What is your favorite social justice book?

What is your favorite social justice book (fiction or non)?

    • Just finished that one last night, it was excellent.

    • The only book that has ever made me cry. I was full-on sobbing. ?

    • Absolutely devastating. Made me cry for our country.

    • I taught part of Evicted in my 10th grade class. Blew my mind.

    • Having worked in housing for an organization serving those who experienced homelessness, Evicted was intriguing.

    • It took me way too long to read Evicted bc it was so stressful to read. I think it is a must read book though. It’s expensive to be poor. 🙁

    • Evicted was fantastic. I lived in Milwaukee for 10 years, so I could picture the neighborhoods he talked about the whole time I read it.

    • Wonderful book. Also Devil in the Grove, about Thurgood Marshall’s early career.

    • P.S. enjoyed watching you on Jeopardy!?

  • Unequal Childhoods by Annette Lareau is my favorite! So informative and interesting! There is also a follow up on the publisher’s website on how those kids turned out as adults.

  • So You Want To Talk About Race is fantastic. I also recently read When They Call You a Terrorist and loved it.

  • Justice.. what is the right thing to do.. Michael sandel

    • If you liked that you should check out “Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice” by Willie Parker. It’s a perspective we don’t really get to hear in the US. Very refreshing!

  • Evicted by Matthew Desmond was amazing. I also thought Stamped from the Beginning was brilliant.

  • Just finished the sun does shine and it was such a well written story

  • I read Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin when I was 13. Living in an all white community during the Civil Rights movement, a teacher recommended this book for an insight into movement.

    • Same here. I read it in the mid 60s. It was pretty popular and for the first time I understood what living black in the south was like. I’ve never forgotten it.

    • Reading this as a teenager changed my life forever

  • The Hate You Give

    White Rage

    Symptoms of Being Human

    Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

    I am Malala

  • 1491

    Lies Your History Teacher Told You

    An Indigenous People’s History of the United States

    An Inconvenient Indian

    This Book is Gay

    The Drowning of Stephan Jones

    • Lies and An Indigenous People’s are both excellent. I only just recently downloaded 1491 but am looking forward to it. I actually had my boys read Lies My Teacher Told Me as part of their required hs reading.

  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

  • The God Delusion

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    God is Not Great


  • Nonfiction- Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. Fiction – The Hate U Give and Small Great Things

    • Small Great Things stays with me…so powerful! ❤️

    • Finished Small Great Things a few days ago. Very thought provoking , powerful book.

  • I agree with many of the above.

    Not quite Justice but two additions to the list: Howard Zinns A Peoples History of the US and for fiction I think Pamela Sargent’s The Shore of Women is a wonderful fiction story about men vs women in our society.

  • All of Corban Addison’s books are fantastic. I also loved I Am Malala.

    • >I Am Malala
      I forgot about that one.

    • Wore a term paper on The Jungle in Junior year history. The book changed my life view

    • Next on my nonfiction to-read list. Can’t wait to read it!

  • Only it is happening here – right now, today.

  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

  • Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund is awesome.

    • He did a livestream for our university when we did this book for a freshman read. I thought his speech was more organized than the book and more of a call to action. I think you can find a few of his speeches on YouTube.

  • Roots, though fictional, had quite a bit of historical research. I got a lot out of it.

    I would also say Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature is a book that transformed how I look at the world.

    Edit: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is another great one, jumpstarting the worker’s rights movement.

  • Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat

    Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

    The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea

    Drift by Rachel Maddow

    Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd

    Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario

    Whipping Girl by Julia Serano

    for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange

  • Just started Gilbert King: Beneath a Ruthless Sky. Read The Devil in the Grove and found it fascinating and sad.

  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and on the fiction side pretty much anything by Steinbeck.

  • Toss up: Native Son by Richard Wright or Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.

  • All books by Toni Morrison; To Kill A Mockingbird; The Diary of Anne Frank; Night by Elie Wiesel; A Lesson Before Dying by Earnest Gaines; Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton; The Hiding Place by Cory ten Boom; I could go on…

    • Barbara, you certainly have read some marvelous books!

    • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult A white baby dies while under the care of a black nurse – based on a true story

  • Wow! Thank you for this list. This group is amazing.

    • That was such a compelling and important story.

  • The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by S. Abramsky 2013… Ward, J. (2016). The Fire this Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race…Isenberg, N. (2016). White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.

  • I’ve read two good ones this year, Hillbilly Elegy and Radium Girls.

  • Whatever Happened to Willie Earle? by Will Willimon

  • A couple of classics: “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” by Robert Tressell (fiction) and “Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist” by Alexander Berkman (nonfiction)

    Both of these can be found online at Project Gutenberg and “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” has an excellently narrated recording by Tadhg Hynes at LibriVox.

  • Fiction To Kill a Mockingbird; nonfiction White Trash: the 400 Year History of Class in America

  • I listened to an audiobook of “The Hate U Give” and was incredibly moved. Same with “Just Mercy” by the wonderful Bryan Stevenson, a prophet for our times.

  • Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol. Essentially anything by Kozol or Paul Farmer.

  • Imbeciles: Eugenics and theThe Sterilization of Carrie Buck, The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

  • The Absolutely True Diary Of a Part Time Indian – F
    You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me – N
    Both – Sherman Alexie

  • To kill a mockingbird. A time to kill. The Green Mile.

  • A People’s History of the U.S. – Howard Zinn

  • The Warmth of other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson
    White Trash

    • Great book…also you might try Slavery by Another Name…eye opener

  • John Grisham
    addresses justice issues in a popular format.Walter Mosely’s Easy Rawlins series is also a favorite. Recent books Eviction & Killers of the Flower Moon were both astonishing and eye-opening.

  • The Hate U Give is pretty great. Older – To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer and Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich (sp?)

  • 5 Smooth Stones. I’ll have to look up author to spell her name correctly

    • It’s by Ann Fairbairn – one of my favorites.

    • Regina , thanks. You are the only one to respond when I’ve mentioned the book.

    • I think it’s a forgotten classic but it very much deserves to be remembered.

    • I found this title on my library Hoopla site. Thanks Jeneane… I just added this book to my TBR pile. 🙂

    • Five Smooth Stones was the first book I read, as an adult, that made me start to ask questions.

  • Down and Out in London and Paris by George Orwell. In it, in a chapter describing the experience of being forced, along with many others and under threat of physical violence, into a London flophouse and having to pay a few pence for the privilege, Orwell, in one sentence, notes that profit is the root cause of poverty as the flophouse is more profitable than London’s fanciest hotel “…there is more money to be made taking pennies from the poor than pounds from the rich.”.

    • Thank u missed that Father Boyle had a new book.

    • Hope you saw Mr Stevenson & Mr. McMillan on PBS last night. I am looking forward to Just Mercy (my reserve just came in @ the library.)

    • Sandra I didn’t! I’m so glad he was on there!

    • Laura The segment was inspiring both men talked about …
      Mockingbird. My local PBS stationis repeating the program alot so hopefully you can catch it. Happy reading.

  • For a work of fiction, I’d say To Kill a Mockingbird. For non-fiction, I’d pick Martin Luther King Jr’s Why We Can’t Wait.

  • Native Son by Richard Wright really captures the terror of being an illiterate marginalized person.

  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. “Fear and anger are a threat to justice; they can inflict a community, a state, or a nation and make us blind, irrational, and dangerous.” And Sherman Alexi’s memoir: You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. I laughed and cried at the same time and when I finished it I started at the beginning and read it again.

    • Can you tell me more about Just Mercy

    • Here is a description of the author and the book: Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Most of the cases Stevenson investigated were of black men unjustly prosecuted and and sentenced – many to death. He tells the story of a corrupt legal system that fuels anger and fear.

  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich. She is a wonderful Native American author.

  • There are so many wonderful and life altering books mentioned here. I will also add Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (Dee Brown) , Stolen Continents by Richard Wright and For Those I Loved by Martin Grey. They are all non-fiction.

    • Make that Ronald Wright! Richard wrote Black Boy and Native Son, wonderful books.

  • Another great book is North of Crazy by Neltje. It is her autobiography and before the “Me, Too” movement it empowered women to speak out about their own experiences of sexual abuse. Also, She is a remarkable woman.

  • Fiction: The Hate U Give, non-fiction: The New Jim Crow

    • Completely agree with both of these! Also Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

    • Just finished Hillbilly Elegy and am passing it on to my daughter and grandson.

  • The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash. It’s about the attempt to unionize cotton mill workers for better wages.

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison was also very mind-opening

    • on is my favorite living writer but The Bluest Eye has always been too painful for me.

    • It is indeed a sad book which reflects a very sad reality..and therefore very impactful.

  • Evicited and Nickled and Dimed: Living on minimum wage. Both good books.

  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

  • So many great suggestions; I’ll add Trail of Tears by Gloria Jahoda to the growing list.

  • I just read ‘The Sun Does SHine” by Ray Hinton. It was realy good 🙂

    • This book had kids who never read asking for more time to read aloud as a group.

  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann.

  • A Walk in the Sun by Corbin Addison, it’s a novel that sheds light on human trafficking

    • I thought I would but I didn’t care for this one that much.

    • Denise I agree. The book was poorly researched and poorly referenced.

  • Battle Cry of Freedom (both volumes) and Slavery by Another Name are 2 of my favs. I generally lean toward this genre and non-fiction, to help give me an understanding of the shape of the world around me/us. I would say that A Warmth of Other Suns may be one of my all-time favorite books, period. It’s so much more than any of these genres to me… that book was everything!

    Edited to add: Dr King’s last book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community was powerful and now seems to embody prophetic insights. I wish more folks would read it. I didn’t have anyone you discuss it with when I finished it.

  • I’m currently reading So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. So far, it’s excellent.

  • Through the Eyes of the Judged: Autobiographical Sketches by Incarcerated Young Men (edited by Stephanie Guilloud.) I used this in the classroom.

    • Great book. Great man. Awesome historian. A national treasure.

    • Kathy Amazing man
      What courage & commitment to take on our broken, racist system.

  • Between The World and Me, Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind and Found Its Soul by Clara Bingham, My Life on the Road
    by Gloria Steinem, I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, Tim Wise books.

  • There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz, nonfiction. Fiction, “Hard Times” by Charles Dickens.

  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, non fiction. To Kill a Mockingbird, fiction.

  • Soul on Ice, Soledad Brother, Assata, Letter From A Birmingham Jail, The Isis Papers, The New Jim Crow.

  • Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India was an amazing book. Super impactful. Changed how I think about poverty and interacting with poor people.

    • A very important book that will make readers demand change.


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