Underground Books: Recommendations

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarcerration in the age of colorblindness
By Michelle Alexander

“As the United States celebrates the nation’s ‘triumph over race’ with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status — much like their grandparents before them.”

Publication Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah

“A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.”

Profile

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates

“In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nations history and current crisis.”

Publication By Patricia Canterbury

The Secret of Morton’s End

It’s Christmas break in the tiny colored town of Poplar Cove, California. Nothing much happens there and three 12 year old best girl friends, nicked named the Triplets, are making baby clothing for their former teacher. The girls do not like their substitute teacher, Miss Swanson .Everyone loves the town’s barber, Mr. Peterson. Someone, perhaps one of the many hobos who frequent the town searching for work, murders Mr. Peterson.

Publication By Natasha Anastasia Tarpley (Author), E. B. Lewis (Illustrator)

I Love My Hair!

This whimsical, evocative story about a girl named Keyana encourages African-American children to feel good about their special hair and be proud of their heritage. A BlackBoard Children’s Book of the Year. Full-color illustrations.

Publication By Barack Obama (Author), Loren Long (Illustrator)

Of Thee I Sing

In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O’Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.

Publication

Grace for President
By Kelly S. DiPucchio (Author), LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)

When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate the school’s mock election!

Author Kelly DiPucchio not only gives readers a fun introduction to the American electoral system, but also teaches them the value of hard work, courage, and independent thought–and offers an inspiring example of how to choose our leaders.

Publication Ashley Bryan

Beautiful Blackbird

“With vibrant cut-paper collages, a Coretta Scott King Award-winner presents an adaptation of a folktale from Zimbabwe that celebrates the importance of appreciating one’s own inner beauty.”

Publication Rose Blue, Author, Corinne Naden, Author, Don Tate, Illustrator

Ron’s Big Mission

“Based on the life of “Challenger” astronaut Ron McNair, this inspiring book tells the story of how a determined African-American boy desegregated his town’s public library though peaceful resistance.”