Book Lists

Books to Inspire Action

Check out these reads (fiction and nonfiction) about activism and justice.

Nonfiction

Black Lives Matter by Sue Bradford Edwards and Duchess Harris

Black Lives Matter covers the shootings that touched off passionate protests, the work of activists to bring about a more just legal system, and the tensions in US society that these events have brought to light.

Twelve Days in May by Larry Brimner

For twelve history-making days in May 1961, thirteen black and white civil rights activists, also known as the Freedom Riders, traveled by bus into the South to draw attention to the unconstitutional segregation still taking place. Despite their peaceful protests, the Freedom Riders were met with increasing violence the further south they traveled.

Because I was a Girl edited by Melissa de la Cruz

Brief writings from an array of girls and women who are trailblazers in their fields, discussing the barriers they’ve faced, the battles they’ve fought, and the dreams they’ve brought to life. The entries are arranged by decade, from Dolores Huerta learning how organizations contribute to the community in the 1920s, to Mattie Johnston explaining that no one every told her she couldn’t do anything “because I was a girl” in the 2000s.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen

A scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist packed with contributions from a diverse range of voices, including celebrities and public figures, and featuring more than forty-four pieces, including an eight-page insert of full-color illustrations.

Nevertheless, We Persisted forward by Amy Klobuchar

A powerful collection of essays from actors, activists, athletes, politicians, musicians, writers, and teens, each writing about a time in their youth when they were held back because of their race, gender, or sexual identity– but persisted.

March (Books One, Two, and Three) by John Lewis

This graphic novel is a first-hand account of Congressman John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation.

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

A 50th-anniversary tribute shares the story of the youngest person to complete the momentous Selma to Montgomery March.

Glimmer of Hope by March for Our Lives

Glimmer of Hope tells the story of how a group of teenagers raced to channel their rage and sorrow into action, and went on to create one of the largest youth-led movements in global history.

We Say #NeverAgain reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists

This collection of essays looks at the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and the fight for gun control– as told by the student reporters for the school’s newspaper and TV station. 

Queer, There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager

Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 23 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms.

My Body, My Choice by Robin Stevenson

This book examines the ongoing fight for abortion rights and reproductive justice.

How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana

Sandra Uwiringiyimana was just ten years old when she found herself with a gun pointed at her head. The rebels were killing people who weren’t from the same community, the same tribe. In other words, they were killing people simply for looking different. Remarkably, Sandra escaped into the night. In this memoir, Sandra tells the story of her survival, of finding her place in a new country, and of her hope for the future.

Fiction

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

Jamie Goldberg, who chokes when speaking to strangers, and Maya Rehrman, who is having the worst Ramadan ever, are paired to knock on doors and ask for votes for the local state senate candidate.

Internment by Samira Ahmed

A terrifying, futuristic United States where Muslim-Americans are forced into internment camps, and seventeen-year-old Layla Amin must lead a revolution against complicit silence.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

Save the restaurant. Save the town. Get the girl. Make Abuela proud. Can thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora do it all or is he in for a BIG, EPIC FAIL?

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

In a small Texas town where high school football reigns supreme, Viv, sixteen, starts a feminist revolution using anonymously-written zines.

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Three misfit girls come together to avenge the rape of a girl none of them knew and in the process start a movement that transforms the lives of everyone around them.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Told through Rashad and Quinn’s alternating viewpoints.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him.

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

Katsuyamas never quit — but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. But when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. Then her mom decides to sell the shop — to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson

Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission–they’re sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post their work online–and soon they go viral. But the club is also targeted by trolls. When things escalate in real life, the principal shuts the club down. Not willing to be silenced, Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices–and those of other young women–to be heard.

White Rose by Kip Wilson

Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose. A non-violent resistance group, they write and distribute anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. When Sophie and her brother are arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators, they know that speaking out against Hitler’s regime is punishable by death. Is it too late to try to save their lives?

*Book summaries from our catalog.

Leave a Reply

Theme by Anders Norén