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Race in America Booklist

white letters on black background reading "Read. Watch. Listen. Understand."

In turbulent times, literature is one way to explore difficult issues, such as racism and inequality. To help facilitate conversations, BCLS staff have curated a list of books across our physical and digital collection for our patrons of all ages.

Hoopla Collections: 




Talking to Kids About Race

OverDrive Collection: 

Books for Children, Teens, and Adults


Our staff also recommends these books from our print collection. For availability or to place a hold, please check our online catalog:


Adult Nonfiction

Becoming - Michelle Obama

Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America - Richard Rothstein

How to Be an Antiracist - Ibram X. Kendi

Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism - Robin DiAngelo

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption - Bryan Stevenson

Stamped from the beginning : the definitive history of racist ideas in America - Ibram X. Kendi

So You Want to Talk About Race - Ijeoma Oluo

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America - Michael Eric Dyson

The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People - Mahzarin R. Banaji


Children’s Books

A is for activist - Innosanto Nagara (board book)

Colors of Us - Karen Katz (picture book) 

Something Happened in My Town - Marianne Celanno (picture book)

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement - Carole Boston Weatherford

Let it Shine : Stories of Black women freedom fighters - Andrea Davis Pinkney

Not My Idea - Anastasia Higginbotham

Let’s talk about Race -Julius Lester 


Teen Fiction

All American Boys - Jason Reynolds

All American Muslim Girl - Nadine Jolie Courtney

American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang

American Street - Ibi Zoboi

Dear Martin - Nick Stone

Dreamland Burning - Jennifer Latham

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight - Kimberly Jones

Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds

Love, Hate and Other Filters - Samira Ahmed

Monster - Walter Dean Myers

On the Come Up - Angie Thomas

Out of Darkness - Ashley Hope Pėrez

Piecing Me Together - Renée Watson

Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

Tyler Johnson Was Here - Jay Coles


Teen Nonfiction

Black Boy - Richard Wright (e audiobook available on Hoopla)

Dark Sky Rising - Henry Gates (e audiobook available on Hoopla)

The 57 Bus - Dashka Slater

March  - John Lewis (trilogy) 

Racial Profiling - Alison Behnke (e audiobook available on Hoopla)

We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide - Carol Anderson

Wreath for Emmett Till - Marilyn Nelson


Adult Fiction

American Marriage - Tayari Jones

Another Country - James Baldwin

Beloved - Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison

The Color Purple - Alice Walker

Copperhead - Alexi Zentner

Dry Grass of August - Anna Jean Mayhew

Everywhere You Don’t Belong - Gabriel Bump

A Good Neighborhood - Therese Anne Fowler

The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros

Line of Sight - James Queally

Mercy Seat - Elizabeth Winthrop

Nickel Boys - Colson Whitehead

Push - Sapphire

Red at the Bone - Jacqueline Woodson

Sing, Unburied, Sing - Jesmyn Ward 

The Travelers - Regina Porter

Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

Washington Black - Esi Edugyan

Published by on June 02, 2020
Last Modified October 26, 2020