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Anti-Racism Resources and Reading List

Libraries are places of inclusion and empowerment, dedicated to breaking down barriers to access and resisting inequality. We stand with all libraries in Vermont, and those grieving the death of George Floyd and we recognize the long history of systemic racism and oppression in this country.  As librarians, our instinct is to share information with our patrons, but we are also reading, listening, and learning from our community. To help process what we are experiencing and seeing in the news during these turbulent times, we are building a list of anti-racism resources including books and movies available to check out. It is our hope that this resource will empower and enrich the community discussion.  If you have a suggested resource, please let us know!
--Kevin Unrath, Director, Pierson Library
email: kunrath @ shelburnevt.org
 
Click on the title to go to the library catalog, you can reserve the book there and also read more about it.  The library has a collection of more than 600 titles on the black experience for children and adults, and another 300 eTitles available through Overdrive.  This is just a sampling.
* indicates this title is also available as an ebook on Overdrive/Libby.
 
Examining Racism:

Personal Narratives:

Historical context:

Fiction:

Classics

Historical

Movies

  • Do The Right ThingThe hottest day of the year explodes onscreen in this vibrant look at a day in the life of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. A portrait of urban racial tensions sparked controversy while earning popular and critical praise
  • 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.
  • Malcolm X  – Spike Lee's masterpiece based on the book "The autobiography of Malcolm X" as told to Alex Haley.
  • 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.

For Teens and Children

For Teens - Fiction

Teens Nonfiction:

Kids Picture Books:

  • 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
  • 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
  • March On! by Christine King Farris - Christine King Farris describes how her brother, Martin Luther King, Jr., prepared for his legendary "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C.
  • 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

 

Kid's 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
  • 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
  • Sounder by William Armstrong
    Angry and humiliated when his sharecropper father is jailed for stealing food for his family, a young black boy grows in courage and understanding by learning to read and through his relationship with his devoted dog Sounder. Level: Ages 8-12