Race & Justice Resources

The Chatham Area Public Library believes that public libraries, as trusted institutions grounded in values including but not limited to democracy, social responsibility, and the public good, play an important role in acknowledging and addressing systemic racism and the advancement of social equity. We recognize that, as the Illinois Library Association points out, a “statement without action is empty” and that our work must be ongoing. As part of this journey, our Board of Trustees at the January 18, 2021 meeting, approved our signing onto the Urban Libraries Council Statement on Race and Social Equity whose bullet points will act as guideposts for decisions as we move forward. 

The work toward racial justice and the advancement of equity for all can start with a book, an article, a film, or an idea. We have curated the following list of resources available to you through our catalog and beyond as your exploration and action around race, justice, and equity progresses.

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Recommended Resources

 
Film Discussion Kits OPEN. VIEW. EXPLORE.Through our Film Discussion Kits, the Library hopes to support the community in exploring and discussing various social justice topics through documentary film viewings. Documentaries can bring issues and ideas nearer to their viewers, and discussions provide the opportunity to engage and connect with others around important issues.
Each Kit contains a DVD and discussion guide with questions, watch-alikes, and space for note taking.   To read more about them check out our Library of Things page.  
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    Adult Books

    Exit West: a novel by Mohsin Hamid

    Presents the story of two young lovers whose furtive affair is shaped by local unrest on the eve of a civil war that erupts in a cataclysmic bombing attack, forcing them to abandon their previous home and lives.

    Libby -- E-book |  E-audiobook


    Crying in H Mart: a memoir by Michelle Zauner

    The Japanese Breakfast indie pop star presents a full-length account of her viral New Yorker essay to share poignant reflections on her experiences of growing up Korean-American, becoming a professional musician and caring for her terminally ill mother.

    Libby -- E-book |  E-audiobook


    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

    Large Print | Sound Recording (CD)

    Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping.

    Libby -- E-book |  E-audiobook


    Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou

    A collection of short essays includes personal reminiscences, hard-won wisdom, and inspirational ideas.


    March. Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; Art by Nate Powell

    A first-hand account of the author's lifelong struggle for civil and human rights spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movemen

    Libby -- E-book | Hoopla -- E-audiobook



    Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo: Yellow background with chest-up person with a white balloon instead of the head.Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo

    Shows how white male supremacy has wrought devastating consequences for people of color, women, nonbinary people, and white men themselves, and imagines the possibilities for a new white male identity, free from racism and sexism.

    Libby -- E-book


    Fairest: A Memoir: White background with a closed, multicolored eyelash in the center.Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Talusan

    A heart-rending immigrant memoir and a uniquely intersectional coming-of-age story of a life lived in duality and the in-between, and how one navigates through race, gender, and the search for love. 

    Libby -- E-book


    The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person: A man from the shoulders up made out of patchwork colors and patterns.The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph

    Presents race-related anecdotes from the author's past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now, in hopes of bringing more race awareness to Americans. 


    I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness: Teal background with title and author in black and white text.I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

    Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin Channing Brown "had to learn what it means to love blackness," a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America's racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion. 

    Libby -- E-audiobook | E-book


    His Name is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice: Beige background with black text.His Name is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa

    Examines how systematic racism impacted both the life and death of the 46-year old black man who was murdered in broad daylight outside a Minneapolis convenience store by white officer Derek Chauvin.


    Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang text with background of a child and woman walking away from an Asian looking man on a sidewalk.  Colors of purple and peach and text in whiteBeautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

    A memoir about Wang's years living undocumented after immigrating with her parents from China to New York City in 1994.
    Libby -- E-audiobook 

     


    Looking for additional books? Click here to access the Adult Race and Justice book archive.

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    Teen Books

    Cover shows a dark city street with two people standing under a street lightLast Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

    Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father--despite his hard-won citizenship--Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

    Libby:  audiobook


    A young Black woman with a oversized hoop earring is shown in profileGrown: a Novel by Tiffany D. Jackson

    When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields? Before there was a dead body, Enchanted's dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey's charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he's dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted.

    hoopla:  ebook, audiobook

    Libby:  ebook


    A close up of a young Hispanic woman with her long hair flowing out behind herFuria by Yamile Saied Mendez

    Seventeen-year-old Camila Hassan, a rising soccer star in Rosario, Argentina, dreams of playing professionally, in defiance of her fathers wishes and at the risk of her budding romance with Diego.

    Libby:  audiobook, ebook


    A young person is shown in a snowy landscapeElatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

    Seventeen-year-old Elatsoe, "Ellie," can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. The picture-perfect façade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.

    hoopla:  audiobook, ebook


    Extending from the left side of the cover, a large black hand holds a bright red flame in its palm against a bright blue skyAin't Burned Up All the Bright by Jason Reynolds

    A smash up of art and text that viscerally captures what it means to not be able to breathe, and how the people and things you love most are actually the oxygen you most need.


    A black teenage girl sits on a suitcase with her chin on her fist.  Around her are pictures of paper airplanes, polaroid pictures, and hearts.

    One True Loves by Elise Bryant

    While on a post-graduation Mediterranean cruise with her family, Lenore Bennett meets a hopeless romantic with a ten-year plan who helps her find something she's been looking for -- love.


    a Teen girl in a purple hoodie, wearing braids and gold hoop earrings is in the foreground.  Behind her is the silhouette of a bridge and a large yellow moon.Vinyl Moon by Mahogany L. Browne

    When Darius told Angel he loved her, she believed him. But five weeks after the incident, Angel finds herself in Brooklyn, far from her family, from him, and from the California life she has known. Angel feels out of sync with her new neighborhood. The only place that makes sense is Ms. G's class. There, Angel's classmates share their own stories of pain, joy, and fortitude. And as Angel becomes immersed in her revolutionary literature course, the words from novels like The Bluest Eye and Push speak to her and begin to heal the wounds of her past.


    Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen; a young Black woman with gold jewelry is shown in full torso profile; a mermaid tail is in the front right corner of the coverSkin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

    Transformed by the goddess Yemoja into a Mami Wati, an African mermaid charged with collecting the souls of those who die at sea, Simi goes against the gods to save a living boy, Kola, from drowning.

    Libby -- eBook


    Living Beyond Borders:  Growing Up Mexican in America edited by Margarita Longoria; Orange and green cover with cacti, butterflies, houses, a person's profileLiving Beyond Borders:  Growing Up Mexican In America edited by Margarita Longoria

    An anthology of short stories, essays, poetry, and comics about the Mexican American experience.


    Huda F are You? by Huda Fahmy, author of Yes, I'm hot in this; a close up of a cartoon young woman with glasses in a hijab imposed over a background of a crowded school hallwayHuda F Are You? by Huda Fahmy

    Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl.  Huda is lost in a sea of hijabis, and she can't rely on her hijab to define her anymore.


    Black was the Ink by Michelle Coles; New Visions Award Honor; A young black person in a red hoodie looks out of the corner of their eyes at the US Capitol behind them.Black Was the Ink by Michelle Coles

    Despondent sixteen-year-old Malcolm finds new strength and courage as he is transported between his family's modern-day Mississippi farm and the life of his ancestor Cedric Johnson, a congressional aide in post-Civil War America.


    Putting Peace First:  Seven Commitments to Change the World by Eric David Dawson; Cover art shows a young person painting the continents on what appears to be a brick wallPutting Peace First:  Seven Commitments to Change the World by Eric David Dawson

    Includes seven strategies that children can use to make an impact in their communities and promote peace and tolerance.


    Looking for additional books? Click here to access the Young Adult Race and Justice Book Archive.

     

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    Juvenile Books

    A woman sits in a wheelchair with two prosthetic legs in the foreground; a crowd is in the background.A Life of Service:  The Story of Senator Tammy Duckworth by Christina Soontornvat

    Discover the inspirational and barrier breaking life of Senator Tammy Duckworth in the this tribute to an extraordinary woman.

    Hoopla:  audiobook

     

     


    a yellowish-white bird is shown in profile against a red and orange backgroundThe Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

    Young Kofi lives and dreams on the banks of the river Offin. It is in the river that he feels invicible and where he thinks he can finally prove himself in a race against his schoolyard rival. But the river also holds dark secrets that Kofi will soon discover.


    A black boy stands in the foreground, with 4 well known Black men in the backgroundBlack Boy, Black Boy: Celebrate the Power of You by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond

    Illustrations and rhyming text encourage Black boys to learn about the accomplishments of famous men in Black history and then forge their own paths. The last two pages provide information on the accomplishments of the eight men mentioned in the book.

    hoopla:  ebook


    A boy holding  a large pot is flanked by two children a boy and a girl.  Bilal Cooks Daal by Anoosha Syed

    Bilal and his father invite his friends to help make his favorite dish, daal, then all must wait patiently for it to be done.

     


    A girl with her arms crossed stands in front of a taped up poster with the book title on itSusie B. Won't Back Down by Margaret Finnegan

    Roll with It meets Absolutely Normal Chaos in this funny, big-hearted novel about a young girl’s campaign for student council president, told through letters to her hero Susan B. Anthony.


    An older Black woman with short purple hair holds a handful of beets and a platter of meat; next to her a broadly smiling Black boy grates cheeseSoul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham

    Granny teaches her young grandson how to cook the family meal, in this celebration of food, traditions, and gathering together at the table. Includes recipe for baked macaroni and cheese.

    Hoopla:  Movie | audiobook | E-book


    A crowded daladala minibus is crowded with people, chickens, goats, baskets and more.Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan

    Musa and his sister travel to a Zanzibar beach in a shared minibus which, despite Musa's protests, gets loaded with everything from a man and his bicycle to ten swimmers.


    the silhouette of a Black boy against a medium blue background with light blue stars around his headMighty Inside by Sundee T. Frazier

    Melvin Robinson wants a strong, smooth, He-Man voice that lets him say what he wants, when he wants-especially to his crush Millie Takazawa, and Gary Ratliff, who constantly puts him down. But the thought of starting high school is only making his stutter worse. And Melvin's growing awareness that racism is everywhere-not just in the South where a boy his age has been brutally killed by two white men, but also in his own hometown of Spokane-is making him realize that he can't mutely stand by. His new friend Lenny, a fast-talking, sax-playing Jewish boy, who lives above the town's infamous (and segregated) Harlem Club, encourages Melvin to take some risks-to invite Millie to Homecoming and even audition for a local TV variety show. When they play music together, Melvin almost feels like he's talking, no words required. But there are times when one needs to speak up.


    A Black boy and a white Girl stand back to back on newspaper looking concernedSomething Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story of Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano

    Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one White, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children's questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.

    Hoopla -- Audiobook


    The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera, cover art is a stylized orange and royal blue woodcut appearing image of a young woman's face close up.The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

    There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita.  But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.  Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet – and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard – or purged them altogether. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again?

    Hoopla --  Ebook


     

     

    Looking for additional books? Click here to access the Juvenile Race and Justice Book archive.

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