Racial Justice Initiative – Summer Reading List

Racial Justice Initiative Summer Reading List
Topics on Race and Racism in the U.S. and/or works by Black, Latinx, Asian American, American Indian, Arab American authors


Just Mercy: A story of justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson
Bryan Stevenson’s account of his path as a young lawyer to found the Equal Justice Initiative, and some of the people whose lives he defended

You don’t have to say you love me, Sherman Alexie
Author Sherman Alexie’s memoir of his childhood, and his relationship with his mother, set mostly in the Spokane Indian Reservation.

When they call you a terrorist: A black lives matter memoir, Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
A story of Patrisse Khan-Cullors and how she turned her personal pain into political power, leading to the Black Lives Matter movement

Gather at the table: The healing journey of a daughter of slavery and son of the slave trade, Thomas Norman DeWolf and Sharon Morgan
Two people- a black woman and white man- confront the legacy of racism and slavery

White like me: Reflections on race from a privileged son, Tim Wise
Personal examination of the way white privilege and racism impacts all realms of daily life and negatively impacts whites along with people of color

Historical non-fiction:

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Isabel Wilkerson
A history of the great migration of black Americans north, from 1915 – 1970, using the stories of three individuals who made this migration to bring this history to life.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Ibram X. Kendi
Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history.

Devil’s Highway, Luis Alberto Urrea
The story of a group of men attempting to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, the “Devil’s Highway,” in 2001.

Other Non-fiction:

The Spirit Catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the Collision of two Cultures, Anne Fadiman

The Cooking Gene, Michael Twitty
Culinary historian Michael Twitty takes readers through the history of Southern cuisine and food culture and the question of who “owns” it.


An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
As newlyweds Celestial and Roy settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined.

The Leavers, Lisa Ko
One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon—and never comes home.

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, Mohja Kahf
Syrian immigrant Khadra Shamy is growing up in a devout, tightly knit Muslim family in 1970s Indiana, at the crossroads of bad polyester and Islamic dress codes.

Calling Me Home, Julie Kibler
Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis: drop everything and drive fromArlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. Tomorrow. Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own, agrees. It’s a journey that changes both their lives, as she learns Isabelle’s tale of a forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences — a tale that just might help Dorrie find her own way.

Download as a pdf

And here is a list shared by one of our members, A Children’s Book List for Anti-Racist Activism