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Police, federal agents, protests, and racial justice

Police, federal agents, protests, and racial justice

 

After a short section on clashes between police, federal agents, and protesters in Portland and other cities, you will find more general links about police, protests, and racial justice. This post has been moved over from my comfortdying.com site as more appropriate here.


Feds Ordered Not to Assault, Arrest Journalists in Portland (Karina Brown, Courthouse News Service, 7-23-2020) PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) "Federal police are now under a court order not to arrest or assault journalists and legal observers for doing their jobs, after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Thursday that the government said it would appeal.
      “An open government has been a hallmark of our democracy since our nation’s founding,” U.S. District Judge Michael Simon wrote Thursday, citing precedent from the Ninth Circuit case Leigh v. Salazar. “When wrongdoing is under way, officials have great incentive to blindfold the watchful eyes of the fourth estate. The free press is the guardian of the public’s interests and the independent judiciary is the guardian of the free press.”
     To that hallmark, he added:“This lawsuit tests whether these principles are merely hollow words.” '
Police Are Cutting Ties With Domestic Violence Programs That Support Black Lives Matter (Melissa Jeltsen, HuffPost, 10-16-2020) "Eight days after Embrace’s statement was posted online, Barron County voted to strip the organization of $25,000 in funding for 2021. The county’s director of health and human services resigned from Embrace’s board of directors. Since then, a majority of the 17 law enforcement agencies that work with Embrace have indicated that they will no longer partner with the domestic violence organization, including all law enforcement in Washburn County. That means women who call the police for help, for instance, may not be referred to Embrace for help with safety planning, counseling and support." Law enforcement groups in multiple states have put pressure on domestic violence organizations for standing against racism.
“Defendant Shall Not Attend Protests”: In Portland, Getting Out of Jail Requires Relinquishing Constitutional Rights (Dara Lind, ProPublica, 7-28-2020) A dozen protesters facing federal charges are barred from going to “public gatherings” as a condition of release from jail — a tactic one expert described as “sort of hilariously unconstitutional.”
Trump's Portland crackdown is controversial. The man spearheading it might be doing so illegally. (Aaron Blake, Washington Post, 7-22-2020) Experts say acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf can't legally serve in that role, compounding issues raised by the crackdown.
Trump’s Effort to Provoke Violence Is Working (David A. Graham, The Atlantic, 7-28-2020) The president sent federal agents into Portland with the apparent aim of inciting a confrontation.
Federal Officers Deployed in Portland Didn’t Have Proper Training, D.H.S. Memo Said (New York Times, 7-18-2020) The tactical agents deployed by homeland security include officials from a group known as BORTAC, the Border Patrol’s equivalent of a SWAT team, a highly trained group that normally is tasked with investigating drug smuggling organizations, as opposed to protesters in cities. The agents lacked sufficient training in riot control or mass demonstrations. Rather than tamping down persistent protests in Portland, Ore., a militarized presence from federal officers seems to have re-energized them.
What to Know About Portland's Crackdown on Protesters and How You Can Help (Chelsea Sanchez, Harpers Bazaar, 7-21-2020) The Trump administration is trying to make an example out of Portland. But protesters and supporters are refusing to let him. 'Trump has since defended his decision to deploy armed units to confront Portland protesters, tweeting on Sunday, "We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!" '
Federal Officers Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab People In Portland, DHS Confirms (Jonathan Levinson, Conrad Wilson, James Doubek, and Suzanne Nuyen, NPR, 7-17-2020) NPR reported that the federal officers deployed come from the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Border Patrol Tactical Unit, and are intended to protect federal property. They have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least Tuesday. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation about why they are being arrested, and driving off. The New York Times additionally found that the units deployed are not specialized in nor have they been trained in riot control or mass demonstrations.
Cities in Bind as Turmoil Spreads Far Beyond Portland (Mike Baker, Thomas Fuller and Shane Goldmacher, NY Times, 7-26-2020) Galvanized in part by the deployment of federal agents in Portland, Ore., protesters have returned to the streets in Oakland, Seattle and elsewhere.
Police and protesters clash in violent weekend across the US (Jeff Martin, AP, 6-27-2020) Protests took a violent turn in several U.S. cities over the weekend with demonstrators squaring off against federal agents outside a courthouse in Portland, Oregon, forcing police in Seattle to retreat into a station house and setting fire to vehicles in California and Virginia.
N.Y.P.D. Says It Used Restraint During Protests. Here’s What the Videos Show. (video, NY Times, 7-14-2020) The New York Times found more than 60 videos that show the police using force on protesters during the first 10 days of demonstrations in the city after the death of George Floyd. A review of the videos, shot by protesters and journalists, suggests that many of the police attacks, often led by high-ranking officers, were not warranted
Trump Has Brought America's Dirty Wars Home (Stuart Schrader, New Republic, 7-21-1010) The authoritarian tactics we've exported around the world in the name of national security are now being deployed in Portland.
'Wall of Moms' joins Portland's anti-racism protests (BBC, 7-22-2020) Anti-racism protests have been taking place in Portland, Oregon, for almost two months - but in recent days they have been joined by a growing number of "moms." The "Wall of Moms" - as they have been dubbed - have been acting as a human shield between the protesters and the federal officers sent in to disperse them.
Conservative media helps Trump perform 'law and order' in Portland, with risks for November (Isaac Stanley-Becker, Washington Post, 7-22-2020) The strategy, resembling the focus on the migrant caravans in 2018, left some Republicans in bellwether counties uneasy.
Elected leaders need to take action to stop the rioting (Jeff Barker, Opinion, Oregon Live, 7-8-2020) "Oregon supports free speech. Go through the normal channels, obtain a permit and then follow the rules in the permit. You can march, you can gather to listen to speeches, you can hold up any sign you'd like even if it makes the rest of the world uncomfortable. But what you can't do is break the law." Barker was a law enforcement officer for 31 years and has represented House District 28 in the Oregon Legislature since 2003.

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Problems with policing generally


The Rape Kit’s Secret History (Pagan Kennedy, New York Times, 6-17-2020) This is the story of Marty Goddard, the woman who forced the police to start treating sexual assault like a crime. “She began to formulate questions that almost no one was asking back in the early ‘70s: Why were so many predators getting away with it? And what would it take to stop them?”
Criminal justice reform in the United States (Wikipedia)
What should be done about America's policing problem? (The Stream, Al Jazeera, 6-15-2020) Driven by nationwide protests, calls are growing to boost accountability and oversight of US law enforcement.
Terror Lynching in America (Equal Justice Initiative, video, 10-11-16)
Trump Sidesteps Mentions of Systemic Racism as He Signs Police-Friendly Executive Order (KHN Morning Briefing, 6-17-2020) Advocates and Democrats say President Donald Trump's executive order on police violence falls far short of what's needed to make actual changes to the system. The White House focused on police-backed ideas, such as a national misconduct database, and continued to insist the problems lie with a few officers rather than deeper issues. Congress is also taking steps to address reform, but the parties are on a collision course with their bills.
In wake of protests, New York lawmakers repeal law used to keep police misconduct records secret (Anjali Berdia, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 6-10-2020) In the wake of widespread protests against police violence and racial injustice, New York lawmakers voted on Tuesday to repeal Section 50-a of the state’s Civil Rights Law, a provision used to keep police disciplinary records secret.
Why Policing Is Broken (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 6-17-2020) Years of research on brutality cases shows that bad incentives in politics and city bureaucracies are major drivers of police violence. In wake of protests, New York lawmakers repeal law used to keep police misconduct records secret.
How Police Unions Fight Reform (William Finnegan, New Yorker, 8-3-2020) Police unions enjoy a political paradox. Conservatives traditionally abhor labor unions but support the police. The left is critical of aggressive policing, yet has often muted its criticism of police unions—which are, after all, public-sector unions, an endangered and mostly progressive species. Police unions have spent decades amassing influence. They have often used it to combat what Patrick Lynch, the head of New York City's P.B.A., calls "pro-criminal advocates."
The '3.5% rule': How a small minority can change the world (David Robson, BBC, 5-13-19) Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change.
The Defunding Debate ((Jack Herrera, Columbia Journalism Review, Summer 2020) Suddenly, defunding the police had exploded as a central campaign plot point. Look at the issue in historical context.
'Defund the police' calls grow amid protests. Reallocations could fund minority entrepreneurship instead (Steve Strauss, USA Today, 6-10-2020) Defunding the police certainly does not mean not having any police. But it does mean that some of the money used to fund police forces can likely be better spent if the goal is long-term safety, and to begin to eradicate the poverty gap and racial disparity between white and black America that fosters crime.
Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence (Teaching Tolerance)
Leo Tolstoy vs. the Police (Jennifer Wilson, NY Times, 6-25-2020) Why the great Russian novelist's critique of state-sponsored violence bears thinking about now. Tolstoy's views, particularly his strong invective against state-sponsored violence, riled authorities who consequently placed the writer under near-constant police surveillance.
Screening police officers before they kill (Jack El-Hai, Medium, 1-4-16) Psychiatrist Douglas M. Kelley found that one-third to one-half of America's police officers during the 1950s were psychologically unqualified to protect citizens or enforce laws. Kelley was uniquely qualified to investigate the psychological traits of people in positions of authority. During the months immediately after World War II, Kelley, then a U.S. Army captain, was sent to the jail in Nuremberg, Germany, to evaluate the sanity of the top 22 captured Nazi leaders awaiting trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The History of Policing in the United States, Part 1 of 6 parts. (Gary Potter, Eastern Kentucky University Police Studies Online) The development of policing in the United States closely followed the development of policing in England. In the early colonies policing took two forms. It was both informal and communal, which is referred to as the "Watch," or private-for-profit policing, which is called "The Big Stick" (Spitzer, 1979).
Violence Interrupter The Interrupters is a 2011 documentary film, produced by Kartemquin Films, that tells the story of three violence interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. ... The film features the work of CeaseFire, an initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention.
He used to sell drugs on D.C. streets. Now he's paid to make them safer. (Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 12-13-18) Duane Cunningham is a member of the District's Violence Interrupters, a group that works in troubled neighborhoods to try to stop violence before it happens.
Defund police? Some cities have already started by investing in mental health instead (Lindsay Schnell, MSN, USA Today, 6-20-2020) As calls to "defund the police" echo around the country at Black Lives Matter protests, a handful of communities already know what that looks like as they invest millions of dollars into mental health resources and response teams instead of just traditional policing. These crisis intervention teams typically do not include an armed, uniformed officer but do feature counselors, social workers and paramedics. And Eugene's 30-year-old program CAHOOTS, or Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets, is the model other cities are looking to as they form their own programs. (Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick, Oregon Register/Guard, 10-20-19)
These Cities Are Stopping Police From Responding to Homelessness, Drug Use, and Mental Health Issues (Emma Ockerman, Vice, 6-17-2020) Los Angeles proposed the change Tuesday. San Francisco and Albuquerque have already made it.
What does 'defund the police' mean and why some say 'reform' is not enough (Ryan W. Miller, USA Today, 6-8-2020)
Most Americans do not want to “defund” the police (The Economist, 6-18-2020) But they support other reforms.
Defunding Everything But the Police Short, effective video with a message
How ‘Defund the Police’ went from moonshot to mainstream (Maya King, Politico, 6-17-2020) To many watching the historic protests against racism and police brutality unfold across the country, it was a call that came out of nowhere: Defund the Police. Yet hours after the first videos of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer went viral online, those three words became the rallying cry of a movement that had suddenly won America’s undivided attention. See more stories on the topic here: The Deep Roots Behind Seemingly Sudden Rise of 'Defund the Police' (KHN Morning Briefing, 6-17-2020)
Protests focus on over-policing. But under-policing is also deadly. (Rod K. Brunson, WaPo, 6-12-2020) People in high-crime neighborhoods already don’t trust law enforcement to protect them.
Violence Interrupter (The Marshall Project) The best criminal justice reporting tagged with "Violence Interrupter," curated by The Marshall Project. The Interrupters is a 2011 documentary film, produced by Kartemquin Films, that tells the story of three violence interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. ... The film features the work of CeaseFire, an initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention.

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Books for and about children of color

assembled by Pat McNees.  Updated 9-23-2020.

You can buy many of the following books from Bookshop or Indie Bound (paths to independent bookstores) or from any of these (AALBC) or these  black-owned bookstores (LitHub, 6-3-2020). Click the links to learn more about each book. I've provided Amazon links because they are helpful and easy to get to. (I get a small commission for Amazon sales from these links.) Many if not most of these books have received book awards, which Amazon lists in its book descriptions (and see awards lists below).
A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Haunting tale of two boys' lives changed by police assault. Age 12+
As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds. Poignant summer adventure brims with family love and hope.


Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Lively profile of a brave man living in a dangerous time. Age 9+
Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes. When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally. Ages pre-school to 3.
Black Women in Science: A Black History Book for Kids by Kimberly Brown Pellum. Age 9+
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illust. R. Gregory Christie. Lively tale of store that aided civil rights struggle. Age 7+
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds. Soul-gripping story of teen's grief and hope. Age 12+
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Captivating poems depict coming-of-age in tumultuous 1960s. Age 10+

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Civil Rights Then and Now: A Timeline of the Fight for Equality in America by Kristina Brooke Daniele, illus. by Lindsey Bailey. Ages 12+
Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Grades K-Gr3. Ada Ruth's mama must go away to Chicago to work, leaving Ada Ruth and Grandma behind. It's wartime, and women are needed to fill the men's jobs.
Cool Cuts by Mechal Renee Roe. From a 'fro-hawk to mini-twists and crisp cornrows, adorable illustrations of boys with cool curls, waves, and afros grace each page, accompanied by a positive message that will make kids cheer. Ages 3+
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Soaring, poignant novel in verse centered on basketball hits all the right spots. Age 9+
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes. Joyful, foot-tapping celebration of fresh haircut, culture. Age 5+
Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers, Two boys, a writer and a runner, are drawn together in the struggle to overcome the obstacles that life in Harlem throws at them. Age 13+
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illust. by Bryan Collier. Amazing award-winning historical story told in free verse. Age 6+


Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis. A surprising novel of reluctant heroism on the part of eleven-year-old Elijah, the first child born free in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves near the American border. Age 9+
Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome. When eleven-year-old Langston's father moves them from their home in Alabama to Chicago's Bronzeville district, it feels like he's giving up everything he loves. First in a trilogy. Age 8+
Firebird by Misty Copeland, illust. by Christopher Myers. Soaring, rhythmic story for dancers with big dreams. Age 5+
Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, illust. by R. Gregory Christie. Slaves' lives, jazz roots shown in stunning nonfiction book that exposes young readers to realities of slavery in an age-appropriate way. Age 5+
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan. Moving portraits of slaves’ lives, drawing on historical slave documents. Age 6+


Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams. a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself. Age 11+
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes.A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history. Age: 10+
Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illust. by Daniel Minter. Joyful story of a deeply loving multigenerational family.
Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia. The story of the Gaither sisters as they travel from the streets of Brooklyn to the rural South for the summer of a lifetime. Book 3 of 3. Age 8+
Grandma's Gift (Age 4+, winner of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award) and Grandma's Records (Age 5+) by Eric Velasquez


Hammering for Freedom by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, illust. by John Holyfield. Born a slave, William ""Bill"" Lewis spent the majority of his life 'renting himself' as a blacksmith in order to purchase his family's freedom. Age 7+
Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America by Andrea Pinkney, illust. by Brian Pinkney. Ten influential black men-including Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King Jr.-are profiled in this husband-and-wife team's vibrant collaboration. Captivating storytelling makes these heroes relatable. Age 9+
Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illust. by Shane W. Evans. "A clever, celebratory book that affirms all the positive, joyful ways kids can put their hands up."
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Powerful story of police shooting of unarmed Black teen. Age 13+
Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson. Beautifully illustrated account of African-American history. Nelson knits together the nation’s proudest moments with its most shameful, taking on the whole of African-American history. Age 9+
A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich by Alice Childress. The story of Benji's addiction to heroine is told from several perspectives. Published in the '70s, this book is still relevant for many young readers.
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly and Laura Freeman. An inspirational story. Age 4+
Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith. Chills galore in Southern supernatural thriller. Age 10+
How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson. Poet's moving civil rights memoir in free verse charts her '50s childhood. Age 12+
How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon. Haunting look at killing of unarmed African American teen. Age 14+

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I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids by Gabi Garcia, illustr. by Charity Russell
If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement by Gwendolyn Hooks. Age 7+
I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr., illust. by Kadir Nelson. Stunning art amplifies meaning of King's words for kids. Age 6+


Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña. Tender story of Nana showing grandson city beauty via bus. Age 3+
Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Age 6+
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. Gripping, unnerving story of teen boy contemplating revenge. Age 12+
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, illustr. Alexander Nabaum. Age 10+


Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz, illustr. by AG Ford
A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang (a Hmong American writer), illustr. by illust. by Seo KimYang. Age 5+. Yang, author of the adult memoir The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, has two more picture books featuring Hmong families coming out in 2020.
March: Book One by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustr. by Nate Powell. This triloly documents the struggle for equal rights and civil liberties in the early 1960s. Powerful graphic novels capture the spirit of desegregation. Before he became a respected Congressman, Rep. Lewis was clubbed, gassed, arrested over 40 times, and nearly killed by angry mobs and state police, all while nonviolently protesting racial discrimination. Book One spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Dr. King, the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Age 12+
---March: Book Two details the real-life heroes of the 1960s, covers the lunch counter sitdowns in Nashville, and continues with events that took place in the South between 1960 -1963, culminating with the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. Age 12+ 

---March: Book Three From the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church's Youth Day celebration through fractious struggles within the SNCC that threaten to derail the march from Selma to Montgomery. Age 12+ Uplifting finale to terrific series reveals tragic violence. Age 12+

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Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson. A gripping novel about the mystery of one teenage girl’s disappearance and the traumatic effects of the truth. Age 14+
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isable Quintero, illust. by Zeke Peña. A celebration of the love between a father and daughter, and of a vibrant immigrant neighborhood, by an award-winning author and illustrator duo. Age 4+
My People by Langston Hughes. Photos bring sparkling tone to simple poem of celebration. Age 5+


The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes, illustr. by Charles R. Smith Jr. Words and watercolors sing in a voice as deep as the river. Age 6+
Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson. Stellar art portrays key aspects of Mandela's life for kids. Age 6+
New Kid by Jerry Craft. Funny, heartfelt middle school tale explores race, class. Age 8+
Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Gripping story of a girl's bravery during Hurricane Katrina, one of several excellent novels by the author. Age 10+
Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes. His semi-autobiographical tale of an African-American family in rural Kansas--a powerful and moving portrait of race and poverty in America, as well as hope and perseverance.


One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. The story of three sisters who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 to meet the mother who abandoned them. A gem, with strong girl characters, part 1 of a trilogy. Each humorous, unforgettable story in this trilogy follows the sisters as they grow up during one of the most tumultuous eras in recent American history. Age 11+
Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker Curry and Jessica Curry, illus. by Brittany Jackson. A visit to Washington, DC’s National Portrait Gallery forever alters Parker Curry’s young life when she views First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait. Age 4+
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. Kids investigate past racist incident in gripping mystery. Age 8+
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson. Powerful, insightful tale of self-awareness, power of art. Age 13+
P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia. Tween coming-of-age set amid shifting family, '60s dynamics. Age 9+

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The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld. When Taylor is sad, his animal friends suggest remedies, but the rabbit just listens. Sometimes empathy is all we need. Age: 3+
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe. Exuberant, visually stunning biography celebrates artist who had success when young. Age 6+
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this story of one family's struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice is also Cassie's story—Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family. Age 11+
Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden, illust. by Don Tate. A story based on an incident from the life of astronaut Ron McNair. When nine-year-old Ron tries to take library books home instead of just looking at them, he knowingly challenges the rule that "only white people can check out books." Ages 6+


Saturday by Oge Mora. An up-and-down journey reminds a mother and daughter that what's best about Saturdays is precious time together. Age 4+
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, illust. by Eric Velasquez. “Carole Boston Weatherford’s descriptions and Eric Velasquez’s illustrations make clear how tirelessly Schomburg searched for books, pamphlets and art that could ‘tell our stories, proclaim our glories’…Although he died about 80 years ago, his library in New York City is a national historic landmark, as big and bustling as ever.”~ Washington Post. Age 8+
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon. Heartwarming story of friendship and adventure. Age 8+
Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright, illust.and with biography by Nina Crews. Age 5+
Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh. Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court.
Side by Side: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez (Lado a Lado: La Historia de Dolores Huerta y Cesar Chavez) by Monica Brown, illust. by Joe Cepeda. Excellent bilingual story about farm workers in the USA--great for civil rights and LatinX empowerment. Age 4+
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats captures the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall. Winner of the 1963 Caldecott Medal.
Sometimes People March by Tessa Allen. No matter how or why people march, they are powerful because they march together.
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus. Teen girls fall in love, face death in breathtaking tale. Age 14+
The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustr. by Ekua Holmes. Poetic and imaginatively illustrated book introduces big cosmic concepts to little humans--from the beginning of our universe to life itself, starting with a small floating speck that suddenly explodes. "Bauer suggests that, just possibly, the power of creation and the power of love are not so different." Age 4+
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o and Vashti Harrison. Girl learns to embrace her dark skin in magical tale. Age 4+

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Tobe by Stella Sharpe. A critical edition of a children's book published in 1939. "In the story, Tobe and his siblings are shown working on a family farm. The text is written for beginning readers. It is the photos [by Charles Anderson Farrell] that really make this is a book worth having. They are well done with a good eye to composition and capture well a moment in time; a look at North Carolina at the end of The Great Depression."
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky: Tristan Strong, Book 1 of 2 by Kwame Mbalia. "Mbalia expertly weaves a meaningful portrayal of family and community with folklore, myth, and history--including the legacy of the slave trade--creating a fast-paced, heroic series starter." Age 8+
Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews. Fun, upbeat story of a boy, a trombone, and jazz. Age 4+
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander. Poetic tribute to African American heroes and struggles. Age 6+
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustr. by Ekua Holmes. A welcome addition to civil rights literature for children. Age 10+
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illust. by Frané Lessac. "Cheerful, richly detailed folk art-style illustrations in bright, saturated colors show contemporary Cherokee life as one family participates in cermonies and festivals through each season of the year." Age 3+
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson. Amazing paintings + compelling history = a grand slam. Age 9+
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illust. by Michaela Goade. "In this tribute to Native resilience, Indigenous author-and-illustrator team Lindstrom and Goade invite readers to stand up for environmental justice." Age 3+
We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands/Tenemos El Mundo Entero en las Manos by Rafael López. "A beloved spiritual gets an imaginative and anthropocentric rendering in this vibrant picture book celebrating unity." Age 3+

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What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack, illust. by April Harrison. "A loving tribute to collective work, responsibility and the joy that comes from giving freely from the heart." Age 4+
When Aidan Becomes a Brother by Kyle Lukoff, illust. by Kaylani Juanita. This sweet and groundbreaking #ownvoices picture book celebrates the changes in a transgender boy's life, from his initial coming-out to becoming a big brother. Age 4+
When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill. Kid-friendly intro to the history of hip-hop. Age 6+
You Hold Me Up/Ki Kîhcêyimin Mâna by Monique Gray-Smith, illust. by Danielle Daniel (some editions include text in Plains Cree and English) Age 3+
Young Water Protectors...A Story about Standing Rock by Aslan Tudor, Kelly Tudor, and Jason Eaglespeaker. Beautiful art. Age 9+
Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thomkins-Bigelow, illust. by Luisa Uribe. Age 5+

 

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Anti-racist resources for children, including children's books

You'll find even more titles recommended in these articles:


Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati on the African American Children’s Book Fair African American Literature Book Club (AALBC)
A Children's Booklist for Anti-racist Activism (Embrace Race) 31 Children's books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance
Anti-Racist Resources for Children, Families, and Educators (Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, KidLit Rally 4 Black Lives, Brownbookshelf, 6-4-2020)
Teacher’s Reading List of Antiracist Books for Kids Goes Viral (Melissa Locker, Time, 6-5-2020)

Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners (recommendations by age group)
8 tips for choosing “good” picture books featuring diverse, BIPOC characters (Dr. Krista Aronson, Anne Sibley O'Brien and Dr. Andrea Breau of Diverse BookFinder, Embrace Race)
Top 154 Recommended African-American Children’s Books (African American Literature Book Club)
Black Books Matter: Children's Books Celebrating Black Boys (the conscious kid)
Black Boy Joy: 30 Picture Books Featuring Black Male Protagonists (Read Brightly)
Depictions of Race in Children's Literature (YouTube video, 80 minutes, an installment of Silver Spring Village's Racial Justice Series) Dr. Margaret Musgrove and Dr. Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo share perspectives on depictions of race in children's picture books. Why is it that so many decisions about whether to publish or present an award for books true to life as experienced by children of color are decided by white people, who often go for a white person's perspective, or a safe alternative like choosing a book featuring animals.
Young, Black and Lit
Here Are the 50 Must-Read Black Children’s and Young Adult Books of the Past 50 Years (Keyaira Boone, Essence, 4-30-2020) A roundup of titles over the years, including classic kids' favorites.
Black Voices: Pushing for Change in Children’s Book Publishing (Vimeo webinar, 75 minutes, Authors Guild, 6-22-2020) Available only to AG members. From agenting to editing, from sales to marketing, less than five percent of publishing professionals are Black, according to the results of the most recent Lee & Low diversity graphic on Black representation in the publishing industry. How does institutional exclusion and racism impact the success of books by Black authors and the trajectory of Black creators? In this panel, industry experts offer insights, share experiences and concerns, and suggest ways to create change. Participants: Cheryl Davis (AG), Kelly Starling Lyons, Judy Allen Dodson, Vanessa Lloyd-Sgambati, Christopher Myers, Cheryl Wills Hudson, Wade Hudson, Queressa Robinson, Jalissa Marcelle Corrie. Worth a listen for the big picture.
Centering Black Creators (Authors Guild, vimeo--available only to Authors Guild members). The second part of the series Black Voices: Pushing for Change in Children’s Book Publishing, explores the journeys of Black authors and illustrators. What are institutional barriers to success? How can the industry disrupt racism and support Black creators? How can Black creators advocate and advance?

 

SEE ALSO An anti-racism reading and resource list (Writers and Editors)

       For a recommended-reading list for adults -- both books and articles.

 

"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."


"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor"

~ Desmond Tutu

 

"It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have."

~ James Baldwin

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