This resource list of non-fiction books, fiction books, biographies/autobiographies, movies, websites, podcasts, and children’s books highlights themes of Black History Month. It was compiled by the members of the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery Racial Reconciliation Subcommittee.
After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging (Theological Education between the Times) by Willie James Jennings (2020)- Theological education has always been about formation: first of people, then of communities, then of the world. If theological education aims to form people who can gather others together through border-crossing pluralism and God-drenched communion, we can begin to cultivate the radical belonging that is at the heart of God’s transformative work. This book is for anyone who has ever questioned why theological education still matters. It is a call for Christian intellectuals to exchange isolation for intimacy and embrace their place in the crowd—just like the crowd that followed Jesus and experienced his miracles. It is part memoir, part decolonial analysis, and part poetry—a multimodal discourse that deliberately transgresses boundaries, as Jennings hopes theological education will do, too.
All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles (2021)- This book traces the life of a single object handed down through three generations of Black women to craft an extraordinary testament to people who are left out of the archives. It is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction – and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.
Anti-Racism 4 Reals: Real Talk with Real Strategies in Real Time for Real Change by Shelia Beckford and E. Michelle Ledder (2021)- Not all activities with the name “anti-racism” are actually anti-racist. In this book, anti-racism trainers Beckford and Ledder contend much of the current education leaves out action steps for dislodging racism in real time, and even worse, perpetuates racism, causing further harm to Black, Indigenous, Pacific-Islander, Asian, Latinx (BIPAL) people. Using the concept of “racial positionality” as the entry point for engaging anti-racist work, this groundbreaking book offers concrete tools to confront racism and bring about REAL change in REAL time. Written by two ordained women—one Black Latina, one white—this straight-talk, practical workbook provides 137 ways to be truly anti-racist, including scripts and other practices for interrupting and dismantling racism. A forthcoming video discussion guide and Leaders Workbook will help facilitate small group discussion and ACTION-NOW Learning Engagements.
Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White People Talk Faithfully about Racism by Carolyn Helsel (2021)- The author helps whites better understand and embrace their feelings of anxiety, shame, and guilt, and work through them so that they can join conversations with more courage and confidence. Reflection questions close each chapter.
Becoming a Just Church: Cultivating Communities of God’s Shalom by Adam Gustine (2019)- The author calls the local church to be just and do justice. He provides a theological vision for our identity as a just people, where God’s character and the pursuit of shalom infuses every aspect of our congregational DNA. As we grow in becoming just, the church becomes a prophetic alternative to the broken systems of the world and a parable of God’s intentions for human flourishing and societal transformation. This renewed vision for the church leads us into cultivating a just life together―in community, discipleship, worship, and more―extending justice out into the world in concrete ways.
Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice by Yusef Salaam (2021)- The author was only 15 years old when he and four other children were falsely accused of the brutal rape of a Central Park jogger. Despite this horrific miscarriage of justice, Salaam’s memoir, is one of astounding warmth. His incarceration doesn’t keep Salaam from experiencing encouragement and gratitude, but he doesn’t shy away from the pain he endured either.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)- This book is the author’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
Beyond the Burning Bus: The Civil Rights Revolution in a Southern Town by J. Philips Noble- (2013)- This is apersonal story by a Presbyterian minister to bring racial healing after the burning of a freedom riders bus in Anniston Alabama in the 1960s.
Anniston, Alabama, is a small industrial city between Birmingham and Atlanta. In 1961, the city’s potential for race-related violence was graphically revealed when the Ku Klux Klan firebombed a Freedom Riders bus. In response to that incident, a few black and white leaders in Anniston took a progressive view that desegregation was inevitable and that it was better to unite the community than to divide it. To that end, the city created a biracial Human Relations Council which set about to quietly dismantle Jim Crow segregation laws and customs. This was such a novel notion in George Wallace’s Alabama that President Kennedy phoned with congratulations. The Council did not prevent all disorder in Anniston―there was one death and the usual threats, cross burnings, and a widely publicized beating of two black ministers―yet Anniston was spared much of the civil rights bitterness that raged in other places in the turbulent mid-sixties. Author Phil Noble’s account is carefully researched but told from a personal viewpoint. It shows once again that the civil rights movement was not monolithic either for those who were in it or those who were opposed to it.
Beyond Color Blind by Sarah Shin (2017)- Ethnicity racial identity are often points of pain and injustice. Shin reveals how our brokenness around ethnicity can be restored and redeemed, for our own wholeness and also for the good of others. (14.05)
Black Food: Stories, Art and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora by Bryant Terry (2021)- This book is part cookbook, essay collection, photo collage, history textbook and playlist. It comes together like a 300-page zine drawing on chefs and thinkers from Barbados to Somalia to Haiti to the Carolinas.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (2020)- This book is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. The author points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.
Chasing Me to My Grave: An Artist’s Memoir of the Jim Crow South by Winfred Rembert and Erin Kelly (2021)- This book is visually stunning, full of images of the late Winfred Rembert’s art, which he carved and painted in leather. There are scenes of his life growing up in rural Georgia – a jarring juxtaposition of nostalgic moments like fishing or dancing in the juke joint, and dark memories of picking cotton, escaping a lynching, and working on the chain gang. Rembert’s brutally honest storytelling helps us see the sacrifice and grit it took for Black Americans to survive in the Jim Crow South, something he said should make families proud and want to talk about their history.
The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race by Willie James Jennings (2011)- This book delves deep into the late medieval soil in which the modern Christian imagination grew, to reveal how Christianity’s highly refined process of socialization has inadvertently created and maintained segregated societies. Weaving together the stories of Zurara, the royal chronicler of Prince Henry, the Jesuit theologian Jose de Acosta, the famed Anglican Bishop John William Colenso, and the former slave writer Olaudah Equiano, Jennings narrates a tale of loss, forgetfulness, and missed opportunities for the transformation of Christian communities. Touching on issues of slavery, geography, Native American history, Jewish-Christian relations, literacy, and translation, he brilliantly exposes how the loss of land and the supersessionist ideas behind the Christian missionary movement are both deeply implicated in the invention of race. The author charts, with great vision, new ways of imagining ourselves, our communities, and the landscapes we inhabit.
The Color of Compromise: The Truth About American Church’s Complexity in Racism by Jemar Tisby and Lecrae Moore (2020)- This book is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don’t know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church. It is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God’s people. Starting today.
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (2018)- Widely heralded as a “masterful” (Washington Post) and “essential” (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods. This is a powerful study of how federal and local laws have promoted or allowed racial segregation even now.
The Color of Compassion: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisbey (2020)- Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church. It is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways the author outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God’s people.
Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World by Wil Haygood (2021)- This fascinating, exhaustively researched and gorgeously written tome delves deep into the background of everything from D.W. Griffith’s monstrous silent Birth of a Nation, to teenager Darnella Frazier’s video of the murder of George Floyd. If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t see the Sidney Poitier/Dorothy Dandridge Porgy and Bess, or why Spike Lee had to borrow money to fly to Cannes to win Best Young Director for She’s Gotta Have It– read this book. There are so many treasures to unearth.
Faith After Ferguson: Resilient Leadership in Pursuit of Racial Justice by Leah Gunning Francis (2021)- The author reconnects with the faith leaders who took to the streets to protest the police shooting of an unarmed 17- year-old black man and the racially tinged events in
St. Louis and across the United States. She weaves these first-person accounts with her own journey of activism in hopes of encouraging the reader to consider racial justice not just as an intellectual exercise, but to be awakened to the multiplicity of ways that racism shows up in the world and be inspired to act. Francis also reflects on the traumatic impact of the four years under the Trump administration, and the more recent events of racism and white supremacy in the killing of George Floyd, the presidential election, and the Capitol riots in early January 2021.
Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community by Leah Gunning Francis (2021)- The shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, reignited a long-smoldering movement for justice, with many St. Louis-area clergy stepping up to support the emerging young leaders of today’s Civil Rights Movement. Seminary professor Leah Gunning Francis was among the activists, and her interviews with more than two dozen faith leaders and with the new movement’s organizers take us behind the scenes of the continuing protests. This book demonstrates that being called to lead a faithful life can take us to places we never expected to go, with people who never expected us to join hands with them.
Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City by Wes Moore (2021)- When Freddie Gray was arrested for possessing an “illegal knife” in April 2015, he was, by eyewitness accounts that video evidence later confirmed, treated “roughly” as police loaded him into a vehicle. By the end of his trip in the police van, Gray was in a coma from which he would never recover. In the wake of a long history of police abuse in Baltimore, this killing felt like the final straw—it led to a week of protests, then five days described alternately as a riot or an uprising that set the entire city on edge and caught the nation’s attention.
Getting to the Promised Land: Black American and the Unfinished Work of the Civil Rights Movement by Kevin W. Cosby (2021)- Too often, all oppressed people in America are lumped together under the moniker “people of color,” as if each group’s experience under the yoke of systemic racism has the same economic and social repercussions. But the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) hold a unique claim to economic and reparative justice: for ADOS, after all, is the only group whose ancestors were forcibly brought to America, enslaved, built much of the wealth of the country, yet continue to be specifically excluded from the same social, political, and economic rights of other Americans. To that end, Rev. Dr. Kevin W. Cosby lays out the first theology of the ADOS movement, turning the traditional lens of Black liberation theology from Moses leading escaped Hebrew slaves in Exodus to other biblical leaders like Solomon, Daniel, and Nehemiah. In the stories these biblical leaders, Cosby finds inspiration on how to rebuild Black America including the necessity of government reparations for ADOS. Cosby calls all Americans to move from a place of relative nonengagement and detachment to a place of active support of ADOS’s efforts for justice and healing.
Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration by Reuben Jonathan Miller (2021)- The author takes on an often-ignored aspect of the U.S. criminal justice system: the fact that even those who leave incarceration are, in many ways, never truly free. Labyrinthine rules and regulations govern the lives of the released and can mean ineligibility for student loans and public housing or the inability to live in a home that has a foster child. Miller combines data with the lived experiences of the people behind the numbers to create a compelling critique of a deeply problematic system.
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (2019)- Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. The author weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.
How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice by Jemar Tisby (2021)- In this follow-up to the New York Times Bestseller The Color of Compromise, the author offers an array of actionable items to confront racism.This book introduces a simple framework that teaches readers to consistently interrogate their own actions and maintain a consistent posture of anti-racist behavior. The A.R.C. Of Racial Justice is a clear model (awareness, relationships, and commitment) for how to think about race in productive and practical ways.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown (2018)- Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion. This book is an illuminating look at how white, middle-class, Evangelicalism has participated in an era of rising racial hostility, inviting the reader to confront apathy, recognize God’s ongoing work in the world, and discover how blackness—if we let it—can save us all.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (2015)- Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court by Orville Burton and Armand Derfner (2021)- This is the first book that comprehensively charts the Supreme Court’s race jurisprudence. Addressing nearly two hundred cases involving America’s racial minorities, the authors probe the parties involved, the justices’ reasoning, and the impact of individual rulings. We learn of heroes such as Thurgood Marshall; villains, including Roger Taney; and enigmas like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Hugo Black. Much of the fragility of civil rights in America is due to the Supreme Court, but as this sweeping history also reminds us, the justices still have the power to make good on the country’s promise of equal rights for all.
killing rage: Ending Racism by Bell Hooks (1996)- The author has always maintained that eradicating racism and eradicating sexism must go hand in hand. But whereas many women have been recognized for their writing on gender politics, the female voice has been all but locked out of the public discourse on race. These twenty-three essays are written from a black and feminist perspective, and they tackle the bitter difficulties of racism by envisioning a world without it. They address a spectrum of topics having to do with race and racism in the United States: psychological trauma among African Americans; friendship between black women and white women; anti-Semitism and racism; and internalized racism in movies and the media.
Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times by Bishop Michael Curry (2020)- As the descendant of slaves and the son of a civil rights activist, Bishop Michael Curry’s life illustrates massive changes in our times. Much of the world met Bishop Curry when he delivered his sermon on the redemptive power of love at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle. Here, he expands on his message of hope in an inspirational road map for living the way of love, illuminated with moving lessons from his own life. Through the prism of his faith, ancestry, and personal journey, the author shows us how America came this far and, more important, how to go a whole lot further. The way of love is essential for addressing the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing the world today: poverty, racism, selfishness, deep ideological divisions, competing claims to speak for God.
Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church by Soong-Chan Rah (2010)- The United States is currently undergoing the most rapid demographic shift in its history. Past shifts in America’s demographics always reshaped the county’s religious landscape. This shift will be no different. This book is intended to equip evangelicals for ministry and outreach in our changing nation. Borrowing from the business concept of “cultural intelligence,” the author explores how God’s people can become more multiculturally adept. From discussions about cultural and racial histories, to reviews of case-study churches and Christian groups that are succeeding in bridging ethnic divides, Rah provides a practical and hopeful guidebook for Christians wanting to minister more effectively in diverse settings.
A More Perfect Union: A New Vision for Building the Beloved Community by Adam Russell Taylor (2022)- The author reimagines a contemporary version of the Beloved Community (the moral vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) that will inspire and unite Americans across generations, geographic and class divides, racial and gender differences, faith traditions, and ideological leanings. In the Beloved Community, neither privilege nor punishment is tied to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status, and everyone is able to realize their full potential and thrive. Building the Beloved Community requires living out a series of commitments, such as true equality, radical welcome, transformational interdependence, E Pluribus Unum (“”out of many, one””), environmental stewardship, nonviolence, and economic equity. By building the Beloved Community we unify the country around a shared moral vision that transcends ideology and partisanship, tapping into our most sacred civic and religious values, enabling our nation to live up to its best ideals and realize a more perfect union.
Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope by Jasmine L. Holmes (2020)- The author shares a series of powerful letters to her young son. These are about her journey as an African American Christian and what she wants her son to know as he grows and approaches the world as a black man. Holmes deals head-on with issues ranging from discipleship and marriage to biblical justice. She invites us to read over her shoulder as she reminds Wynn that his identity is firmly planted in the person and work of Jesus Christ, even when the topic is one as emotionally charged as race in America.
My Grandmother’s Hand: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem (2017)- In this groundbreaking book, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology. The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. Menakem argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn’t just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans—our police. This book is a call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not only about the head, but about the body, and introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (2010, 2020)- Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; and much more. Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander’s unforgettable argument that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”
No Innocent Bystanders: Becoming an Ally in the Struggle for Justice by Shannon Craigo-Snell and Cristopher Doucot (2017)- This book is a start-up guide for spiritual or religious people who are interested in working for social justice but don’t know how or where to begin, drawing on the lessons of history, the framework of Christian ideas, and the insights of contemporary activists. It offers practical guidance on how to meaningfully and mindfully advocate alongside all who struggle for a more just society.
Not So Black and White: An Invitation to Honest Conversations About Race and Faith by Reggie Dabbs and John Driver (2021)- White privilege. Black Lives Matter. George Floyd. When it comes to racism in America, many of us feel confused, overwhelmed, angry–and eager to know how to engage in meaningful conversations and actions surrounding such a difficult topic. The authors team up to offer a hope-filled, convicting, inspiring look at how to be anti-racist in America today. This resource for pastors, teachers, and community leaders equips us to engage together in the intentional work of dismantling racism, just as the gospel calls us to do.
On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed (2021)- The author, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian mingles her groundbreaking personal story – she was the first Black student to desegregate schools in her hometown of Conroe, Texas – with a less white-centered version of the state’s history to create a new narrative. Shifting away from myths aimed at comforting white people, she reveals a truth that includes everyone, especially those freed by the official emancipation of enslaved people in the state on June 19, 1865.
Pre- Post- Racial America: Spiritual Stories from the Front Lines by Sandhya Rani Jha (2021)- Those people. Theirissues. The day’s news and the ways we treat each other, overtly or subliminally, prove we are not yet living in post-racial America. It’s hard to talk about race in America without everyone very quickly becoming defensive and shutting down. What makes talking race even harder is that so few of us actually know each other in the fullness of our stories. A recent Reuters poll found 40% of white people have no friends of other races, and 25% of people of color only have friends of the same race. The author addresses the hot topic in a way that is grounded in real people’s stories and that offers solid biblical grounding for thinking about race relations in America, reminding us that God calls us to build Beloved Community. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter provide starting points for reading groups
Prophesy Deliverance! by Cornel West (2002)- The author provides readers with a new understanding of the African American experience based largely on his own political and cultural perspectives borne out of his own life’s experiences. He challenges African Americans to consider the incorporation of Marxism into their theological perspectives, thereby adopting the mindset that it is class more so than race that renders one powerless in America. (14.05)
Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretations as an Exercise in Hope by Esau McCaulley (2020)- Growing up in the American South, Esau McCaulley knew firsthand the ongoing struggle between despair and hope that marks the lives of some in the African American context. A key element in the fight for hope, he discovered, has long been the practice of Bible reading and interpretation that comes out of traditional Black churches. This ecclesial tradition is often disregarded or viewed with suspicion by much of the wider church and academy, but it has something vital to say. The advocates for a model of interpretation that involves an ongoing conversation between the collective Black experience and the Bible, in which the particular questions coming out of Black communities are given pride of place and the Bible is given space to respond by affirming, challenging, and, at times, reshaping Black concerns. McCaulley demonstrates this model with studies on how Scripture speaks to topics often overlooked by white interpreters, such as ethnicity, political protest, policing, and slavery.
Race and Reconciliation Workbook: Confession of 1967 and Belhar by Clifton Kirkpatrick (2015)- This study focuses on two confessions of faith from the twentieth century. Using the Confession of 1967 and the Confession of Belhar, in our Book of Confessions, we say what we believe; and by God’s grace, we try to live it. (04.02)
Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race by Derald Wing Sue (2016)- If you believe that talking about race is impolite, or that “colorblindness” is the preferred approach, you must read this book. Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence debunks the most pervasive myths using evidence, easy-to-understand examples, and practical tools. Covered in this book are: characteristics of typical, unproductive conversations on race; tacit and explicit social rules related to talking about racial issues; race-specific difficulties and misconceptions regarding race talk; and concrete advice for educators and parents on approaching race in a new way.
Rediscipling the White Church: From Cheap Diversity to True Solidarity by David Swanson (2020)- In this simple but powerful book, the author contends that discipleship, not diversity, lies at the heart of our white churches’ racial brokenness. Before white churches can pursue diversity, Swanson argues, we must first take steps to address the faulty discipleship that has led to our segregation in the first place. Drawing on the work of philosopher James K. A. Smith and others, Swanson proposes that we rethink our churches’ habits, or liturgies, and imagine together holistic, communal discipleship practices that can reform us as members of Christ’s diverse body.
Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair by Duke Kwon and Gregory Thompson (2021)- This book makes a compelling historical and theological case for the church’s obligation to provide reparations for the oppression of African Americans. The authors articulate the church’s responsibility for its promotion and preservation of white supremacy throughout history, investigate the Bible’s call to repair our racial brokenness, and offer a vision for the work of reparation at the local level. They lead readers toward a moral imagination that views reparations as a long-overdue and necessary step in our collective journey toward healing and wholeness.
Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores by Dominique DuBois Gillard (2018)- The author explores the history and foundation of mass incarceration, examining Christianity’s role in its evolution and expansion. He then shows how Christians can pursue justice that restores and reconciles, offering creative solutions and highlighting innovative interventions. The church has the power to help transform our criminal justice system. Discover how you can participate in the restorative justice needed to bring authentic rehabilitation, lasting transformation, and healthy reintegration to this broken system.
Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause by Ty Seidule (2022)- The author’s book provides an important and engaging history lesson. He cuts down myths about the Confederacy and about Robert E. Lee, and makes it clear to anyone who doubts that their cause was deeply racist and wrong. The fact that this book is written by a Southerner, an Army veteran and a onetime Lee acolyte – a story Seidule weaves through the book, too – makes it all the more powerful.
Shaking the Gates of Hell: A Search for Family and Truth in the Wake of the Civil Rights Revolution by John Archibald (2020)- Pulitzer Prize-winning Alabama columnist John Archibald reckons with his late father’s silence during the civil rights movement in Birmingham, an epicenter for the struggle. His dad was a Methodist minister and Archibald looks through his father’s old sermons and compares them to events of the day with rich historical detail. The exercise has the author turning inward to examine his own choices. Reading this book may encourage readers to think about their own family’s legacy.
The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones (2021)- This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction – and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation but continues to shape contemporary American life.
Something in the Water by Michael W. Waters (2021)- From poems and prayers to sermons and eulogies, from rally cries to commentaries, this book illuminates not just our present struggles, but also the hope and belief in a better day to come. Ultimately, the author challenges us to consider our role, collectively and individually, in the troubled waters of racism, and what we are willing to do to create something better.
Subversive Witness: Scripture’s Call to Leverage Privilege by Dominique DuBois Gillard (2021)- The author asks us to grapple with privilege, indifference, and systemic sin in new ways by using biblical examples to reveal the complex nature of privilege and Christians’ responsibility in stewarding it well. By embodying Scripture’s subversive call to leverage–and at times forsake–privilege, readers will learn to love their neighbors sacrificially, enact systemic change, and grow more Christlike as citizens of God’s kingdom.
The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee (2021)- McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Maine to Mississippi to California, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm—the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shot at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. In unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: the benefits we gain when people come together across race to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own. This book is not only a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here but also a heartfelt message, delivered with startling empathy, from a black woman to a multiracial America. It leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than a zero-sum game.
The Third Option: Hope for a Racially Divided Nation by Miles McPherson (2020)-. Some are oblivious to the impact racism has, while others pretend it doesn’t exist. Even the church has been affected by racial division. Christians, who are called to love and honor their neighbors, have fallen into culture’s trap by siding with one group against another: us vs. them. Cops vs. protestors. Blacks vs. whites. Racists vs. the “woke.” The lure of choosing one option over another threatens God’s plan for unity among His people. Instead of going along with the culture, the author directs us to choose the Third Option: honoring the priceless value of God’s image in every person we meet. He exposes common misconceptions that keep people from engaging with those of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and identifies the privileges and pitfalls that we all face.
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery (2016)- As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes. Jailed eleven times before her fifteenth birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African Americans. In this memoir, she shows today’s young readers what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history.
Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race by Benjamin Watson (2016)- In this challenging look at race, bias, and justice, Benjamin Watson, a tight end for the Baltimore Ravens and a social media commentator, speaks from his deepest heart to articulate what many of us think and feel. Part memoir and part social commentary, this book offers an honest look at both sides of the race debate–and appeals to the power and possibility of faith as a step toward healing. (14.05)
Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery by Soong-Chan Rah and Mark Charles (2019)- In this prophetic blend of history, theology, and cultural commentary, the authors reveal the far-reaching, damaging effects of the “Doctrine of Discovery.” In the 15th century, official church edicts gave Christian explorers the right to claim territories they “discovered.” This was institutionalized as an implicit national framework that justifies American triumphalism, white supremacy, and ongoing injustices. The result is that the dominant culture idealizes a history of discovery, opportunity, expansion, and equality, while minority communities have been traumatized by colonization, slavery, segregation, and dehumanization. Healing begins when deeply entrenched beliefs are unsettled. The writers aim to recover a common memory and shared understanding of where we have been and where we are going. As other nations have instituted truth and reconciliation commissions, so do the authors call our nation and churches to a truth-telling that will expose past injustices and open the door to conciliation and true community.
Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, From the Revolution to Reconstruction by Kate Masur (2021)- From the nation’s founding, the American creed included the idea that “all men are created equal.” The author shows how from the Revolution to the Civil War, there was an eight-decade fight for equality – an effort to make those words more than notional. Free Blacks were subjected to kidnapping and imprisonment. The petition movement available to all would be challenged by states with laws superseding individual freedom in the absence of federal law. This is the story of the drive for racial equality in civil and political rights and the effort to nationalize that fight for the full rights of citizenship
Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martinez (2021)- Rebecca Hall doesn’t just want to tell the parts of the story that are riveting- desperate women attacking slavers in the streets or chiseling through chains in the holds of the death ships. These stories are in the book, but they are only half of the author’s saga. The other half is her own struggle against the conspiracy of silence that has shut these women out of history. Martinez’s terrific depictions of Hall’s research process are as gripping as those of the revolts themselves.
Waking Up White: And Find Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving (2014)- For twenty-five years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn’t understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing. Then, in 2009, one “aha!” moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. In her book the author tells her often cringe-worthy story with such openness that readers will turn every page rooting for her-and ultimately for all of us. A separate study guide written by Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston is also available. (14.05)
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson- (2011)- From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. This book is a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” of African-American within our own land. With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, George Starling, and Robert Foster. The author brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young (2002)- Perhaps the hardest thing to remember in the throes of a crisis is that every bad break can also be a blessing. Indeed, there are always unexpected benefits in misfortune-a refreshed or redirected sense of purpose about our life’s work after the death of a loved one or the loss of a job, a new appetite for living after a serious illness-provided we meet our crises with a shift in outlook. Born of the author’s own terrible trauma, What Doesn’t Kill You presents hard-won advice and practical exercises to help readers effectively navigate the terrain of this difficult process. Rich with stories of people who have come through tragedy to find new or different meaning in their lives-from the author’s account of her daughter’s near-fatal car accident to the experiences of survivors of the September 11 attacks-What Doesn’t Kill You offers a path to healing and internal transformation. Powerful and inspirational, it will help readers not only survive adversity but also harvest new strength from it that will be a lasting source of freedom from anger and despair. It is a reader’s best weapon against the worst of times.
White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to be White by Daniel Hill (2017)- In this compelling and timely book, the author shows you the seven stages to expect on your own path to cultural awakening. It’s crucial to understand both personal and social realities in the areas of race, culture, and identity. This book will give you a new perspective on being white and also empower you to be an agent of reconciliation in our increasingly diverse and divided world.
White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea by Tyler Stovall (2021)- The focus of this timely history is the relationship between the concepts of freedom and race in the modern world. The author defines white freedom – which, he demonstrates, has been the foundation of liberty beloved especially by European and North American nations – as “the belief (and practice) that freedom is central to white racial identity, and that only white people can or should be free.” His argument is convincing, and the way he makes it is fascinating, with chapters covering a wide range of topics, from the golden age of piracy to the modern-era limitations on children’s freedom.
White Lies: Nine Ways to Expose and Resist the Racial Systems that Divide Us by Daniel Hill (2020)- In this practical and illuminating guide drawn from more than twenty years of cross-cultural work and learning from some of the greatest leaders of color, pastor and racial justice advocate Daniel Hill provides nine practices rooted in Scripture that will position you to be an active supporter of inclusion, equality, and racial justice. He includes stories, studies, and examples from his own journey, As we follow Jesus–the one who is supreme over all things–into overturning false power systems, we will become better advocates of the liberating and unconditional love that God extends to us all.
White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise (2011)- The inspiration for the acclaimed documentary film, this deeply personal polemic reveals how racial privilege shapes the daily lives of white Americans in every realm: employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and elsewhere. Using stories from his own life, Tim Wise examines what it really means to be white in a nation created to benefit people who are “white like him.” This inherent racism is not only real, but disproportionately burdens people of color and makes progressive social change less likely to occur. Explaining in clear and convincing language why it is in everyone’s best interest to fight racial inequality, Wise offers ways in which white people can challenge these unjust privileges, resist white supremacy and racism, and ultimately help to ensure the country’s personal and collective well-being.
White Picket Fences: Turning Toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege by Amy Julia Becker (2018)- Gently addressing the challenging topics of privilege and race, power and inequality, White Picket Fences is a memoir of Amy Julia Becker’s growing awareness of the unequal benefits (and secret harm) she received by virtue of her white skin, Protestant heritage, education and able body. The author guides readers through her growing realization of how inequality has negatively impacted herself and others. Through reflections on parenting, family, and faith, Becker traces her process to discover how she can participate in actions and conversations of truth and love in order to bring wholeness and healing.
White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity by Robert P. Jones (2021)- As the nation grapples with demographic changes and the legacy of racism in America, Christianity’s role as a cornerstone of white supremacy has been largely overlooked. But white Christians—from evangelicals in the South to mainline Protestants in the Midwest and Catholics in the Northeast—have not just been complacent or complicit; rather, as the dominant cultural power, they have constructed and sustained a project of protecting white supremacy and opposing black equality that has framed the entire American story. This book draws on lessons gleaned from case studies of communities beginning to face these challenges. Jones argues that contemporary white Christians must confront these unsettling truths because this is the only way to salvage the integrity of their faith and their own identities.
The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans- And How We Can Fix it by Dorothy Brown (2021)- A tax law professor at Emory University, the author started her research in the field because she thought it would be race-neutral. But years of studying the history of the U.S. tax code and comparing the tax records of wealthy public figures with those of poorer people, she was left with one inescapable conclusion. The tax code, she argues, has been designed to advantage those who are already privileged and to disadvantage those who are not. It is a surprisingly easy read.
Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States by Maya Schenwar , Alana Yu-lan Price, Alicia Garza, and Joe Macaré, editors (2021)- What is the reality of policing in the United States? Do the police keep anyone safe and secure other than the very wealthy? How do recent police killings of young Black people in the United States fit into the historical and global context of anti-blackness? This collection of reports and essays explores police violence against Black, brown, indigenous, and other marginalized communities, miscarriages of justice, and failures of token accountability and reform measures. The book explores alternatives for keeping communities safe.
Black and White: The Way I See It by Richard Williams (2017)- This is the story of Richard Williams, the father who raised and trained two of the greatest women in sports, Venus and Serena. He achieved greatness in spite of hardship and disadvantages to become a successful businessman, family man and tennis coach
Just as I Am: A Memoir by Cicely Tyson (2021)- In a memoir published just days before her death, Cicely Tyson reflected on her 96 years on Earth, including over six massively influential decades in the entertainment industry. The book goes beyond the surface of chronicling a legendary performer’s career. Instead it’s an eye-opening look at life as a Black actress in Hollywood, proving that little has changed.
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land (2020)- This is an emotionally raw, masterful account of Stephanie’s years spent in service to upper middle class America as a “nameless ghost” who quietly shared in her clients’ triumphs, tragedies, and deepest secrets. Driven to carve out a better life for her family, she cleaned by day and took online classes by night, writing relentlessly as she worked toward earning a college degree. She wrote of the true stories that weren’t being told: of living on food stamps and WIC coupons, of government programs that barely provided housing, of aloof government employees who shamed her for receiving what little assistance she did. Above all else, she wrote about pursuing the myth of the American Dream from the poverty line, all the while slashing through deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.
The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs (2021)- The reader will discover that though their paths were very different, all three women were instrumental in shaping their sons’ lives. Louise Little was an activist, Berdis Baldwin encouraged her son’s creativity, and Alberta King gave young Martin lessons in faith and social justice. All three mothers ended up outliving their sons.
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman– Beginning during the racial turmoil of 1960s Louisiana, 110-year-old ex-slave Jane Pittman grants an interview to a persistent journalist and relates the remarkable story of her life. Orphaned early, she toils on a plantation until a chance meeting with a white Union soldier named Brown changes her outlook. Jane’s emancipation marks only the beginning of an arduous and heartbreaking odyssey, framed by the horrors of slavery and the justice of the civil rights movement.
Glory is about the first black regiment to fight for the North in the Civil War. The film depicts the soldiers of the 54th regiment from its formation to their heroic actions at the Second Battle of Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863.
Green Book is set in 1962 and is inspired by the true story of a tour of the Deep South by African American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley and Italian American bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, who served as Shirley’s driver and bodyguard. The film is named after The Negro Motorist Green Book, a mid-20th century guidebook for African-American travelers written by Victor Hugo Green.
The Help tells the story of an aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. She decides to write a book detailing the African American maids’ point of view.
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
Mississippi Burning is about the FBI investigating the 1964 disappearance of three civil rights activists in Mississippi. The two FBI agents investigating the disappearance are met with hostility by the town’s residents, local police, and the Ku Klux Klan.
Sons and Daughters of Thunder: The Beginning of the End of Slavery in America is based on the play by Earlene Hawley and Curtis Heater and tells the unforgettable true story of the beginning of the end of slavery in America. Discussing the abolition of slavery in 1834 was considered radical, even in the North. Organized by firebrand abolitionist Theodore Weld, the nation’s first public debates at Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio led to near riot conditions in the city. The shocking oratory sparked intense controversy and awakened a young Harriet Beecher (Stowe) to the horrors of slavery. Harriet was captivated by Weld’s charismatic leadership at a time when Calvin Stowe was trying to win her heart. Inspired by Weld and the debates, Harriet later distilled her Cincinnati experiences into the world-wide best-selling novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. This forgotten true story from award-winning filmmakers Kelly Rundle and Tammy Rundle was a prelude to America’s Civil War.
12 Years a Slave is an adaptation of the 1853 slave memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup. Northrup was a New York State-born free African American man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., by two conmen in 1841 and sold into slavery.
The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till is a documentary that takes place in Mississippi during the ’50s. A black teenager named Emmett Louis Till, who is from Chicago and visiting his great-uncle, whistles at a white woman in public. Not too long afterward, he is kidnapped and murdered. The filmmakers revisit the public outrage that follows, revealing Till’s family as being particularly brave for standing up to white racism when it was clearly unsafe to do so.
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead- This book is about a heist in Harlem and the ramifications of the crime for those who did the deed. The novel kicks off in 1959 and storms into the 1960s with Ray Carney, furniture store owner, at the helm. This book brings the Black community of the 1960s to life with insight, grace, research, an outstanding cast of characters, and humor that is by turns gritty, culturally observant and wickedly funny.
The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBose: A Novel by Honoree Fammon Jeffers- The author’s debut novel is intimidating. For one thing, it’s almost 800 pages long. For another, it is stupendously good. Rooted in the South, this is a very American tale: Jeffers’ heroine, Ailey Pearl Garfield, is a blend of her family’s ethnicities (African, Native, white) and circumstances (enslaved, free, indentured). Readers follow Ailey’s life as she comes of age, becomes a historian and begins to research her family’s accomplishments and traumas over generations. Jeffers’ renditions of Black family traditions and the burden of respectability politics are spot-on.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (2018)- With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers.
The Sweetness of Water: A Novel by Nathan Harris- This book is an American saga about a small Georgia community trying to find its footing after emancipation and the trauma of the Civil War. Two young freedmen, brothers from a local plantation, are hiding out in the woods, trying to avoid their obstinate former master until they can make their way north. They find unlikely but steadfast allies in the eccentric white family who own the land.
Black Church Studies at Candler School of Theology (Emory University)- https://candler.emory.edu/programs-resources/special-interest-area-programs/black-church-studies/index.html
Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation at Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte Campus https://www.upsem.edu/csjr/
Black Life in America: 1976 to Today (website: www.library.upsem.edu), Richmond
Children and Anti-Racism Toolkit from the PCUSA Office of Christian Formation- This toolkit provides resources for children and the adults who love them to deepen their understanding of historic and ongoing systems of oppression and ideas to assist them in the work of becoming anti-racist. This resource will help you in your efforts to raise children who will join in the struggle for justice and equity for all God’s people. https://www.presbyterianmission.org/resource/children-and-anti-racism-toolkit/
Equal Justice Initiative Daily Calendar: A History of Racial Injustice– On this day… https://calendar.eji.org/racial-injustice/nov/18
Racial Equity Institute– We are an alliance of trainers, organizers, and institutional leaders who have devoted ourselves to the work of creating racially equitable organizations and systems. we help individuals and organizations develop tools to challenge patterns of power and grow equity. https://www.racialequityinstitute.com/
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho https://uncomfortableconvos.com/
Emmanuel Acho: Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Listen here
She Speaks Too with Patricia Bligen Jones- a podcast that shares the stories of African Americans who have made an impact in their communities: historically, economically and educationally from the South Carolina Low Country and around the world! Listen here
CHILDREN’S BOOKS (Children’s books make great adult reads too. Most of these are available for you to borrow from the presbytery resource center.)
Because Brian Hugged His Mother by David L. Rice- A simple act of kindness may go further than you think. Brian hugged his mom one morning, and his hug set in motion a series of unselfish acts that reached more people than he could ever know.
Brian the Brave by Paul Stewart- This book teaches diversity and how one sheep brings together sheep of all different kinds as they face danger.
Colors Come from God…Just Like Me! By Carolyn A. Forche (1995)- A young girl talks about the many things God created–and their colors. Each section ends with the affirmation “And God made me a beautiful brown!” This book is designed to help African American children develop a healthy racial self-esteem as they face situations where people reject them because of their skin color.
Feathers and Fools by Mem Fox- This modern fable tells the story of some peacocks and swans who allow the fear of their differences to become so great that they end up destroying each other.
For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World by Michael W. Waters- The shootings keep coming, and so do Jeremiah’s questions. Dad doesn’t have easy answers, but that doesn’t mean he won’t talk about it- or that he won’t act. But what if Jeremiah doesn’t want to talk anymore? None of it makes sense, and he’s just a kid. Even if he wants to believe in a better world, is there anything he can do about it? Inspired by real-life events, this honest, intimate look at one family’s response to racism and gun violence includes a discussion guide created by the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, a multicultural center and museum committed to promoting respect, hope, and understanding.
For Every Child from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child- In November 1989 the United Nations formally adopted fifty-four principles that make up the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This extraordinary book takes fourteen of the most pertinent rights and retells them in simple text. Each right has been interpreted in a double page spread by some of the world’s best artists.
God’s Big Plan by Elizabeth Caldwell and Theodore Hiebert- This book beautifully describes how people are different just as animals, places, and foods are different from each other. The illustrations show the diversity in so many things and people that make up our earth.
God’s Dream by Desmond Tutu- The author shares his vision of God’s dream with young readers and offers the essence of his ubuntu philosophy of unity and forgiveness.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud- Uses the metaphor of filling a bucket to encourage children to practice kind and considerate behavior and teach them the benefits of positive relationships.
Jordan’s Hair by Ed and Sonya Spruill- Written for children ages 4-8, this story teaches an invaluable lesson on self-love and self-esteem to young children of any ethnicity. A young African American boy discovers that being different from his friends at school is a good thing.
Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester- The author introduces the concept of race as only one component in an individual’s or nation’s “story.”
Liberty’s Civil Rights Road Trip by Michael W. Waters- Liberty and her friend Abdullah, with their families and a diverse group of passengers, head off to their first stop: Jackson, Mississippi. Next on their map are Glendora, Memphis, Birmingham, Montgomery, and finally Selma, for a march across the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge. As told through the innocent view of a child, this bookserves as an early introduction to places, people, and events that transformed history. The story is inspired by an actual journey led by author Michael W. Waters, bringing together a multigenerational group to witness key locations from the civil rights movement. An author’s note and more information about each stop on Liberty’s trip offer ways for adults to expand the conversation with young readers.
Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni- Using swatches of color and few words, the author tells about what happens when we don’t look at skin color. Targeted for 3 to 8 year olds, this book is appropriate for many ages.
Moonlight Miracle by Tony Magliano- In a world where racism and religious prejudice constantly endanger peace on all levels, this book sends a message, pure and profound in its simplicity, to inspire ‘all the big and little people’ to love and strive for peace.
Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox- Illustrations and simple, rhyming text show different ways that peace can be found, made, and shared.
The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah James and Renee Watson)- A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generations. Grandma gathers the whole family, and the student learns that 400 years ago, in 1619, their ancestors were stolen and brought to America by white slave traders. But before that, they had a home, a land, a language. She learns how the people said to be born on the water survived. With powerful verse and striking illustrations by Nikkolas Smith, Born on the Water provides a pathway for readers of all ages to reflect on the origins of American identity.
Sharing God’s Love: The Jesus Creed for Children by Scot McKnight and Laura McKnight Barringer- Children are transformed for Christ when they learn to love God and others intentionally. The Jesus Creed is “The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart. Love other people as yourself.”
The Spider Weaver: The Legend of Kente Cloth by Margaret Musgrove- This is the story of a beautiful spider and the magical web she weaves. Her web becomes the basis for a unique new fabric: kente cloth.
The Story of And: The Little Word That Changed the World by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso- When an array of opinionated shapes just can’t find common ground, AND comes to the rescue. In this playful fable about unexpected connections, AND is the link that helps all the shapes overcome their differences teaming up to create something entirely new.
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles- As the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school, six-year-old Ruby Bridges found herself in the center of a storm of hatred and prejudice. Each day she faced angry protesters as she was escorted to and from first grade by federal marshals. This is her extraordinary true story.
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson- By piecing together scraps of cloth with scraps of information gathered from the other slaves, Clara fashions a beautiful quilt which is a map to freedom.
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges- This is the story of a pivotal event in history as Ruby Bridges saw it unfold around her. Ruby’s poignant words, quotations from writers and from other adults who observed her, and dramatic photographs recreate an amazing story of innocence, courage, and forgiveness.
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery (2016)- As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes. Jailed eleven times before her fifteenth birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African Americans. In this memoir, she shows today’s young readers what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history.
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carol Boston Weatherford- A master of children’s nonfiction, the author transports readers back to Greenwood, aka Black Wall Street, not only to the day of the Tulsa Race Massacre 100 years ago, but also to the days preceding the tragedy. She and Floyd Cooper paint a portrait of the thriving community, and by bringing Greenwood back to life, they make the loss feel all the more devastating. (For ages 8 to 12)
A Very Big Problem by Amy-Jill Levine- In God’s garden, Land, Plants, Earthworms, Children, and more proclaim that they are special, and it is only fair that God should love them best. Includes note to parents and educators
Walking Toward Peace by Kathleen Krull- Tells the true story of Peace Pilgrim, a female activist and spiritual leader who sacrificed everything to travel by foot around America promoting peace.
What Grew in Larry’s Garden by Laura Alary- Inspired by a true story of a teacher and his tomato project, this heartwarming tale proves a bit of kindness and understanding are all a community needs to thrive.
What If the Zebras Lost Their Stripes? by John Reitano- If the zebras lost their stripes and became different from one another, some white and some black, would they turn and fight each other and stop living life as loving friends?
When God Gave Us Words by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso- The author creates a tale about the origin of words and the power and usage of language. Beautiful illustrations add to the charm of this children’s book.
Who Counts?: 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, 2 Sons by Amy-Jill Levine and Sandy Eisenberg Sasso- This is a creative retelling of three of Jesus’ most popular parables; the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. As young readers count to help the characters find what’s missing, it concludes that every one of us counts and that everyone should feel counted.
Who Is My Neighbor? by Amy-Jill Levine and Sandy Eisenberg Sasso- This book
reminds us that our neighbors are the ones who care about us. They may not have the same customs, they may not look just like us, but they are God’s children, and they care for us.
Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka- Two lonely characters, one black and one white, meet on the street and become friends. With few words and telling illustrations, the story of life and the importance of friendship is portrayed. This book is a Caldecott Honor Book, is for all ages.