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Racial Awareness

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Bloomington Public Library stands with our city and our community in the fight against systemic racism. The Library serves people of all races, religions, orientations, political philosophies, backgrounds, and countries of origin. We strive to listen to all voices, encourage genuine understanding, and support the exchange of ideas for the betterment of our community and society.

We at Bloomington Public Library also believe in the power of books. Everyone should be able to see themselves in books and have the opportunity to view the world from different perspectives through books. Books can foster personal growth and can help us become more empathetic. To that end, the link below will take you to some of the items in our catalog which were written by African American authors. (This list is not comprehensive. We are working to add this information to our catalog records so the catalog can be better searched in this manner.) Further down this page, you'll find our Racial Awareness Reading List by age category.

Books written by Black authors.
Racial Awareness Reading List

Young Children

  1. Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III.
    (available in regular print)
  2. This is the Dream by Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander, illustrated by James Ransome.
    (available in regular print)
  3. Freedom Summer: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles, illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue.
    (available in regular print)
  4. I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson
    (available in regular print)
  1. The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton.
    (available in regular print)
  1. Shades of Black: a Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney
    (available in regular print)
  1. One by Kathryn Otoshi
    (available in regular print)

Older Children

  1. Someday is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Insby Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich.
    (available in regular print)
  1. This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy.
    (available in regular print)
  1. Child of the Dream: A Memoir of 1963 by Sharon Robinson.
    (available in regular print)
  1. What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton, illustrated by Ekua Holmes. (available in regular print)
  1. A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée (Rebecca Caudill Nominee 2021)
    (available in regular print)
  1. We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices by Cheryl Willis Hudson
    (available in regular print)
  2. Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton
    (available in regular print and as an eBook on Overdrive)
  3. As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Raul Colón
    (available in regular print)
  4. When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders by J. Patrick Lewis
    (available in regular print)
  1. We are America: A Tribute from the Heart by Walter Dean Myers
    (available in regular print)
  2. Hoopla, an online eBook and eAudiobook depository from which you can borrow for free using your Bloomington Library card, has curated its own list of eBooks and eAudiobooks about race relations. You will not have to put these items on hold. With Hoopla, every item offered is always available.

    Hoopla’s list of titles to support conversations about race with kids can be viewed at hoopladigital.com/collection/9786

Teens

  1. Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles (suggested for mature teen readers)
    (available in regular print, eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive)
  2. Devils Within by S F Henson
    (suggested for mature teen readers)
    (available in regular print, eBook on Overdrive and Hoopla)
  3. I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
    (graphic novel; available in regular print)
  4. A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee
    (available in regular print, eBook on Overdrive)
  5. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
    (available in regular print, eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive)
  6. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
    (available in regular print, eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive)
  7. I'm Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal
    (suggested for mature teen readers)
    (available in regular print, eBook on Overdrive and Hoopla, eAudiobook on Overdrive)
  8. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
    (suggested for mature teen readers)
    (available in regular print, audiobook, eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive)
  9. STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds
    (a remix of the National Book Award Winner Stamped from the Beginning
    (available in regular print, audiobook, and eBook on Overdrive)
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    (available in regular print in both English and Spanish, audiobook, DVD, Blu-Ray, as a book club kit, eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive)
  11. Hoopla, an online eBook and eAudiobook depository from which you can borrow for free using your Bloomington Library card, has curated its own list of eBooks and eAudiobooks about race relations. You will not have to put these items on hold. With Hoopla, every item offered is always available.

    Hoopla’s list of teen titles focusing on race can be viewed at hoopladigital.com/collection/9858

Adults

  1. After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom by Alice Johnson
    (available in regular print, audiobook)
  1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    (available in regular print, audiobook, eBook and eAudiobook both on Overdrive)
  1. White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
    (available in regular print)
  2. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
    (available in regular print)
  1. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum
    (available in regular print)
  1. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
    (available in regular print, audiobook, eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive)
  1. Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram Kendi
    (available in regular print, audiobook, eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive
  2. Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by Adrienne Maree Brown and others
    (available in regular print, eBook on Hoopla)
  1. Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
    (available in regular print and eAudiobook on Hoopla)
  2. White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin Diangelo
    (available in regular print and audiobook)
  3. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
    (available in regular print and eBook on Hoopla)
  4. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
    (available in regular print, eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive)
  5. A Black Women's History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
    (available in regular print, eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive)
  6. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
    (available in regular print, and as an eBook on both Hoopla and Overdrive)
  7. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
    (available in regular print, large print, and as an eBook and an eAudiobook on Overdrive)
  8. Hoopla, an online eBook and eAudiobook depository from which you can borrow for free using your Bloomington Library card, has curated its own list of eBooks and eAudiobooks about race relations. You will not have to put these items on hold. With Hoopla, every item offered is always available.

    Hoopla’s adult titles focusing on race can be viewed at hoopladigital.com/collection/9832

Films and Series to Watch on Kanopy

  1. America After Ferguson
  2. Arresting Power: Resisting Police Violence in Oregon
  3. Copwatch: An Organization Dedicated to Filming the Police
  4. Every Mother’s Son: Policing and Race in America
  5. I Am Not Your Negro
  6. Let the Fire Burn: Tragedy in Philadelphia
  7. Peace Officer: The Militarized State of American Police
  8. Policing the Police
  9. Profiled: The Mothers of Murdered Black and Latino Youth
  10. P.S. I Can’t Breathe: Black Lives Matter
  11. When Justice Isn’t Just: Unarmed Police Incidents