Turning Knowledge Into Action

For the final week of Black History Month, this reading list builds on what we hope you have explored during the past three weeks. This list focuses on how we can turn our knowledge into action. How can we make our community better? Using fictional characters and real life leaders, these book ideas explore three main themes extremely important to our local community: activism, racial justice, and environmentalism. 

Activist Babies
(Board Book formats)

Woke BabyWoke Baby. Mahogany L. Browne. Illustrator: Theodore Taylor III. This book celebrates what it means to be a baby and what it means to become woke. EyeSeeMe Link 


Antiracist Baby
 Antiracist Baby.
Ibram X. Kendi. Illustrator: Ashley Lukashevsky. This book helps parents and young children think about and address racism in their daily lives. Amazon Link 


A is for Antiracist
 A is for Activist.
Innosanto Nagara. This book helps introduce young children to the importance of activism and community engagement. EyeSeeMe Link 


Our Rainbow
 Our Rainbow. Little Bee Books.
Whether in your yard or your neighbors, the LGBTQ+ pride flag is an important part of SOMa’s landscape. This book teaches young children about the meaning of each color of the pride flag. Told in simple, engaging text with bright and diverse illustrations, this board book teaches all about the meaning and importance of the colors of the rainbow flag. Amazon Lin

Activism

superheros are everywhere
Superheroes are Everywhere. Kamala Harris. Illustrator: Michael Renee Roe. Vice President Harris encourages everyone to become superheroes in their communities. EyeSeeMe Link 


Giant steps to change the world
Giant Steps to Change the World. Spike Lee. Tonya Lewis Lee. Illustrator: Sean Qualls. By learning from historical leaders, children can become activists and try to change their communities and the world. EyeSeeMe Link 


kamala and maya
Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea. Meena Harris. Illustrator: Ana Ramirez Gonzalez. Based on the true experiences of Vice President Harris and her sister’s activism as children, this book focuses on two sisters who work with their community to make a change. EyeSeeMe Link 


Speak Up. Miranda Paul Speak Up. Miranda Paul. Illustrator: Ebony Glenn. A diverse group of children discovers many different ways to speak up and make their voices heard. Amazon Link 


Love is Powerful
Love is Powerful. Heather Dean Brewer. Illustrator: LeUyen Pham. A child goes to the 2017 Women’s March and discovers that even in a crowd of tens of thousands of people, her voice can still be heard. Amazon Link 


oh the things
Oh, the Things We’re For! Innosanto Nagara. This book recognizes that many children are already activists and encourages them to use their ideas and desire for change to impact key movements from climate change to police violence, crowded classrooms to healthcare. EyeSeeMe Link 

Racial Justice

Black people and their allies continue to fight for racial justice - each generation standing on the shoulders of the last. Children have the opportunity to engage with and further today’s movements for racial justice.

Black Lives Matter From Hashtag to the Streets
 Black Lives Matter: From Hashtag to the Streets.
Dr. Artika R. Tyner. This book provides historical and modern context and information about the Black Lives Matter movement. EyeSeeMe Link 


I know my rights
 I Know My Rights: Bill of Rights.
Mysonne Linen. Illustrator. This book informs readers about the rights that they are guaranteed under the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Amazon Link 


Black Voter Suppression
 Black Voter Suppression: The Fight for the Right to Vote.
Artika R. Tyner. This book outlines the history of voter suppression laws in the United States including the 2020 Presidential election. Amazon Link 


We are the change
 We are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders.
Harry Belafonte (intro). Inspirational quotes from leaders from all over the world. Amazon Link 

 


say her name


Say Her Name. Zetta Elliott. Illustrator: Loveis Wise. These poems pay tribute to victims of police brutality as well as the activists demanding that Black Lives Matter. Amazon Link


marley diaz
 Marley Dias.
Jenny Benjamin. Sixth-grader, Marley Dias of West Orange, started a campaign to help black and brown girls gain access to books featuring main characters who look like them. She started the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign, speaks to kids about her passion for making our world a better place, and how to make their dreams come true! EyeSeeMe Link


The Youngest Marcher The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist. Cynthia Levinson. Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton. In 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hicks joined the Children’s March against segregation laws in Birmingham, Alabama. She was the youngest protester arrested and showed that even young children can make a difference. EyeSeeMe Link 


equalities call Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America. Deborah Diesen. Illustrator: Magdalena Mora. This book addresses disenfranchised groups and their path to gaining the right to vote. EyeSeeMe Link 


What is black lives matter What is Black Lives Matter? Salina Harris. Illustrator: J.L. Stovall. A child witnesses a Black Lives Matter protest on TV and seeks to learn more about it from his parents. Amazon Link 


Racial Justice Racial Justice in America: Topics for Change. Kelisa Wing. Hedreich Nichols. Leigh Ann Erickson. This book explores current questions around race in comprehensive, honest, and age-appropriate ways (recommended for children 10-13). Amazon Link 

Environmentalism

How can we appreciate nature? How can we work together to care for and love our planet? How can we help combat environmental racism and promote comprehensive and inclusive environmentalism in our community? 

One plastic bag
 One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia.
Miranda Paul. Illustrator: Elizabeth Zunon. The inspiring true story of how one African woman began a movement to recycle the plastic bags that were polluting her community. EyeSeeMe Link 


seeds of change
 Seeds of Change: Wangari’s Gift to the World.
Jen Cullerton Johnson. Illustrator: Sonia Lynn Sadler. After studying in Africa and the United States, Wangari used her knowledge about and passion for the environment to promote the rights of her countrywomen and to help save the land in her home country of Kenya, one tree at a time. She became the first African woman and environmentalist to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Amazon Link 

 

Woke Baby
 Urban Biologist.
Danielle Lee. Kari Cornwell. Dr. Lee, a scientist and blogger, helps young people appreciate wildlife and science. Amazon Link 

 


 


Saving American Beach
Saving American Beach: The Story of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch. Heidi Tyline King. Illustrator: Ekua Holmes. This biography tells the history of American Beach - a beach open to black people during Jim Crow - and Environmentalist MaVynee’s efforts to preserve and save it after desegregation. Amazon Link 


Kenyas Art
 Kenya’s Art. 
Linda Trice. Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell. Instead of throwing away her broken toys, Kenya decides to use them as an opportunity to teach her class how to reduce, reuse, and make art. EyeSeeMe Link 

 

Whats the commotion in the ocean
 What’s the Commotion in the Ocean? 
Nyasha Williams. Illustrator: Sof’ya Glushko. A mermaid educates children about pollution in the oceans and encourages them to find ways to save the oceans. Amazon Link 



save the land
 Save the Land. 
Bethany Stahl. A child in Africa plants trees with her mother to help the land. Amazon Link 


black achievement in science
 Black Achievements in Science: Environmental Science.
Jane P. Gardner.  This book highlights African-American environmental scientists who have contributed to counteracting climate change, studying ways to make farmers' lives better, planning the cities of tomorrow and leading government agencies charged with protecting our resources. Amazon Link 


rubys birds
 Ruby’s Birds.
Mya Thompson. Illustrator: Claudia Dàvila. A child discovers the excitement of going birding in Central Park in New York City. Amazon Link 



save the ocean
 Save the Ocean.
Bethany Stahl. A mermaid swims with her friend the turtle and watches him eat jellyfish that make him sick. The mermaid realizes that his jellyfish are actually plastic bags and encourages everyone to reduce, reuse, recycle. Amazon Link 


buzzing with questions
 Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner.
  Janice N. Harrington. Illustrator: Theodore Taylor III.  Can spiders learn? This was one of many questions buzzing in Charles Henry Turner’s mind. Even when confronted with racism, Turner kept questioning, reading, researching, and experimenting. He eventually became the first Black entomologist. Amazon Link


hiking day
 Hiking Day.
Anne Rockwell. Illustrator. Lizzy Rockwell. A family goes hiking up a nearby mountain to discover what nature offers. EyeSeeMe Link  


In Pursuit of Justice/ Fighting for a New World

For Grades 6 - 12


Grades  6 – 10

The Gilded Ones
 The Gilded Ones
, by Namina Forna Release Date - (February 2021) 
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. EyeSeeMe Link 




Wings of Ebony

 Wings of Ebony
, by J. Elle Release Date - (February 2021)
In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry--and with evil sinking its claws into humans and gods alike, she'll have to unearth the magic of her true identity to save both her worlds. EyeSeeMe Link  




save the ocean
 Dear Martin
, by Nic Stone Release Date – (September 2018)
Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut. EyeSeeMe Link 




Dear Justyce
 Dear Justyce
by Nic Stone Release Date - (September 2020) 
(Sequel to Dear Martin) In the stunning and hard-hitting sequel to the New York Times bestseller Dear Martin, incarcerated teen Quan writes letters to Justyce about his experiences in the American prison system. EyeSeeMe Link  




Grade 8 – 12


This is my america

 This Is My America
, by Kim Johnson Release Date - (July 2020) 
Dear Martin meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting YA novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system. EyeSeeMe Link  




Rebel Girls
 Rebel Sisters (War Girls #2)
, by Tochi Onyebuchi Release Date – (October 2020)
In the epic, action-packed sequel to the “brilliant” (Booklist, starred review) novel War Girls, the battles are over, but the fight for justice has just begun. Amazon Link  




Punching the Air
 Punching the Air
, by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam Release Date - (September 2020)
One fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighbourhood escalates into tragedy. ‘Boys just being boys’ turns out to be true only when those boys are white. EyeSeeMe Link