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Samantha Politano

Anti-Racism Lit: Young Adult Reading List



Don’t just read the books. Go one step further and purchase them from a Black-owned bookseller or an organization that supports racial justice.


EsoWon Bookstore: Longstanding Black-owned LA bookshop spotlighting a range of titles about & written by African American people. The most heartwarming message is up on their website, which just launched this month: “Thank you for purchasing from EsoWon.  The last 4 days have seen a overwhelming amount of orders.  We never anticipated anything like this and We Love Seeing the orders, but we are several days behind in filling the orders.”


Black Pearl Books: This Austin, TX Minority-Woman-Owned Indie Bookstore is founded on the principal of promoting diversity, inclusion, equality & cultural Awareness.


The Shomburg Shop: Every purchase supports the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at The New York Public Library. An emporium for the best in black-related products with hundreds of items ranging from books for adults and children, desk items and toys, unique gifts, and more. Like the Schomburg Center, the shop’s selections are chosen to inspire learning and advance knowledge.


Must Read Books:


1. Stamped (Ages 11+)

“The National Book Award-winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.”


Stamped cover

Image: EsoWon Books


2. All American Boys (Ages 12+)

“When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend.”


all American boys cover

Image: blackpearlbookstore


3. A Song Below Water (Ages 13-18)

“Bethany C. Morrow’s A Song Below Water is the story for today’s readers — a captivating modern fantasy about black mermaids, friendship, and self-discovery set against the challenges of today’s racism and sexism.”


A Song Below Water cover

Image: blackpearlbookstore


4. Dear Martin (Ages 14-17)

“Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him.”


Dear Martin cover

Image: EsoWon Books


5. On the Come Up (Ages 14+)

“As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time– and has massive shoes to fill.”


On The Come Up cover

Image: EsoWon Books

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