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Earlier this month was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and we spent day reflecting on his leadership and finding ways to carry on his legacy in 2021 and beyond. We continue to be inspired by the incredible activism of the Black Lives Matter movement, so today we’re highlighting some of our favorite books about the movement and racial injustice in the United States.

 

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Brandele

What better way to learn about the Black Lives Matter movement than to read a memoir from one of the founders of the movement themselves? When Trayvon Martin’s killer went free in 2013, Patrisse Khan-Cullors’ outrage led her to found the BLM movement with Alicia Garza and Opal Tomenti. When They Call You a Terrorist is an account of Khan-Cullors’ life and the moments that lead to her incredible activism. Her story is filled with courageous activism, yes. But it’s also a story about community, love, strength, and joy.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Indiebound

 

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas’ incredible young adult novel The Hate U Give is perfect for teens and adults alike. When sixteen-year-old Starr Carter witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer, she quickly has to grapple with both her anger and her grief. And when this traumatic and personal event makes national headlines, Starr has to make a decision: the place she’ll take in this national uprising.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Indiebound

 

 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Nic Stone’s debut young adult novel Dear Martin is so engrossing that you won’t want to put it down, even when the subject matter becomes difficult to take in. Justyce McAllister is a good kid – an honor student and a loyal friend to boot – but none of that matters to the police officer who put him in handcuffs. To process this event, Justyce starts studying the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., using journaling as a way to write letters to him. But everything takes a turn when Justyce and his best friend Manny get pulled over, and become victims of police violence.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Indiebound

 

 

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

If you haven’t yet read Claudia Rankine’s meditations on race, drop everything and pick up Citizen: An American Lyric, the provocative and long-awaited follow up to Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. Citizen was a well-deserved finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry, but this book contains Rankine’s signature mixed media approach to the examination of racial aggressions against Black people in the United States – drawing on the mediums of poetry, essay, and photography to explore the topic. It’s a deeply moving portrait. And if we had anything to say about it, Citizen would be required reading for the entire country.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Indiebound

 

 

The Fire This Time edited by Jesmyn Ward

Taking a nod from James Baldwin’s The Fire This Time, Jesmyn Ward assembled some of the country’s greatest Black writers to reflect on racism in America today. This collection of essays covers a wide range of perspectives, each one captivating and thought provoking. The book is divided into three sections: past, present, and future. But regardless of what period of time each writer chose to focus on, one thing remains true: the United States is a long and infuriating way from the post-racial society James Baldwin dreamed of.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Indiebound


A Book You May Enjoy

Danielle Mohlman's picture

Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a playwright, bookworm, and library connoisseur. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. (She has a lot to say.) And on Instagram. (She never foodstagrams.) When she grows up, she wants to be Leslie Knope.