Speaking Volumes :: Difficult Conversations

Issues of race can be difficult to discuss at any age. These books have been selected to help facilitate those conversations, highlighting the history leading up to the current conflicts and how we still have more work to do.


Picture Books

Freedom in Congo Square by Weatherford, Carole Boston

"This poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African American history captures a human’s capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans' Congo Square was truly freedom’s heart." --- Goodreads

Mae Among the Stars by Ahmed, Roda

"Mae dreams of becoming an astronaut and visiting the stars. Hurt when her teacher tries to redirect her ambitions toward nursing - something suitable, apparently, for "someone like her" - Mae is reassured by her parents. Eventually, following their advice, she dreams big, believes in herself, works hard, and becomes the first African-American woman astronaut to reach space." -- Goodreads

We March by Evans, Shane  (Book)  (eBook)

"On August 28, 1963, a remarkable event took place--more than 250,000 people gathered in our nation's capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march began at the Washington Monument and ended with a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech, advocating racial harmony. Many words have been written about that day, but few so delicate and powerful as those presented here by award-winning author and illustrator Shane W. Evans." -- Goodreads

Picture Book Covers



The Parker Inheritance by Johnson, Varian (Book)  (eBook)  (eAudiobook)

"Absolutely brilliant. A great balance between the satisfaction of solving a mystery along with the stark reality of life in the Jim Crow South, with a side helping of showing how people are able to change–for better or worse–at all stages of life." –Sarah Rettger, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

Brown Girl Dreaming by Woodson, Jacqueline (Book)   (eBook)   (eAudiobook)

"Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world." -- Goodreads

New Kid by Craft, Jerry (Book)    (eBook)   (eAudiobook)

"A graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real." --Goodreads

J FIC Book Covers


The Hate U Give by Thomas, Angie (Book)   (eBook)   (eAudiobook)

"Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice." -- Goodreads

Piecing Me Together by Watson, Renee (Book)   (eBook)

"A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success, from acclaimed author Renée Watson." --Goodreads

X: A Novel by Shabazz, Ilyasah (Book)   (eBook)

"Cowritten by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world." --Goodreads

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Reynolds, Jason & Ibram X. Kendi  (Book)   (eBook)   (eAudiobook)

"This is NOT a history book. This is a book about the here and now. A book about race." -- back cover

Teen and YA Book Covers


Adult Fiction / Non-Fiction

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Stevenson, Bryan (Book)   (eBook)   (eAudiobook)

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. --Random House Books

White Rage by Anderson, Carol (eBook)

From the Civil War to our combustible present, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America. --Bridges

Me and White Supremacy by Saad, Layla F.  (eBook)

Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. --Bridges

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown  (eBook)

"Austin Channing Brown introduces herself as a master memoirist. This book will break open hearts and minds."—Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed

How to Be An Antiracist by Kendi, Ibram X.  (eBook) (eAudiobook)

"The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind."—The New York Times

Adult Book Covers


Movies & Documentaries

I Am Not Your Negro (Kanopy) (DVD) (Bridges)

"An Oscar-nominated documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO explores the continued peril America faces from institutionalized racism." --Kanopy

The Talk: Race in America (Kanopy)

"This film documents the increasingly common conversation taking place in homes across the country between parents of color and their children, especially sons, about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police." --Kanopy

Just Mercy (DVD)

"Just Mercy stars Michael B. Jordan as Stevenson, who acted as a defense attorney in appealing the wrongful murder conviction of Walter McMillian, an African-American pulpwood worker from Alabama. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the film was released last Christmas and earned Jamie Foxx, who portrays McMillian, a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role." --Rolling Stone

The Hate U Give (DVD)

"Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds -- the poor, mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school that she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is soon shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer. Facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and decide to stand up for what's right." --Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Posters


June 10, 2020 Speaking Volumes

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