With everything going on in the world, it is important that NOW, more than ever we instill knowledge into the younger generations and even ourselves that will help us become better citizens in society. We are in times where empathy, love, and respect needs to be taught explicitly. This could also be taught through reading.
Below are a list of books that can we used to encourage readers to stand up for what is right, bring awareness about racism and prejudice, and empower young minds.
1. A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Rameé
“All Shayla wants to do is follow the rules—until she attends a powerful protest for Black Lives Matter and learns that some rules should be broken. Now her entire outlook is changing”
2.Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
After leaving her home in war-torn Syria, a young girl struggles to adjust to a new life in America. This book will help bring awareness about children and families that are refugees and the struggles and adjustments that they have to go through in such a short period of time.
3.My Year in The Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver
In a racially divided classroom in 1970s Alabama, blacks sit on one side, and whites sit on the other. So where does that leave Lu—a Latina who doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere? This book opens up minds to the topics that many Latinos/as go through even to this day where they feel somewhere stuck in the middle, and they don’t know where they fit in. The themes explored are: Racism, Desegregation, Latinas, Racial Identity.
4 Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
Squint is a heart-warming Young Adult novel which explores the topics of : Peer Pressure, Artistic Self-Expression, Family, Illness, Friendship. McKell, the new girl, doesn’t like the way the popular kids tease the young artist who squints all the time—but Flint just wants to finish his comic book before he goes blind. Illness is a taboo in society that many people have to face and sometimes it is discriminatory.
5.Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker
In this realistic fiction novel, readers explore the themes of Police Violence and Racism in America. When 12-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real one, he becomes a ghost and bears witness to the aftermath of his unjust and brutal killing.
It is important to read about these topics, so that that that when you are faced with it in real life you can have empathy. Many people do not realize that we sometimes can learn to have empathy for others by reading and getting to know characters that may be experiencing similar troubles.