EmbraceRace

Antiracist Resources to use with 6th to 12th graders

by Dr. Ronda Taylor Bullock, Lead Curator at we are

Our Durham-based organization, we are (working to extend anti-racism education), regularly holds antiracism workshops for teachers. What follows are some of the resources we recommend teachers use with 6th through 12th graders. 

Media 

Graphic Novels 

  • New Kid by Jerry Craft - Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds--and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
  • Nat Turner by Kyle Baker - The story of Nat Turner and his slave rebellion--which began on August 21, 1831, in Southampton County, Virginia--is known among school children and adults. To some he is a hero, a symbol of Black resistance and a precursor to the civil rights movement; to others he is monster--a murderer whose name is never uttered. In Nat Turner, acclaimed author and illustrator Kyle Baker depicts the evils of slavery in this moving and historically accurate story of Nat Turner's slave rebellion. Told nearly wordlessly, every image resonates with the reader as the brutal story unfolds.

Books 

Middle School 

  • This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell - Who are you? What is racism? Where does it come from? Why does it exist? What can you do to disrupt it? Learn about social identities, the history of racism and resistance against it, and how you can use your anti-racist lens and voice to move the world toward equity and liberation.
  • Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, & You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram Kendi - The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.
  • Ghost Boys by Jewel Parker Rhodes - Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.
    Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father's actions.
  • An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese - “Dunbar-Ortiz’s narrative history is clear, and the adapters give readers ample evidence and perspective to help them to engage with the text. A highly informative book for libraries serving high school students.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review
  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang - Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia - In One Crazy Summer, eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She's had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined.While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.
  • Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez - Anita de la Torre never questioned her freedom living in the Dominican Republic. But by her twelfth birthday in 1960, most of her relatives have immigrated to the United States, her Tío Toni has disappeared without a trace, and the government's secret police terrorize her remaining family because of their suspected opposition to Trujillo's iron-fisted rule.
    Using the strength and courage of her family, Anita must overcome her fears and fly to freedom, leaving all that she once knew behind.
  • Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson - It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat--by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for A Room to Talk), they discover it's safe to talk about what's bothering them--everything from Esteban's father's deportation and Haley's father's incarceration to Amari's fears of racial profiling and Ashton's adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.
  • A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee - Tensions are high over the trial of a police officer who shot an unarmed Black man. When the officer is set free, and Shay goes with her family to a silent protest, she starts to see that some trouble is worth making. 

High School 

  • We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Bettina Love - Drawing on her life's work of teaching and researching in urban schools, Bettina Love persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements. She argues that the US educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. Instead of trying to repair a flawed system, educational reformers offer survival tactics in the forms of test-taking skills, acronyms, grit labs, and character education, which Love calls the educational survival complex.
    To dismantle the educational survival complex and to achieve educational freedom--not merely reform--teachers, parents, and community leaders must approach education with the imagination, determination, boldness, and urgency of an abolitionist. Following in the tradition of activists like Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, and Fannie Lou Hamer,We Want to Do More Than Survive introduces an alternative to traditional modes of educational reform and expands our ideas of civic engagement and intersectional justice.
  • Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur - This presents the life story of African American revolutionary Shakur, previously known as JoAnne Chesimard.
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander - Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander's unforgettable argument that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." As the Birmingham News proclaimed, it is "undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S."
  • White Rage by Carol Anderson - As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as "black rage," historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in The Washington Post suggesting that this was, instead, white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames, she argued, everyone had ignored the kindling.
  • Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris - In a work that Lisa Delpit calls "imperative reading," Monique W. Morris (Black StatsToo Beautiful for Words) chronicles the experiences of Black girls across the country whose intricate lives are misunderstood, highly judged--by teachers, administrators, and the justice system--and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish. Called "compelling" and "thought-provoking" by Kirkus ReviewsPushout exposes a world of confined potential and supports the rising movement to challenge the policies, practices, and cultural illiteracy that push countless students out of school and into unhealthy, unstable, and often unsafe futures.
  • When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele - Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin. Championing human rights in the face of violent racism, Patrisse is a survivor. She transformed her personal pain into political power, giving voice to a people suffering inequality and a movement fueled by her strength and love to tell the country--and the world--that Black Lives Matter. When They Call You a Terrorist is Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele's reflection on humanity. It is an empowering account of survival, strength and resilience and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.
  • Between the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates - Coates shares with his son--and readers--the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children's lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
  • Racism without Racists by Bonilla-Silva - Eduardo Bonilla-Silva's acclaimed Racism without Racists documents how, beneath our contemporary conversation about race, there lies a full-blown arsenal of arguments, phrases, and stories that whites use to account for--and ultimately justify--racial inequalities. The fifth edition of this provocative book makes clear that color blind racism is as insidious now as ever. It features new material on our current racial climate, including the Black Lives Matter movement; a significantly revised chapter that examines the Obama presidency, the 2016 election, and Trump's presidency; and a new chapter addressing what readers can do to confront racism--both personally and on a larger structural level.

Dr. Ronda Taylor Bullock

Dr. Taylor Bullock is the co-founder and Lead Curator of the organization We Are (working to extend anti-racist education). As a non-profit, We Are works to equip children, families, and educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the complexity of racism. Prior to starting We Are and earning her doctorate in Education, Dr. Taylor Bullock taught English for almost ten years at Hillside High School in Durham, NC, where she now resides. She is the wife of Dr. Daniel Kelvin Bullock and mother of son Zion and daughter Zaire.
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