Elevating Black Voices to Support Black Lives

I don’t know what to do or what to say. All I know is that doing and saying nothing is indefensible. Lately, I have been hearing so many people say that actions speak louder than words. This is often true. Still, I believe that words are powerful and that stories can change people’s hearts and minds. The action that I can take today is to lift the voices of individuals who have lived and are living Black lives. Because Black lives are beautiful. Black lives are honorable. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

(I know this list is woefully short. It represents only a few of the voices that need to be lifted. Please share more with each other, with your students, and with me.)

Picture Books:

Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis written by Jabari Asim and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

The Undefeated written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Hair Love written by Matthew A. Cherry and illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Little Leaders and Little Legends written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Let’s Talk about Race written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Karen Barbour

Julian is a Mermaid written and illustrated by Jessica Love

Don’t Touch My Hair! written and illustrated by Sharee Miller

Thank You, Omu! written and illustrated by Oge Mora

Wings written and illustrated by Christopher Myers

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Coretta Scott written by Ntozake Shange and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World written by Charles R. Smith Jr. and illustrated by Shane Evans

Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills written by Renee Watson and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua Holmes

This is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by James Ransome

Middle Grade:

Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

The Watson’s Go to Birmingham and many other books by Christopher Paul Curtis

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men who Changed America written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Ghost (Book 1 of the Track series) by Jason Reynolds

The Land (entire Logan family saga) by Mildred D. Taylor

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi

Young Adult:

Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

We are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson with Tonya Bolden (and other works by Tonya Bolden)

Little and Lion and other works by Brandy Colbert

Tyler Johnson was Here by Jay Coles

Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History by Joel Christian Gill

Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

A Certain October and anything else written by Angela Johnson

How it Went Down and other works by Kekla Magoon

How I Discovered Poetry written by Marilyn Nelson with illustrations by Hadley Hooper

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty written by G. Neri and illustrated by Randy DuBurke

When I Was the Greatest and all other works by Jason Reynolds

Dear Martin and other books by Nic Stone

On the Come Up and other works by Angie Thomas

If You Come Softly and other works by Jacqueline Woodson

American Street and other books by Ibi Zoboi

Published by socialjusticeinchildrenslit

My name is Leah Cole and I was a teacher in Iowa for nine years. My passions for education, social justice, and children's literature led me to create this blog. Students are faced with issues of justice and fairness from the time they are very young. The Social Justice Standards developed by Teaching Tolerance help teachers to support the development of students who recognize and embrace their own identities while respecting and valuing those who are different. In this blog, I will attempt to identify and review books that support the social justice standards.

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