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We have compiled a list of fiction books suited for students and adult readers that discuss Black history, current events, and ways to fight racism and injustice. This is one step in our commitment to work for justice, outlined by Headmaster Dennis Manning in his Headmaster's Statement — Creating a Just Society, sent to our community on June 4, and reflected in multiple aspects of the school's strategic plan, Creating a Just Society: Integrity, Leadership, and Pluralism.

The books are recommendations from a variety of sources, including our school librarians and faculty, media sources such as the New York Times (a list created by Ibram Kendi), Smithsonian Magazine, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards.

Books are broken down by appropriate school levels, though some may be suitable for a wider range. Some for younger children are poetry or picture books. The links provide reviews, interviews, and additional information about the authors and books. 

Books with asterisks are available as e-books from the Batten Library Sora Collection. Although the library is closed because of the pandemic, Middle and Upper School students may log in with their school email addresses to access these titles.

Upper School

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo*

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Invisible Man by Ralph W. Ellison

Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (Morrison won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993. The Bluest Eye, published in 1970was her first novel. Song of Solomon (1977) won the National Book Critics Circle Award and Beloved (1987) won the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a film in 1998.)

Monster by Walter Dean Myers*

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Ink Knows No Borders: Poetry of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience, edited by Patrice Vecchione*

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (This novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, is also a summer reading choice for Norfolk Academy faculty and staff.)

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Black Enough by Ibi Zoboi*


Middle School

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Parable of the Sower  by Octavia E. Butler

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

New Kid by Jerry Craft

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes

The Parker inheritance by Varian Johnson

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee*

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Lower School

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

The Blacker the Berry: Poems by Joyce Carol Thomas

Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard

Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson

The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

Midnight Teacher:  Lily Ann Granderson and Her Secret School by Janet Halfmann

I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes

IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, and Carolyn Choi

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

Can I Touch Your Hair?  Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by April Harrison

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o

The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome

Say Something! by Peter Reynolds

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold

You Matter by Christian Robinson

Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

We have previously posted a list of nonfiction books and news articles and websites that address racism and Creating a Just Society.

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