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We have compiled a list of nonfiction books suited for students and adult readers that teach about 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, and authoritative sources outside our school, including the New York Times (a list created by Ibram Kendi), The Virginian-Pilot, Smithsonian Magazine, National Network of Schools in Partnership, Coretta Scott King Book Awards, and Holocaust Center for Humanity.

The 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 based on current and historical events. 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 and Adult

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander*  

How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi*

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates*

Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People by Ben Crump (Attorney representing the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery) 

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

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

Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr. (Pulitzer Prize winner)

Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

Blindspot by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald*

Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey*

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi*

The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad

So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo

An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz*

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein*

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, a collection edited by Jesmyn Ward

Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race. Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us by Ben Watson (who spoke at NA in 2019; nephew of Elbert Watson)

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson*

Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male by Tim Wise

Middle School

We Are Not Yet Equal by Carol Anderson and Tonya Bolden*

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza*

Loving vs. Virginia by Lucinda Dyer

Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley

A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield

Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston

Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream by Blair Imani


This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell

Breaking Through by Francisco Jiménez

Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Lowery

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

Lower School

What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice by Veronica Chambers

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Mixed, A Colorful Story by Arree Chung

Enough! 20 Protesters Who Changed America by Emily Easton

Teammates by Peter Golenbock

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

Not My Idea:  A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

Let's Talk about Race by Julius Lester 

The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson

As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom by Richard Michelson

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African-Americans by Kadir Nelson

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, illustrated by Laura Freeman

People by Peter Spier

Who Was Rosa Parks? by Yona Zeldis McDonough


Additionally, we have published a list of online resources about racism and Creating a Just Society. Explore those resources.

Also see our list of fiction books on this topic.

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