Staff Picks

What We're Reading

Teaching Tolerance loves to read! Check out a few of our favorite diverse books for diverse readers and educators.

Turning 15 On the Road to Freedom book cover

One of the youngest marchers to make the journey from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, Lynda Blackmon Lowery was terrified after being jailed many times and brutally beaten on Bloody Sunday. But as she details in Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom, “[D]etermination is a way of overcoming terror.” Photos, freedom-song lyrics and illustrations by P.J. Loughran complement Lowery’s recounting of her contributions to the movement.

middle school 

“A great inspiration for today’s young activists.”

Monita K. Bell



A Peoples Curriculum for the Earth book cover

A People’s Curriculum for the Earth, the new interdisciplinary curriculum from Rethinking Schools, tackles the climate crisis head on. With engaging short readings and lively teaching ideas, the guide will ensure that students learn to ask critical questions about the systems that affect not only the planet but all of our lives. Be forewarned: In certain parts of the country, using this curriculum will take courage.

high school

“This is the kind of book that can change the way young people look at everything.”

Maureen Costello


50 Myths book cover

David C. Berliner and Gene V. Glass tell it like it is! The research and data presented in 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools balance disheartening statistics with just the right amount of humor to keep the reader entertained and engaged in reflection about what we can and must do to preserve the nation’s education system.

professional development

“Read this and stock up on the facts before entering into debate about public education in the United States.”

Sara Wicht



El Deafo book cover

El Deafo, Cece Bell’s Newbery Honor-winning graphic novel memoir, is about a young rabbit named Cece who loses her hearing at age four and how she navigates a mainstream elementary school. Cece wears a Phonic Ear to school, a device she finds clunky, but that gives her superpowers and makes Cece see herself as mighty El Deafo!

elementary school

“Cece and her alter ego will inspire you to embrace your own superpowers.”

Maya Lindberg




Double Exposure book cover

Born intersex and with a love for basketball, 15-year-old Alyx has spent her life struggling to have other people accept her. After moving across the country, she makes the girls’ varsity basketball team and finally begins to find her place—until a rival attempts to shatter the identity that she has worked to create for herself. Bridget Birdsall’s Double Exposure is a novel that takes you into the heart of a character and makes you root for her until the very end.

middle and high school

“Students rarely get to hear from this kind of protagonist; Alyx’s voice bounces off the pages.”

Joanna Williams



March: Book Two, the second volume in John Lewis’ graphic novel trilogy (coauthored by Andrew Aydin), picks up in 1961, after the success of the Nashville sit-in campaign, and takes readers through a gripping and often violent few years during which Lewis matures as an activist and leader. The book culminates in the triumph of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—then alludes to Birmingham and one of greatest tragedies of the movement, illustrating (literally and figuratively) that the march toward racial justice followed an unsteady trajectory.

middle and high school

“Nate Powell’s illustrations become the reader’s world.”

Adrienne van der Valk



Closing the Gap book cover

Closing the School Discipline Gap, edited by Daniel J. Losen, asserts that the high number of students removed from classrooms on disciplinary grounds is the result of school policies and practices, rather than students’ misbehavior. This volume recommends a number of cost-effective policies and practices that work—if educators and policy makers are willing.

professional development

“Leads the conversation about healthy and positive disciplinary policies for students.”

June Cara Christian




Little Melba book cover

Surrounded by blues, jazz and gospel in Kansas City, Missouri, 7-year-old Melba Liston taught herself to play the trombone, despite the slide being longer than her arm. As told in Katheryn Russell-Brown’s Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, Melba overcame gender barriers in music to perform and compose alongside such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday.

elementary school

“Frank Morrison’s illustrations are as dynamic as Melba’s talent.”

Margaret Sasser



Changers book cover

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies for Facilitating Conversation on Race

By Caprice Hollins and Ilsa Govan



Changers Book Two: Oryon

By T. Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper



The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

By Selina Alko; Illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko