I Am One: A Book of Action
by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
One seed to start a garden, one note to start a melody, one brick to start breaking down walls: Every movement and moment of change starts with purpose, with intention, with one. With me. With you.
This book is a powerful call to action, encouraging each reader to raise their voice, extend a hand, and take that one first step to start something beautiful and move toward a better world.
Sometimes People March
by Tessa Allen
Sometimes people march
to resist injustice,
to stand in solidarity,
to inspire hope.
Throughout American history, one thing remains true: No matter how or why people march, they are powerful because they march together.
Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)
I Am Every Good Thing
by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James
a nonstop ball of energy.
Powerful and full of light.
I am a go-getter. A difference maker. A leader.
The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He's got big plans, and no doubt he'll see them through as he's creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times, he's afraid because he is so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen when somebody tells you — and shows you — who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!
No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History
Edited by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Kaila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley, illustrated by Jeanette Bradley
Mari Copeny demanded clean water in Flint. Jazz Jennings insisted, as a transgirl, on playing soccer with the girls' team. From Viridiana Sanchez Santos's quinceañera demonstration against anti-immigrant policy to Zach Wahls's moving declaration that his two moms and he were a family like any other, No Voice Too Small celebrates the young people who know how to be the change they seek. Fourteen poems honor these young activists.
Intermediate (Grades 3–5)
The ABCs of Black History
by Rio Cortez, illustrated by Lauren Semmer
Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy.
It's a story of big ideas: P is for Power, S is for Science and Soul. Of significant moments: G is for Great Migration. Of iconic figures: H is for Zora Neale Hurston, X is for Malcolm X. It's an ABC book like no other — and a story of hope and love.
¿Hay algo mal en mí? (Is There Something Wrong with Me?)
by Marie Uribe, illustrated by Natalia Murcia Gutiérrez
Is There Something Wrong with Me? provides concrete examples of microaggressions and discrimination — rooted in race, ethnicity, and gender — that children face. Designed to elicit sympathy and conversation about identity and belonging, the book further suggests at-home and classroom activities to dismantle social bias.
Middle School (Grades 6–8)
The Awakening of Malcolm X
by Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson
In Charlestown Prison, Malcolm Little struggles with the weight of his past. Plagued by nightmares, he drifts through days, unsure of his future. Slowly, he befriends other prisoners and writes to his family. He reads all the books in the prison library and joins the debate team and the Nation of Islam. He grapples with race, politics, religion, and justice in the 1940s. And as his time in jail comes to an end, he begins to awaken, emerging from prison more than just Malcolm Little: Now he is Malcolm X.
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
by Laurie Halse Anderson
As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight . . . for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate, become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes that her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.
High School (Grades 9–12)
It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime — Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers)
by Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, tells his remarkable story of growing up in South Africa with a black South African mother and a white European father when it was against the law for a mixed-race child to exist. But he did exist, and from the beginning, the mischievous Trevor used his keen smarts and humor to navigate a harsh life under a racist government.
by Angie Thomas
If there's one thing that seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it's that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money, he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad is in prison.
Life's not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav's got everything under control.
Until, that is, Maverick finds out he's a father.
Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it's not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when Mav is offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he is expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove that he's different.
To access the books on our monthly MPS Reads book lists, visit your school library or local library, or go online to OverDrive* and log in with your MPS student ID number.
*Some titles are not available through OverDrive.