YOU are the spark that will light up the darkness of the present.
We put this bundle together with our future leaders in mind. These books will help you understand what has gone before and will also help you dream of a different future. Fiction and nonfiction come together in one package to give you the information and inspiration to achieve your dreams and light up the world!
- Why We Can’t Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – paperback
Martin Luther King’s classic exploration of the events and forces behind the Civil Rights Movement—including his Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963.
“There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.”
In 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, was perhaps the most racially segregated city in the United States. The campaign launched by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights movement on the segregated streets of Birmingham demonstrated to the world the power of nonviolent direct action.
In this remarkable book—winner of the Nobel Peace Prize—Dr. King recounts the story of Birmingham in vivid detail, tracing the history of the struggle for civil rights back to its beginnings three centuries ago and looking to the future, assessing the work to be done beyond Birmingham to bring about full equality for African Americans. Above all, Dr. King offers an eloquent and penetrating analysis of the events and pressures that propelled the Civil Rights movement from lunch counter sit-ins and prayer marches to the forefront of American consciousness.
Since its publication in the 1960s, Why We Can’t Wait has become an indisputable classic.
- Black Voices: An Anthology of African-American Literature – paperback
“If you don’t know my name, you don’t know your own.”—James Baldwin
Featuring fiction, poetry, autobiography, and literary criticism, Black Voices captures the diverse and powerful words of a literary explosion, the ramifications of which can be seen and heard in the works of today’s African-American artists. A comprehensive and impressive primer, this anthology presents some of the greatest and most enduring work born out of the African-American experience in the United States.
Sterling A. Brown
Charles W. Chesnutt
John Henrik Clarke
Paul Laurence Dunbar
James Weldon Johnson
Naomi Long Madgett
J. Saunders Redding
Darwin T. Turner
- Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson – paperback
A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success, from acclaimed author Renée Watson.
Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s going to succeed. Her mother says to take advantage of every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods. But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. Maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.
Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.
- Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall, illustrated by Hugo Martinez – hardcover
Part graphic novel, part memoir, Wake is an imaginative tour-de-force that tells the story of women-led slave revolts and chronicles scholar Rebecca Hall’s efforts to uncover the truth about these women warriors who, until now, have been left out of the historical record.
Women warriors planned and led slave revolts on slave ships during the Middle Passage. They fought their enslavers throughout the Americas. And then they were erased from history.
Wake tells the story of Dr. Rebecca Hall, a historian, granddaughter of slaves, and a woman haunted by the legacy of slavery. The accepted history of slave revolts has always told her that enslaved women took a back seat. But Rebecca decides to look deeper, and her journey takes her through old court records, slave ship captain’s logs, crumbling correspondence, and even the forensic evidence from the bones of enslaved women from the “negro burying ground” uncovered in Manhattan. She finds women warriors everywhere.
Using in-depth archival research and a measured use of historical imagination, Rebecca constructs the likely pasts of Adono and Alele, women rebels who fought for freedom during the Middle Passage, as well as the stories of women who led slave revolts in Colonial New York. We also follow Rebecca’s own story as the legacy of slavery shapes life, both during her time as a successful attorney and later as a historian seeking the past that haunts her.
Illustrated beautifully in black and white, Wake will take its place alongside classics of the graphic novel genre, like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Art Spiegelman’s Maus. The story of both a personal and national legacy, it is a powerful reminder that while the past is gone, we still live in its wake.
- Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam – hardcover
From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. One of the most acclaimed YA novels of the year—this Walter Award–winning, New York Times and Indie bestseller is now available in paperback—a must-read for fans of Jason Reynolds, Walter Dean Myers, and Elizabeth Acevedo.
The story that I thought
was my life
didn’t start on the day
I was born
Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, because of a biased system, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated. Then, one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.
The story that I think
will be my life
Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?
With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth in a system designed to strip him of both.