An Antiracist Reading List

Hello Bibliophiles.

I wanted to take a moment to expand on Leila’s Shelf Stable post about George Floyd. These murders keep happening. Whatever we’re doing to work towards wokeness as white people isn’t enough. It’s time we turn inward, start fixing from our insides out, and listen to – not just hear – what our BIPOC community is saying. We (the PSB staff) hope that this list of titles will be a good jumping off point for those who don’t know where to start. The list ranges the gamut from books that will teach you to notice your own white supremacy, to poetry, culture, and reflections on the black experience from black writers. This list is by no means a comprehensive list, and many other fantastic indie bookstores across the country have been compiling similar lists, so please check everyone out. We’d especially like to highlight Frugal Bookstore in Roxbury. While we hope we can help with this, these are the people who can truly put the right book in your hand on this topic. 



P.S. A lot of these books have gone out of stock over the weekend and might be out of stock for a while. If there’s something you’re interested in that isn’t available, we recommend checking for the digital audio version. Downloadable audio doesn’t go out of stock. A book list isn’t going to change the world, but we are a bookstore and books and books lists are what we do. We are continuing to explore more ways to help, some you might see and some you might not, but we also hope you see this list as a starting point. Thank you. --Josh 

P.P.S. As Josh says, expect delays on some of these titles and definitely check out audiobooks for the speediest way to engage with this material; I'd also suggest that you fill your carts with books by Black writers that maybe aren't explicitly about asking white people to engage with our country's foundational racism - remember that even fiction can give you insight into other perspectives. My opinion? A delay on these titles is not necessarily a bad thing. Trust me, you are still going to need to engage with this material in 2 weeks - maybe even more so then. Order your book and spend the wait time channeling that energy into donating, researching local organizations and offering support, staying engaged with news and calling local and state representatives. When your book arrives down the line? There's your second wind right there, your reminder to keep pushing forward to do this work, even if headlines have changed. This is not a struggle that is going away without us doing something about it. --Leila


Children’s and YA:

This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell, Aurelia Durand (illust.)

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi

Lifting as we Climb by Evette Dionne

Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahoganey Browne, et. al.

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

Can I Touch Your Hair? By Irene Latham, Charles Waters, Sean Qualls (Illustrator)



Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal Marie Fleming

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

White Rage by Carol Anderson

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum 

Inner Work of Racial Justice by Rhonda V. Magee

Solitary by Albert Woodfox

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry, Kali Nicole Gross

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman

I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrice Khan-Cullors

Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts

Fearing the Black Body by Sabrina Strings

Driving While Black by Gretchen Sorin

Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis, Frank Barat (editor)

Our Stories, Our Voices: Black Men Speak Their Truth by Toni Coleman Brown (ed) and Julia Shaw (ed)

This Bridge Called My Back by Cherríe Moraga (Editor), Gloria Anzaldúa (Editor)

Black Imagination by Natasha Marin

Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture by Emma Dabiri (out June 23rd)

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (paperback out June 30th)

1919 by Eve L. Ewing

Wicked Enchantments by Wanda Coleman, Terrance Hayes (ed.)

HoodWitch by Faylita Hicks

Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis

Homie by Danez Smith

Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers