Pakistani American second grader Yasmin learns to cope with the small problems of school and home, while gaining confidence in her own skills and creative abilities. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 5-9

Chapter Books:

Blended by Sharon M. Draper
Piano-prodigy Isabella, eleven, whose black father and white mother struggle to share custody, never feels whole, especially as racial tensions affect her school, her parents both become engaged, and she and her stepbrother are stopped by police. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee
Twelve-year-old Shayla is a rule-follower, but things are changing. Some people are saying she’s not black enough, her sister is involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, and Shay decides it’s most important to take a stand for her beliefs. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12

How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons
Eleven-year-old Ella seeks information about her father while enjoying a visit with her mother, a jazz singer, in Boston in 1944, then returns to the harsh realities of segregated, small-town South Carolina. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds
A collection of ten short stories that all take place in the same day about kids walking home from school. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 10-14

 The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert
In a predominately white California beach town, the only two black seventh-graders, Alberta and Edie, find hidden journals that uncover family secrets and speak to race relations in the past. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
A letter found in an attic leads Candice on a mystery quest concerning an injustice that impacted her grandmother. Reading/Interest Level: 8-12

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon
Caleb Franklin and his younger brother, Bobby Gene, spend an extraordinary summer with their new, older neighbor, Styx Malone, a foster boy from the city. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12

Track series by Jason Reynolds
Four kids with different personalities and from different backgrounds have to find a way to get along when they are all chosen to participate on an elite middle school track team. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 10-14


Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham & Charles Waters
How can Irene and Charles work together on their fifth grade poetry project? They don’t know each other…and they’re not sure they want to. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12

I Am Loved by Nikki Giovanni
A collection of poems celebrating the feeling of being loved. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 4-9

They Call Me Guero: A Border Kid’s Poems by David Bowles
Explores a year in the life of a fun, talented, mischievous, and caring Mexican-American boy. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson
Inspiration for young activists. Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12


Click on the title to go to the library catalog, you can reserve the movie there.

Blackkklansman – Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.

I Am Not Your Negro – Master documentary filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and a flood of rich archival material. A journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter.

If Beale Street Could Talk – A timeless love story set in early 1970s Harlem involving newly engaged nineteen-year- old Tish and her fiance Fonny who have a beautiful future ahead. But their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Now the pair and their families must fight for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream.

The Hate U Give – Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressures from all sides of the community, Starr tries to find her voice in order to stand up for what’s right. Based on the book by Angie Thomas.

Just Mercy – A powerful and thought-provoking true story follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley. One of his first and most incendiary cases is that of Walter McMillian.

Queen & Slim – While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman, are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly becomes a symbol of trauma.

Selma – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historical struggle to secure voting rights for all people. A dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1964.

Links to movies & documentaries:

Pure Wow put together a list of 14 Essential TV Shows & Movies about Racism & Race Relations in America.

People Magazine list TV Shows and Movies You Can Stream to Learn More about Racial Justice and Police Brutality

Recommended by YOU, our readers

Thank you to everyone that took the time to send us books, movies & podcasts to add to this list. Titles available at Stratford Library have also been added to the appropriate categories in the lists (if they were not already there). Stratford Library doesn’t own every book or movie. We can add some titles, other titles can be borrowed via interlibrary loan.


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates *

White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo. *

Stamped From the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi *

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD*

Walking With The Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by Rep. John Lewis.

Urban Trauma: a Legacy of Racism by Maysa Akbar Ph.D., ABPP

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight

Native Son by Richard Wright **

Black Like Me John Howard Griffin

The Invention of the White Race, Vols 1 and 2 by Theodore W. Allen

Anything written by bell hooks

How to Be Less Stupid by Crystal Fleming

Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

The Nutcracker (Penguin Bedtime Classics) by E. T. A. Hoffmann, illustrated by Carly Gledhill

Rapunzel (Once Upon a World) by Chloe Perkins, illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan

Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin, illustrated by Ebony Glenn

Jack & Beanstalk (Penguin Bedtime Classics) by E. T. A. Hoffmann, illustrated by Carly Gledhill

Uncle Tom’s Children by Richard Wright

Cane by Jean Toomer

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color Editors, Cherrie Moraga, Gloria Anzaldua; foreword, Toni Cade Bambara

Yesterday Will Make You Cry by Chester Himes

Poetry Speaks: Hear Great Poets Read Their Work from Tennyson to Plath (include poetry by Gwendlyn Brooks and Melvin Tolson)

Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks

The Harlem Reader: A Celebration of New York’s Most Famous Neighborhood, From the Renaissance Years to the Twenty-First Century, edited by Herb Boyd

The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown by Sterling A. Brown

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison.
Based on her Instagram posts, debut author-illustrator Harrison shares the stories of 40 bold African-American women who shaped history and changed the world. K-Gr 4


The Hate U Give

Queen & Slim

The Blind Side

The Help

Remember the Titans

13th (can watch on Netflix)

When They See Us (can watch on Netflix)


Code Switch (NPR) – What’s CODE SWITCH? It’s the fearless conversations about race that you’ve been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we’re all part of the story.

This American LifeThis American Life is a weekly public radio program and podcast. Each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme.  Episode 707 – In this moment of sorrow, protest, and rage in the wake of George Floyd’s death, we offer this as a break from the dreadful present: our show about Afrofuturism. It’s a way of looking at black culture that’s fantastic and hopeful, which feels especially urgent during a time without a lot of optimism. Featuring the song “The Deep” by clppng

Throughline (NPR) – The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world. American Police-June 4, 2020 -Black Americans being victimized and killed by the police is an epidemic. A truth many Americans are acknowledging since the murder of George Floyd, as protests have occurred in all fifty states calling for justice on his behalf. But this tension between African American communities and the police has existed for centuries. This week, the origins of American policing and how those origins put violent control of Black Americans at the heart of the system.

The Read – Join Kid Fury and Crissle for their weekly podcast covering hip-hop and pop culture’s most trying stars. Throwing shade and spilling tea with a flippant and humorous attitude, no star is safe from Fury and Crissle unless their name is Beyoncé. (Or Blue Ivy.)

APM Reports -In the Dark Season 2 – APM Reports strives to raise awareness, trigger debate and prompt positive change via non-partisan, independent investigative and documentary journalism.Curtis Flowers has been tried six times for the same crime. For more than 20 years, Flowers has maintained his innocence. He’s won appeal after appeal, but every time, the prosecutor just tries the case again. What does the evidence reveal? And why does the justice system ignore the prosecutor’s record and keep Flowers on death row?

Still Processing – Step inside the confession booth of Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, two culture writers for The New York Times. They devour TV, movies, art, music and the internet to find the things that move them — to tears, awe and anger. Still Processing is where they try to understand the pleasures and pathologies of America in 2020.

Vanity Fair has an article on Eight Podcasts to Deepen Your Knowledge of Black History

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