The one about the Turkey Sandwich

Walter and I had a little spat over a Turkey sandwich yesterday. We are laughing about it now but in the moment we were ready to die on our prospective hills. Let me set the scene: we were working hard around the house trying to finish some DIY projects and decorate for Christmas and we missed lunch. Walter asked if Jaz and I had eaten, I said No but I would make us all something from our Thanksgiving leftovers as soon as I finished hanging some decorations. He told me not to worry about it. I took this response to mean “I’m hungry but I don’t need you to stop what you are doing to feed me”. BUT I finished up my job quickly because Jaz was also hungry and starting to get whiny and I made us all Turkey sandwiches for lunch. I was feeling like Betty Homemaker and I called him in from outside when lunch was ready. He sat down, said Thank You and then proceeded to not eat his turkey sandwich. To which, of course, I replied “YOU AREN’T eating your sandwich??” (how Dare he I even toasted that bread!) And he let me know he did not eat Turkey sandwiches (NEWS TO ME) and that he only eats Turkey on Thanksgiving and that’s it. Which ok I get-I’m not a huge turkey fan either BUT we have all these leftovers that will go to waste AND your wife just spent time toasting this sandwich to perfection for you so JUST SHUT UP AND EAT IT! My bubble was instantly burst and now I was mad. So following lunch (of just chips for Walter) we had a huge fight over the damn turkey sandwich 🤣🤣🤣🤣. Spoiler Alert it wasn’t about the sandwhich, it was about lack of communication BUT the sandwhich took the brunt of the blame. 🤣 🦃

Now look, was I right (OF COURSE) 🤣 BUT somewhere along the line I think both of us realized how ridiculous this fight was and we squashed it. Agreeing we needed to talk things through and communicate better. I made assumptions and he didn’t communicate effectively and the whole thing became an unnecessary jumble of feelings and ridiculousness.
Today we’ve made the vow to never have Turkey sandwiches for as long as we both shall live and to try to stay sane through this pandemic. Covid is testing our patience to the max. 🤣

So now, What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever fought with your spouse about?? I can’t wait to read these 🤣🤣#PandemicMarriage #TheChandlerCrew

I am the first person in the room to say…Guest Blogger Kelsey Kortebein

After a summer of racial reckoning in response to the death of George Floyd, Kelsey was moved to share her own family’s experiences with racial profiling and racism. As a white woman with a Black partner and children, she aims to use her storytelling and personal journey to provide an inside look into what multiracial families experience. It is her hope to enlighten, inspire and spur readers into action in the fight against racial injustice.

Kelsey and her Ghanaian partner have two children together and currently live in West Lafayette, Indiana. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and loves to write, play the piano, travel and spend time outdoors with her family in her spare time. Read below as she shares her thoughts.

I am the first person in the room to say…

As a white woman who loves a Black man and biracial children,that I have my own racist ideas to confront and actively unlearn every day.

Yes, you read that right.

Loving Black family members, friends and the Black community is not a token of immunity from holding prejudice and racism in our hearts.

I am the first person to say I didn’t know that confederate memorabilia are racist and painful reminders to the African American community.

I am the first person to say I didn’t understand that Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling was a signal of distress from Black Americans who are not granted the freedoms described in our National anthem.

I am the first person to say I didn’t know the KKK is deeply active and lynchings still occur.

I am the first person to say I didn’t know the policing system was not designed to protect Black people; in fact, it was designed to do just the opposite.

These devastating truths slapped me across the face, year after year during my relationship with a Black man, while my eyes slowly opened up to his world that I had no idea existed.

And if you are white like me, you probably didn’t know or don’t believe it either.

It’s easier to hold onto ignorance when we receive nothing but respect and protection when we call 911.

It’s too painful to accept the reality of police brutality when our loved ones are police officers.

No matter how many times I see racial injustice affect my family, I will never grasp the magnitude of trauma andchallenges that Black people face in America.

And you know what inexplicably painful thing twists the knife even deeper?

When your screams of pain are ignored.

When you’re heard, but no one believes.

When your babies are bleeding out in the streets, and people complain about buildings.

When your grief bothers and scares people.

When there isn’t a single thing you can do to invoke concern for your family the way other families are cared for.

When those who condemn you sing about unconditional love in church every Sunday.

When their representation of the Good Samaritan only applies to people who look like them.

When they flip tables over babies being murdered in the womb, but not for the babies that came out of your womb.

When it’s surprising once the screams, marching and fires echo and burn brighter than ever before.

And ultimately, when everyone is relieved as the world slips back into silence, and your pain can be ignored again.

Or until another George Floyd cries out for his mama underneath the knee of a white man, and your unending grief is condemned… once again.

I’m white.

I’ll never have the personal experience. I will always have a lot to un-learn and relearn. 

But if the truth breaks through to just one person, I will continue sharing what I’m learning through my own journey.

I’ll continue because I believe when we know better, we can do better.

And I’ll be damned if I knew better, and I still refused to do better.

-Kelsey Kortebein

You can find more about Kelsey at her blog

Finding The Silver Lining This Holiday Season

Look I get it. This year sucks! Covid SUCKS, Holidays with no Family-SUCKS. It’s extra difficult for us this year because it’s the first year we will be celebrating A holiday since my mother passed in May. We are, in general, just BUMMED and not looking forward to any of it. BUT I HATE feeling like this. So I had a Come to Jesus moment this week and decided we NEEDED to find some silver linings for this Holiday Season. So like I always do I made a list of all the things that are GREAT this year during the Pandemic.

Spending Less Money

We are spending FAR less money. Who doesn’t love that? We are staying home for the holidays just the 3 of us so that means no need to buy hostess gifts, have travel $, presents for my cousins kids, holiday outfits, etc. No need to buy all the food for multiple parties or carry ins, no need to bake dozens of cookies to pass out to family and friends. We are cutting wayyyyyyy back by not going anywhere or celebrating with people this year. This will save us a TON of $ because these things all add up to be A LOT each year. The $ we are saving can go to paying off some debt or to treat ourselves with something extra fun this year. Don’t worry, we will still have fun gifts and holiday foods and cookies a plenty for the 3 of us but no need to be cooking and baking non stop. And no need to over buy for everyone we know. We are super simplifying Christmas this year, focusing on only those in our immediate circle and sending small gifts, homemade treasures and cards to those who live further away. The list of “needs” has been cut in half and I’m here for it! It’s also allowed us to focus on what and who matter most. And let me tell you sharing the Holiday Spirit doesn’t mean buying a $10 candle, it means sharing our love, our memories, and our moments, with each other. Even if it’s just a family ZOOM session, everything means a bit more this year.

Less Stress…sort of.

I mean let’s be honest, worrying about COVID-19 adds plenty of stress BUT at home in our bubble we have very little of the Holiday stress that usually accompanies this season for us. No packing, cooking, planning, shopping times infinity, wrapping extending family presents, traveling, juggling schedules and boarding the dog. NONE of that has to happen this year-and I am THRILLED about this! If we cook it’s because we want to, when we wrap it’ll just be a few things, when we shop it’s all online in our PJs so this is a Big WIN for Covid Christmas Silver Linings. The holiday stress will be minimal and we won’t have to force smiles and deal with party meltdowns and the added stress of travel. This makes Holiday Life so MUCH EASIER this year! We get so much more time back AND we get to RELAX!

Quality Time…for real this time.

Every year we can’t wait for the Holiday break to spend some quality time together. My husband and I work opposite shifts so we RARELY get to be together just the 3 of us without obligations. Even during past holidays the majority of the time is spent traveling or socializing with our extended family. We love spending time with our families and the memories we make BUT this year it gets to be just the 3 of us, making our own memories, starting some new traditions just for us, and ACTUALLY spending quality time together just BEING TOGETHER. This may be my favorite part of the current pandemic. Would I wish COVID away immediately? OF COURSE! But while it’s here I am soaking up the unexpected extra time with my crew.

There are a million reasons I’m sad for the holidays this year but I’m trying to shift my focus. I have a very impressionable 4 year old who looks to me for every emotion so more than ever I’m finding reasons to celebrate the season and enjoy the time we have together. If we are lucky we have 14 more Holiday seasons with our girl at home and I plan to make the most of this one, even if it’s during a pandemic. I know this year is hard but if you can, shift your focus on all the moments we get and set your eyes on the silver linings this year is providing us all. Wishing you the best, most peaceful and HEALTHY Holiday Season yet!

Black Friday Deals: Amazon

It’s that time of year again! Black Friday is on the horizon. But for a lot of us Black Friday will look a little different this year. I would typically be mapping out what stores we were going to as soon as the Turkey was done BUT with the current Covid-19 situation we decided to forgo in person shopping this Black Friday and instead focus on what we could find online. And when I say online I primarily mean AMAZON. Like a lot of you we are Amazon obsessed in this household. It’s quick, it’s easy, as a prime member I get good deals and I usually get it delivered straight to my door in less than 2 days. Amazon is already rolling out their Black Friday ADs and the fun thing this year is it’s more than just one day, it’s ALL MONTH LONG!

Amazon Black Friday Deals on Slickdeals

This is AWESOME but can be overwhelming when you are trying to find the best deal. To make finding the best deals easy for you Slickdeals has all the Black Friday Amazon deals organized by category and you can quickly reference what you want to buy or peruse their list at your leisure. It gave me some good ideas for those hard to buy people in my life. If you want to check out their deals and exclusive Promo Code offers here’s an easy to navigate link.

Here’s some of my favorites that have made their way to my Shopping list this year thanks to Slickdeals!

Fun holiday books for Jaz for under $1! You can’t beat that!

A 6ft charge cable for $5 using slick deals Promo Code. I don’t know about you but we ALWAYS need another charger.

USB C to USB C Cable AUKEY 6.6ft Type C Cable TPE + Aramid Fiber 60W Fast Charging Cord Charger for Samsung Galaxy Note9 S10 S10+ S9 S8, Google Pixel 2XL 3XL, Nexus, MacBook Air, iPad Pro 2018 – White

A new ring light using slick deals 50% off promo code for only $10! You can’t beat that price and this is a crowd pleaser for those hard to buy for teens and twenty somethings.

Selfie Ring Light with Tripod Stand & Phone Holder for Live Streaming & YouTube Video, Dimmable Desk Makeup Ring Light for Photography, Shooting with 3 Light Modes & 10 Brightness Level

They also have toys toys and more toys. You can scroll through Amazon to find millions of toys but Slickdeals also has a nice layout of all the great deals happening for Black Friday on toys. We just ordered this awesome Hot Wheels Track for our nephew for only $15. It’s a bummer we won’t be able to spend the holidays with our family this year but we are making sure that everyone gets a little something from us delivered straight to their door.

Hot Wheels Track for 50% off

Hot Wheels Track Builder Unlimited Triple Loop Kit, Multi Color, Model:GLC96

There are HUNDREDS of Black Friday deals that will be going on all month long so it’s worth shopping now! No need to wait until actual Black Friday! This is a hard year for everyone but I think the upside to our crazy world is the technology we have allows us all to connect with loved ones across the globe even when we can’t see them. If you can’t be with the people you love at least you can ship them the latest deals from Amazon with the click of a button. Christmas may look a little different this year for you, it will for us, but with just a little forethought it can still be Merry & Bright. And plus side-no waiting in LINES this Black Friday!

Let the Happy Holidays Begin!

-The Chandlers

It’s all Gravy Baby…

You might wonder why I’m posting a picture of Gravy but this is more than just Gravy. See my mom was the gravy maker in the family. She made expert level gravy-no lumps and it was always perfect with her pot roast. She also was head gravy maker at all holidays. No one else ever bothered to make it because she was the Gravy Queen 🤣. In my 39 years of life I’ve never once made gravy that I didn’t call and ask my mom “What do I do again?” And even though it was her 200th time telling me she always patiently walked me through the process. Well tonight I made a pork roast and for the first time ever I had to make gravy without calling my mom. So I reached for the phone, remembered, cried…and then put my big girl pants on, said a quick hello to her in heaven and made the damn gravy. And it was perfect. Just another reminder that she’s with me even when I can’t see her. #MemoriesPouringOutLikeGravy

Raising a daughter without my Mother.

Today is national daughters day and as I sit here and play with my daughter I’m hit by the gravity that I no longer have a mother. One of the hardest parts of losing my mom is realizing I have to raise a daughter without my own mother around. As women we go through so many stages with our mothers. Babies being fully dependent on them, childhood thinking they hang the moon, middle school and high school needing them still desperately but hating it, college forging out on our own trying to run as far away from them as possible, to our early twenties when we slowly start to understand them. Getting married having our own families, our own babies, that’s when we can fully appreciate our mothers. We can finally see and love them for all the wisdom and sacrifices they made for us. All the time they spent pouring in to us to raise us to be decent humans. For the first time I feel like I finally saw my mom and she saw me and we were a team. And she was taken away from me just as we hit our stride. Truly we have been a team since the beginning, but as kids often do, it took me time to appreciate all that she brought to the table. Now I find myself pinning away for her wisdom, her shoulder, her stories, her advice every day. As I look at my daughter I have so many questions. Did I act like this as a child? Did you cry when I went to Preschool? What did you tell me when Grandma died? So many situations pop up every day that I wish I could come to her for. So many things that only she would get. The shorthand that develops between a mother and a daughter over almost 4 decades is one that can’t be replicated. No one else knows all my stories without me telling them. No one else has been a witness to my life from the beginning. I miss having her here for many reasons but the biggest of all is I miss being her daughter.

3 Tips for Throwing an Anniversary Party

Our friends are celebrating a milestone anniversary this year and I’ve been tasked with helping plan a small gathering for later this year. Whether celebrating a couple’s paper (first) anniversary or their gold (fiftieth) anniversary, finding that special someone is a blessing worth commemorating in an equally special way. Either you’re planning an event for your own wedding anniversary or a surprise for one of your closest friends; whatever the case, here are three essential tips I’ve found for making this party as special as it deserves to be.

Find the right location

Before you can throw any party, you have to figure out where you’re going to throw it. First, figure out if it’s going to be a big, lively event or a small, personal one. If it’s the latter, your own home might be a serviceable venue.

More than likely, though, you’ll be holding the event elsewhere. In that case, keep in mind that finding the right location is about more than just finding the most affordable one (although that definitely plays a role, too). You have to find one that accommodates your guest list, but also one that fits your needs (Do you need a stage? How about a dance floor? Is alcohol allowed on the premises? Etc.)

Last but not least there’s the “wow” factor. It isn’t always necessary or feasible, but when possible finding a location that adds to the atmosphere of the party is an excellent touch. Maybe it has a spectacular view or is itself an architectural wonder. It could even be something as small as the restaurant where the couple had their very first date. A little creativity goes a long way.

Don’t forget entertainment

It’s not a true party without some entertainment, and while it might be tempting to just hook your iPhone up to some speakers and put on a custom playlist, that really doesn’t make for a special party, does it?

You can never go wrong with a DJ or a live band, but don’t rule out more unique types of entertainers either: stand-up comics, magicians, shadow performers, aerialists, and even celebrity impersonators are all options that can make an anniversary party stand out and hammer home the rarity that finding true love really is.

That said, it’s also worth considering the preferences of both the couple and the guests. It’s not just a matter of what people do like, but what they don’t as well. For instance if there are going to be children at the event, Christian comedians and musicians tend to be appropriate for all audiences. Walter and I recently attended a Christian Comedian’s Stand Up Set on relationships and it would be the perfect entertainment for an anniversary party! Meanwhile, if you are looking for family friendly you’ll probably want to nix the all-nude chainsaw juggling-act. Use good judgement.

Planning the perfect anniversary party is like building a pyramid. It has to have three points. You’ve already picked the location and you’ve got the live entertainment figured out. The third and final essential you need to get right is the menu.

Cater to every taste

No matter how good a party you throw, if people don’t go home with a full stomach, they probably won’t go home happy. For smaller events, doing the cooking yourself or asking guests to bring dishes is perfectly acceptable. For larger events, though, you’re going to want to hire a caterer. But what kind? Do you want to serve your guests at their tables or buffet-style? Both have advantages and disadvantages: the former ensures good service but can also be a statistical nightmare for larger groups, while the latter allows guests to serve themselves to their heart’s content yet all but ensures long lines.

Then there’s the food itself. Once again, think about who you’re feeding and what they like. My family LOVES charcuterie and appetizers so those are crowd pleasers for my crew but always take your crowds likes in mind. Don’t forget about people with dietary restrictions and vegetarians, too. Ideally, your best bet is to provide multiple options. That way, everybody’s satisfied.

We are looking forward to when the world opens back up and we can start having parties on a full scale again. For now we still plan to keep living and celebrating our milestones as responsibly as we can with those closest to us. I hope these tips will help you with your next anniversary party or gathering and above all you enjoy the company you are with! I can’t wait to celebrate another milestone anniversary with Walter and have all our family and friends around us!

A letter to White Churches

When I say the word racism the first thing you want to say is, we love all God’s children. Then you refuse to shake my husband’s hand. When you stand on the pulpit and preach LOVE but laugh in the church basement breakfast line at a racist joke told by a Deacon, I don’t believe your words. When you tell me you welcome our family and then your wife misquotes the Bible by telling me I’m “unequally yoked” by being married to a black man, I do not feel welcomed. When you say you foster a community of faith but then uninvite my family to a small group when you find out my husband is black, I do not feel your faith in action. When you shake my hand on Sunday and tell me you love my family and then I see you share a racist meme on Facebook I do not feel that Christian embrace.

So many White Christians deny that racism exists in their church and yet my husband and I have spent the last 6 years searching for a church where we felt at home, where we felt welcomed. We have finally found a church home that we can comfortably worship in, but imagine the agony of 6 years of searching before we found a place that we could truly feel at home. Our experiences as an interracial family have shown that some of the most racist interactions we’ve had have been with members of the church. Why is that? Well first, men are flawed. Humans have sin and humans harbor hate. Racism can sometimes be so ingrained in a person or even a church that they don’t even realize they harbor these bias. Thankfully, We do not base our faith or our walk with Christ on the flaws of other Christians and if anything these struggles have allowed us to dig deeper in our own personal Faith. BUT as a Christian I am so disheartened that it took us so long to find a church that allowed both my husband and I to worship alongside each other without feeling uncomfortable. The church as a whole has a responsibility to speak out against these sometimes antiquated and ingrained racisms. But where do you start if you don’t even realize you have them?

First, look at your membership, are you a primarily white church? If so, why? What can you do to diversify? Are you welcoming to all races? Are you making members feel “othered” or are you making them feel comfortable. Are you allowing biases and derogatory statements to go unchecked? Are there any people of color on your boards or sitting in places of power within your church? The biggest roadblock to progress is ignorance. We need to start learning about each other and you can’t learn if you don’t surround yourself with people to learn from. That means having people of color in positions of authority within the church so they can add a voice to the conversation. Representation matters.

The goal of the church should be to love and spread God’s word to all people but that can’t happen if members of your congregation feel marginalized. As an organization the church needs to be very vocally anti-racist. It’s not enough to just say “Love One Another” and then turn a blind eye to the prejudices of your members. As a church we can not stay silent when we see our brothers and sisters hurting. We can not just take the easy road and say “I don’t see color”. My husband will adamantly disagree with you on that point. He wants you to see color. Being black is a part of him, it’s part of who he is and it’s part of his story and it’s part of what has made him the man he is today. You can’t take that away. And let’s be real, everyone sees color. If one of you turned purple Sunday morning it’s not like we wouldn’t notice and wonder about the Violet girl in the front pew. Instead of saying “I don’t see color,” it would be better is to say, I see your color, I see all of you, and I love you, I welcome you, I embrace you, I do not judge you. And try to honor that and check yourself when those unknown biases start to show up. Check yourself and check others when you hear these biases. We all have them and we’ve all heard them. “You’re so articulate for a black man”, or my personal favorite “you’re so nice for a black man” which implies that black men are not particularly smart, well spoken or nice. All of these are false. And Sure that’s not what you meant but you’ve unearthed a hidden bias in yourself when you make a statement like that. It’s time to confront those in ourselves and in others. We need to Shine a light on what’s happening. As a Church we should leave NO ROOM for Racism within our walls. God has taught us over and over again that Light drives out the darkness. As Christians that should be our goal. Shining our light and our love of Jesus and driving away these sins that divide us. My hope is that we won’t fear away from talking about the hard topics. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend like these things aren’t happening. If something happens to my brother it happens to me. There are no such things as other people’s problems. We are all God’s children and if my brothers or sisters are hurting as a Christian I am here to help them, I am commanded to help them.

So then the question becomes
How? Well a lot of people smarter than me have asked how we end this great divide, and the problem still isn’t solved but I know one thing for sure, we need to talk about it. We need to all share our experiences, we need to open up and really get to know each other’s struggles. Not blame, not yell, not be quick to anger, not drag politics in to it, just TALK to one another. Get to know your neighbors, get to know my husband, get to know the black man or woman of color in the pew a few rows up. Reach out. Human connection is a POWERFUL thing. It’s why God sent his son in human form to us, Human connection is everything. When you connect and you really get to know people you realize the fear of the unknown was just wasted energy. At the end of the day we are all the same in Christ. Jesus is the great Uniter, but Jesus works through men and it’s time for us to all start following his commands. And Of all of HIS commands the Greatest is Love.

Most Days…I miss you Mom.

Today marks exactly two months since my mother passed. In her last moments she was in a coma on a ventilator and eventually that itself was not enough and we had to make the hard decision to end life support. Most days I manage through the grief and the painful moments and I focus on the good memories. Most days I put one foot in front of the other and I keep moving. Most days I try to focus on something good and something true and something solid each day. I find something…anything that will give me JOY. Most days that’s Jasmine’s face and my husband’s hugs or my dog’s cuddles. Most days I just keep swimming. But the nights. The God forsaken nights. That’s when I’m no longer needed to keep the world spinning. Everyone I’m responsible for is tucked away soundly in bed. The laundry has been folded the kitchen cleaned. No little sticky hands are pulling at my dress, no little voices are whining for my attention or bombarding me with laughter and giggles. There are no more distractions and grief comes upon me like a ton of bricks. I reread the last texts she sent me, when we all knew the outlook was grim. I relive the last moments in the hospital watching her gasp for air. I comb over her messages to me, as she was unable to breathe and unable to type much but she made sure she said she “loved all off us”. I read that text over and over and Grief crashes so soundly over me until I’m unable to breathe as well. I think of everything I’ve lost and every moment that has been stolen from me. I cry for all the stories I forgot to write down and all the recipes I forgot to remember. I cry for every moment that life continues to bring JOY to me that I no longer have her to witness. She was my biggest supporter and my biggest cheerleader. She was my witness to life. Without her here things do not feel real, accomplishments ring hollow. I know she sees us, I know she’s at peace and she’s watching proudly, but I miss feeling her love. I ache to share every new thing with my mom. Every wonderful amazing thing that’s happened this past month is joyful but it also stings because my mom is not here to celebrate with us. The fruit of any of my labors just doesn’t taste the same when she’s not around to revel in it with us. In the morning I will wake up to a curly haired angel baby smiling at me telling me she had a dream about me and she dreamed it was time to get up and play. This is how she wakes me up every morning. And I will get up and remember how blessed I am in so many ways and I will try my best to find some joy in the moments. I will do my best to pour love back in to the universe and keep my world moving forward. But the nights. Those deep dark long nights. They take my breathe away…

What To Read…

Some of my very first memories with my mom were reading with her. I remember being snuggled up on her lap and reading Fairy Tales and hanging on to every word. Sleeping Beauty was my favorite because I thought AURORA was gorgeous and I loved the pink roses in the pictures. In later years when we began reading on our own my mom made a rule that we could extend our bedtime by 30 minutes (a huge amount of time when you are a child) IF we were in our beds reading. So every night my brother and I read independently before bed. The stories I devoured in my room through childhood and adolescence are some of my favorite memories to date. There is little that compares to reading a favorite book for the first time! My brother and I both grew in to book lovers and have tried to pass the love of literature on to our own children. I believe the greatest superpower of stories is the ability to transport the reader to any place in the universe. To expose the reader to pages full of mysteries, love affairs, friendships, struggles, and connections with humans of every race and creed, all from the comfort of your own home. Within a book there is a sense of wonder, excitement and promise. So naturally when the world fees topsy turvy to me the first place I want to run is directly to the pages of a book. Whether you are seeking to learn, to expand your knowledge or to share diversity with the children in your life, below is a list my wonderful friend and Early Literacy Specialist, Jamie Garcia compiled to help you get started. I’ve included her notes and explanations so you can have a starting point to begin digging deeper with your own children and for yourself! First she includes a lengthy list of Diverse Books for Children of every age and she follows it with a list of Books for Adult readers that focuses on the Black experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and has kindly compiled this list for our followers. Take a look and save it for future reference. You will not be disappointed!

What To Read…For Children

*Notes from Jamie*

“The books with the * are ones that I have read before and HIGHLY recommend compared to the others in the list–these are often ones that hit on more than one important topic. The picture books are at the beginning, and the chapter books have their own separate section. The chapter books include some early readers for K-2, but a majority of those books listed there are for grades 3-6+.
One last SUPER IMPORTANT note: I would HIGHLY urge you to advocate for books that paint the black community as being heroes and as just going through daily life. Some people have been flooding their classrooms or homes with books of black children and adults overcoming slavery and Jim Crow. That is SO SUPER important, but black children need to see themselves as OTHER than slaves or victims of Jim Crow, as just the heroes in an epic fantasy, as a middle schooler just trying to fit in, as a sports star, scientists, etc. I am not saying that they should stay away from slavery, DEFINITELY have it, but try finding books that paint them as heroes, adventurers, scientists, activists, etc. In my booklists, I tried to stay away from books about slavery and from common racial tropes. Let’s change the world one book at a time!”

Jamie B Garcia, Early Literacy Specialist, Washington-Centerville Public Library

Diverse books for Children:

Asian Heritage

Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh (Muslim immigrant experience and cultural appreciation)

Crescent Moons and Painted Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes by Hena Khan (beautiful works of art, cultural appreciation, diversity)

Holi Colors by Rina Singh (a board book but shows the beautiful cultural tradition of Holi)

*Festival of Colors by Surishtha Sehgal (another picture book about the Indian Festival of Colors)

*The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (respecting new students with different names)

Thread of Love by Kabir Sehgal (about the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan)

The Tiger in my Soup by Kasmira Sheth (diverse characters-India) I haven’t read it but it came up on a list I found online and has some good reviews on Goodreads.

Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan (diverse characters. Pakistani)

Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman (Indian main character and fairy tale)

Peg and Cat: The Eid al-Adha Adventure by Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson

T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet by Varsha Bajaj (excellent pictures featuring important Indian landmarks)

Leila in Saffron by Rukhsanna Guidroz (Pakistan & loving your culture and family)

African American Heritage

*Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (features love and respect for the headscarf)

*My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera (how beautiful black hair is)

*I Am Enough by Grace Byers (loving who you are and respecting others even though they may be different)

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed (how little girls of color can and should dream big)

Don’t Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller (about having beautiful black hair but that it is not ok to touch it)

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena (grandmother and grandson travel on the bus and notice different neighborhoods)

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes (a celebration of black male hair)

*Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (an amazing story about a young girl who will do anything to be what she wants to be)

Early Sunday Morning by Denene Miller (good for helping with courage, bravery, and stage fright)

*Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty (black girls can be amazing scientists too—STEAM)

*Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry (A black father helps his black daughter love and appreciate her beautiful hair).

*The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander (Looking at black heroes and their wonderful accomplishments.)

Hispanic Heritage

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales (immigrant experience and Hispanic culture)

*Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza (celebrates the Hispanic Luchadora wrestlers and reinforces that girls can be wrestlers too)

*Dear Primo by Duncan Tonatiuh (two Hispanic cousins live apart from each other [one in NY and the other in Mexico] and they learn that their lives are not that different.

Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Thong (A girl notices shapes that are abundant in her predominately Hispanic neighborhood)

Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina (Meg’s grandmother visits, but she does not speak English so they find other ways to communicate and enjoy each other’s company)

No English by Jacqueline Jules (a Hispanic girl comes new to school and doesn’t understand English and another student doesn’t think it’s fair until she learns more about her)

*Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre by Anika Aldamuy Denise (Excellent biography of an amazing Latina Librarian.)

*My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Zeke Pena (Wonderful story of a man and his daughter exploring their Hispanic neighborhood.)

*Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh (Looks at the segregation of not black students, but Hispanic students in the South during the 1950s and 1960s.)

Native American Heritage:

*Thunder Boy Jr by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales (celebrates Native American names and culture)

When We Were Alone by David Robertson (a young Native child learns about her culture)

Stolen Words by Melanie Florence (how the loss of Native languages has become common over the years because of colonialism)

First Laugh, Welcome Baby! by Rose Ann Tahe and Nancy Bo Flood

Immigrant and Refugee Experience/New Students

*Mustafa by Marie Louise-Gay (a refugee student flees to the US and tries to fit in)

*Someone New by Anne Sibley O’Brien (new students who came from other countries and acceptance)

*All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold (everyone is welcome in a classroom no matter where they come from)

Marwan’s Journey by Patricia de Arias (some of it might be scary depending on age level, but it shows refugees fleeing and gives an idea of what refugees have to go through to come to a new place)

*I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien (immigrant experience from their perspective, diverse cultures, names, and characters)

*The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson (finding courage to be different as a new student who looks different than others, diverse characters)

The Journey by Francesca Sanna (refugee experience which helps with empathy)

The Day the War Came by Nicola Davies

Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour (Refugee experience, friendship, more light hearted not as deep)

Idriss and His Marble by Rene Gouichoux (African refugee experience)

A Sky Without Lines by Krystia Basil (border wall separating families)

*Dreamers by Yuyi Morales (An autobiographical picture book of Morales’ immigrant experience to the US. Absolutely beautiful.)

Books with Diverse Characters and Message of Welcome/Love:

My Mommy is a Hero and My Daddy is a Hero by Isabel Otter (deals with diverse parents in the military)

*I Walk with Vanessa by Kerscoet (about an act of kindness and how that can web out and effect others too, features diverse characters and shows that everyone is the same no matter what they look like)

Neither by Airlie Anderson (features animals to tell a story about being different, celebrating and being proud of your differences, and how others should respect and love those differences too)

The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates (shows that there’s room for everyone, and the umbrella adapts)

*Skin Again by Bell Hooks (talks about skin color and how that should not define who you are)

*Love by Matt de la Pena (love is powerful and can go beyond skin color)

W is for Welcome: A Celebration of American’s Diversity by Brad Herzong (parts of American historical landmarks but also paths to citizenship)

*I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde (a book about empathy with diverse characters and cultural backgrounds)

That’s Not a Hippopotamus by Juliette Maclver (comical tale of a diverse classroom that goes on a fieldtrip to the zoo)

*We Are Shining by Gwendolyn Brooks (how everyone is beautiful, acceptance, and humanity)

Books Celebrating Who You Are:

Dear Girl: A Celebration of Wonderful, Smart, Beautiful You! By Amy Krouse Rosenthal (important messages to garner self-confidence in young girls, does feature diverse girls too, but there is mainly a white girl featured)

*Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (diverse characters, Hispanic cultural appreciation, and being different)

*Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban (that you don’t need to be a specific gender to like a specific color)

Being You by Alexs Pate (that you are wonderful the way you are)

*It’s Ok to be Different by Todd Parr (celebrating everyone’s differences)

Want to Play Trucks? ~ Ann Stott (celebrating differences between how kids play, and celebrating finding common ground)

Where Are You From? By Jaime Kim

-Big Boys Cry by Jonty Howley (breaking gender norms)

What Riley Wore by Elana K. Arnold (not dressing to gender, being inclusive)


* A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary (all kinds of families represented)

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings (about a boy who knows he should really be a girl)

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam Baker Shiffer  LGBT parents (celebrating mother’s day at school. One kid has two dads, one has two moms, I think one lives with grandma.

Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane (a story about a pig who is adopted by two dads)

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson (two male penguins who love each other want a family of their own)

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco (features a mixed race family with two mothers)

*The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman (features mixed race couples and families as well as same sex couples)

*Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack (a prince can’t seem to find someone he loves until a knight in shining armor arrives)

Worm Loves Worm by J.J Austrian (Two worms in love decide to get married, but aren’t sure who should be the bride and who should be the groom)

Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah & Ian Hoffman (Jacob has a great imagination, and also loves wearing a dress, especially one he’s made himself)

Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton (Tilly the Teddy knows it doesn’t matter whether you’re a boy or a girl; it’s what’s inside that counts!)

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Baldacchino(Morris is teased when he wears a dress to school, but schoolmates soon learn how much fun he can be.)

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom (A child is born, and can’t decide what to become. A mother’s love encourages them to be whatever they can imagine.)

Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman (Three-year-old Casey wants what his older sister, Jessie, has–a shimmery skirt, glittery painted nails, and a sparkly bracelet–but Jessie does not approve.)

(Jack) Not Jackie by Erica Silverman (Jackie identifies as Jack, and his family learns to accept that.)

-Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Whiteness/White Privilege

*Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham

Divorced parents:

Here and There by Tamara Ellis Smith

Chapter Books:

Chapter books–Asian Heritage:

*Front Desk by Kelly Yang (Brings up micro aggressions, immigration, and the Asian American experience.)

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Weaves Asian folktales into a wonderful story)

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang (Lucy wants a room of her own and wants her own space—until things change when her aunt from China moves in too.)

*Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan (A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to embrace her family’s culture and also blending in at school.)

*Aru Shah and the End Time by Roshani Chokshi (Basically Percy Jackson with a lead female Indian character with traditional Hindu gods. Excellent story and characters.)

-Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (An amazing and page-turning series based in Korean mythology.)

*Meet Yasmin! Early reader series by Saadia Faruqi (Yasmin is a spitfire second grader who is proud of her Pakistani culture and wants to accomplish so much in life! Excellent early reader series.)

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! By Jessica Kim (Yumi is super shy but wants to become a standup comedian. Tries to overcome bullying about her Korean heritage.)

Chapter books– African American Heritage:

*Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson (SUCH a moving and powerful story about a black girl in the south who has heard of the killing of Emmitt Till. Might be risky in a classroom, and may want to ready it ahead of time, but it is similar to Roll of Thunder. Amazing story.)

*One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (Super popular and well-received.)

EllRay Jakes early reader/chapter book series by Sally Warner (EllRay gets into super funny predicaments and kids can easily identify with him.)

*Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Autobiography told in verse about what it was like to be a young black girl in the 1960s and 1970s.)

*A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Renee (Brings up issues of not being “black enough,” Black Lives Matter, and standing up for what you believe in.)

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (Love of blues music, ties of family and loyalty, and lead character is a black boy.)

-The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson (After her parentsdivorce, she goes to live with her mom and befriends Brandon—and together they set out to uncover the history of racial tension in their town.)

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon (Styx is a new friend to the group and everything he does is funny and full of hijinks and surprises.)

-As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds (Genie and his brother go to Virgina and spend time with their blind grandfather, and learn to ask questions and learn more about their family’s history.)

-The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley (Brings up the history and culture of Harlem.)

*Crossover by Kwame Alexander (A novel told in verse about two black twin brothers and the pressures of school, basketball, sibling rivalry, and more. Story is very relatable.)

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott (Good for ages 7 and up, lead black character.) fadv

Chapter books– Hispanic Heritage:

*First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez (punk rock Malu starts a band and fights for the right to express herself and her culture)

*Me, Frida, and the Peacock Ring by Angela Cervantes (Lead characters are Hispanic and finding the love for their culture while also uncovering a mystery.)

*Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (Newbery Award winner, excellent story, and amazing background/embracing of Hispanic culture and family.)

*Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez (Absolutely hilarious and for fans of the Percy Jackson series. Great depiction of Cuban culture and folklore.)

Sofia Martinez: The Marigold Mess by Jacqueline Jules (Excellent series, minimal Spanish throughout, lead Latina character.)

*Pedro series by Fran Manushkin (Excellent early reader series with a lead Latino character, engaging stories, and minimal Spanish throughout.)

*Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (Absolutely hilarious and a great introduction to Hispanic culture and Spanish language for early readers.)

*Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo (As a Mexican-American, she was expected by her parents to marry and keep to her home, but she wanted adventure and discovery—great to show success and someone to look up to.)

Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai Gonzalez (Sarai wants to help her grandparents keep their home and will do absolutely everything.)

Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres (Stef wants more free time outside of working at her parent’s taco truck.)

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano(Weaves together Mexican, Texan, and American culture together with a delightful fantasy.)

*The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcarcel (As a Guatemalan-American, Quijana works hard to learn more about her culture.)

*Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (AMAZING graphic novel about celebrating Dia de los Muertos.)

Chapter Books–Native American Heritage:

*The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich (An Ojibwe girl and her everyday life—recommended instead of The Little House on the Prairie series.)

Stone River Crossing by Tim Tingle (A runaway slave and Native American child befriend and protect one another).

*Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Basically Percy Jackson except based in Navajo religion with a lead Native character and awesome plot.)

*Who Was Maria Tallchief by Catherine Gourley (Part of the Who Was/Is? Series, focuses on famous Native ballerina.)

Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac (Historical fiction of a Mohawk boy in the 1400s.)

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare (Looks at interaction between white settlers and natives in the 1700s from the native POV.)

Chapter Books about Immigrant and Refugee Experience/New Students:

*Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Inspired by the author’s refugee experience after the Fall of Saigon.)

My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (Biographical story about Diane coming home from school to find her parents totally gone—they were picked up by ICE as undocumented. Read the adult version and loved it.)

*Refugee by Alan Gratz (Look at the experiences of three different characters who are fleeing for their lives for something better. Great in building empathy.)

A Long Walk to Remember by Linda Sue Park (Two stories told about two different girls at different times about their immigration experience.)

*Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi(Absolutely hilarious and she talks about what it was like growing up as an undocumented immigrant while trying to assimilate to American culture.)

*The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz (Incredible story about being a refugee and what it was like through the journey and what made the kids leave from South America. HIGHLY recommend to build empathy and understanding about why people are fleeing and choosing to live undocumented here in the US.)

The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf (Incredible look at the refugee experience and activism.)

Silver Meadows Summer by Emma Otheguy (A Puerto-Rican young girl tries to assimilate to the U.S.)

Chapter Books with Diverse Characters and Message of Welcome/Love:

*Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson (Each student in a class shares their story about immigration, being black, etc. Amazing story with an awesome message at the end.)

*The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell (All characters are diverse, with real and relatable stories—brings up race and gender identity. *Graphic novel.)

*Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy by Rey Terciero (Re-telling of Little Women with a blended family who protests together and goes through many hardships together. Graphic novel)

Chapter Books–LGBTQ:

*George by Alex Gino (George knows that although people see a boy, she knows she is a girl.)

*Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Growing up in middle school and exploring feelings of love—gay love here is normalized.)

*Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow (A girl is struggling with the divorce of her parents, goes to camp, and she finds herself falling in love with another girl.)

*Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (Features a lead character of color who deals with discrimination, as a hurricane comes into town, she finds she begins falling in love with her friend.)

*Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker (Zenobia knows that others see her as a boy, but she knows she was born a girl, and she tries to solve who is behind the hateful comments she has been receiving.)

*The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (A lead male character falls in love with Percy and then another camp counselor.)

*The Moon Within by Aida Salazar (Normalizes a character who is transitioning, going through menstruation for the first time, and lots of Hispanic cultural norms and practices. HIGHLY recommend.)

*One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock (Two friends fall in love in the south in the late 1970s, it is not easy.)

A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner (Silas does a report card on the first ever out baseball player in history, and this presentation is like the first step towards telling others who he actually is.)

King and the Dragonflies by Kacecn Callender (A black lead character learns more about himself through his grief in Louisiana.)

Chapter books—Disabilities:

Roll with It by Jamie Summer (A girl named Ellie has big dreams, and her wheelchair will not stop her!)

*You don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino (Talks about race and also the hearing-impaired community.)

*El Deafo by Cece Bell (Wonderful graphic novel depicting what it is like to be hearing-impaired.)

*The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Durng the 1940s, Ada leaves her mother who is ashamed of Ada’s twisted foot. Ada and her brother live with an older woman who loves Ada unconditionally.)

-The Usual Suspects by Maurice Broaddus (Two black boys that are in “special education” are tired of being labeled as criminals or like they are “other” because they are in special education classes. Talks about race as well.)

-Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly (Main character loves repairing old radios, but she is the only deaf person in her class. She learns about a whale, Blue 55, who cannot communicate with other whales and she wants to find a way to help.)

*Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos (An amazing story about a nonverbal girl who is so in love with space.)

*Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (Absolutely highlyrecommend—lead female character lives with cerebral palsy and is by far the smartest person in her class, but no one knows it.)

Chapter books–Divorced parents:

*Blended by Sharon Draper (A biracial child tries to navigate a new life between two different families. Also discusses race.)

-The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones by Wendelin Van Draanen(Lincoln’s life is falling apart when his parents decide to divorce and he focuses on imagination and creativity to get through.)

The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein (Billy’s parents have separated and he is not happy—he turns to books to make himself feel batter UNTIL he realizes that maybe his books are coming to life?)

*Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (The series focuses on two kids who are working through their parents’ divorce.)

The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff (Focuses on custody arrangements and what that is like for a girl named Winnie.)

Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd) by Julie Bowe (Wren is 9 and feels like her family has completely changed when her dad moves out.)

-Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder (Rebecca’s mom moves her and her brother to Atlanta, where she learns to fit in with a new school and deal with the breakup of her family.)

What To Read…For Adults

I focused mainly on the black experiences, voices, etc—though in the White Privilege category, there are quite a few white voices (as a disclaimer). As with the kids list, the books that have the asterisk are ones that I have read before and truly enjoyed/have come highly recommended. I tried to find books that touched on all different aspects of the black experience—ex: school-to-prison pipleline, mass incarceration, BLM, police brutality, whitewashed feminism, systemic racism, religious racism, etc. but of course I could have missed some. One final note, similar to the kids lists, I tried to stay away from books about slavery (at least when it comes to fiction.) Of course this narrative is super important, but there are SO many books that talk about slavery—so there is plenty for everyone to choose from with a Google search (I just felt like I wanted to focus on other narratives). **I am definitely not saying that the history and fictional/nonfiction books about slavery are not important (they so are!), but I can speak for myself when I say that it is a common theme that is constantly being brought up in schools, chatrooms, articles, etc. and I know I personally wanted to branch out and learn about things I have never heard about like—Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Riots, redlining/residential racism, etc. BUT, if they read books about slavery, it should be from a black person’s point of view or from a black voice. In general, I think that it’s important to also read books about black people THRIVING and not just struggling.

One final note, similar to the kids lists, I tried to stay away from books about slavery (at least when it comes to fiction.) Of course this narrative is super important, but there are SO many books that talk about slavery—so there is plenty for everyone to choose from with a Google search (I just felt like I wanted to focus on other narratives). **I am definitely not saying that the history and fictional/nonfiction books about slavery are not important (they so are!), but I can speak for myself when I say that it is a common theme that is constantly being brought up in schools, chatrooms, articles, etc. and I know I personally wanted to branch out and learn about things I have never heard about like—Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Riots, redlining/residential racism, etc. BUT, if they read books about slavery, it should be from a black person’s point of view or from a black voice. In general, I think that it’s important to also read books about black people THRIVING and not just struggling. So that is why I also included some general fiction from black voices that seem a little more lighthearted compared to the other titles. I know that racism and prejudice is a daily occurrence, and often it is hard to think of “lighthearted black fiction,” but these narratives are super important too.

~Jamie Garcia, Early Literacy Specialist

Black/African American Experience/Black Voices:

*Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (A black nanny is stopped and accused of kidnapping the white child she watches. Fiction.)

*I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown (A black woman explains what it has been like for her dealing with racism throughout her life. Nonfiction.)

*The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (A story about two black twin sisters who live very different lives. One is living in the south with her black daughter, the other is passing for white. Fiction.)

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora (Looks at the lives of three different women before and after the Civil War. Looks at midwifery and injustice. Fiction.)

-Africaville: A Novel by Jeffery Colvin (A family settles in Novia Scotia with other freed slaves and build a community of free people. Talks about their struggles throughout the generations. Fiction.)

*When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele (A memoir about what it is like to be a black woman in America as well as the co-founding of the BLM movement. Nonfiction.)

*Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall (Calls for the need for intersectional feminism. Amazing. Nonfiction.)

*Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (African American experience, immigrant experience, and black feminism. Anything by this author is perfect. Nonfiction.)

*Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (A black father writes to his black son about what it is like being black in a white supremacist society. Anything by this author. Tragic. Nonfiction.)

*Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (A black man is wrongly convicted and imprisoned for the death of a white female. Even though it was clear that he did not do it, the cops were out for him from the start. This is his story, told by his lawyer, who fought for him to be freed off of death row. Nonfiction.)

*Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Classic in the realm of black literature. Looks at what it was like being a black woman in the 1930s. Fiction.)

*The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Absolutely life-changing and tells the experience of a black woman and her sister. TW: *does talk about rape and incest. Fiction.)

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (A nameless narrator in Harlem looks at growing up in the South, attending a Black College, moving to Harlem, and the daily prejudices living as a black person in the US. Fiction.)

*The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (A black girl dreams of being a white, blue-eyed girl. Investigates the reinforced societal beauty standards. Fiction.)

*The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (This is a Young Adult book with adult interest. Talks about the BLM movement and police brutality. Fiction.)

*The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Absolutely heart-wrenching, honest, and a page-turner of a novel about escaping the south. Hard to read at points. Fiction.)

White Privilege:

*What Does it Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy by Robin DiAngelo (My all-time favorite white racial literacy book. Touches on every cultural, racial, and ethnic group and how to be a better white ally. Nonfiction)

*White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racismby Robin DiAngelo (Also wonderful. Nonfiction.)

*White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson (Short read, I learned so much from this title. Nonfiction.)

Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving (The author writes about how her awakening that “colorblindness” and “helping people of color” were harmful strategies and worldviews by reinforcing racial stereotypes. About white privilege in everyday life. Nonfiction.)

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise (Looks at ways in which the deck is stacked against people of color and benefits the white population. Nonfiction.)

How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal M. Fleming (Investigates how racism is discussed in classrooms, the media, popular culture, social media, etc. Nonfiction.)

White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society by Kalwant Bhopal (Looks at the structural advantages of being white, racial injustice in the US and the UK, and the myth of the post-racial society. Nonfiction.)

Racism (History, Systemic racism, etc):

*Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (In order to dismantle the racist system, you must understand HOW our system is racist. This is the book to learn how. Nonfiction.)

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (Looks into residential segregation, historical and contemporary racial zoning, racist loan distribution, etc. Nonfiction.)

*The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (Looks at the school-to-prison pipeline and mass incarceration/over-policing of the black community and people of color. Nonfiction.)

Why Are All the Black Students Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Racism by Beverly Daniel Tatum (The psychology behind racism. Nonfiction.)

-The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby (This is about how the American church has helped to reinforce racist ideas and practices. Nonfiction.)

The Cross & The Lynching Tree by James H. Cone (This is a theological look at comparing the crucifixion of Jesus to the lynching deaths of black bodies. More on the religious side. Nonfiction.)

Anti-Racism Work:

*Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad (Mix of a workbook, history of racism, and memoir. If you want to do serious antiracism work, this is the book to start with. Nonfiction.)

*How to be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (Gives action items and explains that being ‘not racist’ is NOT enough. Nonfiction.)

*So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo (Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of white supremacy, systemic racism, etc. Part memoir, part call-for-action, part historical monograph. Very timely. Nonfiction.)

Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race by Derald Wing Sue (Gives readers the courage, language, and means to talk about racism in our daily lives—with coworkers, family, friends, etc. Nonfiction.)

*Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Racism by Reni Eddo-Lodge (Provides new framework for seeing racism, dismantling it, and countering racism. Also love the section on whitewashed feminism/white non-intersectional feminists. So important. Nonfiction.)

*This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell and Aurelia Durand (Learn how to dismantle racism and take action. Written in a very engaging and accessible way. Nonfiction.)