Staff Picks

What We’re Reading

The Teaching Tolerance staff reviews the latest in culturally aware literature and resources, offering the best picks for professional development and teachers of all grades.

Collage of book covers

How did “zero-tolerance” policies come to dominate discipline at so many U.S. public schools? And what damage have they done to students? Author Annette Fuentes answers these and other important questions in Lockdown High: When the Schoolhouse Becomes a Jailhouse. Fuentes shows why zero tolerance is a disastrous policy and how communities can save their schools from this maximum-security mentality.

professional development


Be Honest book cover

Be Honest and Other Advice From Students Across the Country, edited by Nínive Calegari, allows readers to hear directly from the young people who enter our nation’s classrooms each morning. Students reflect on topics such as favorite teachers, dream schools, personal struggles and ideas for a better future. The writing is funny, smart, tender, persuasive and—most important—authentic.

professional development



My Princess Boy book cover

My Princess Boy, by Cheryl Kilodavis and illustrated by Suzanne DeSimone, is the real-life story of a boy who expresses gender in his own creative way. With the support of family and friends, this young boy teaches students about the importance of acceptance, compassion and being true to one’s self.



Birmingham Sunday book cover

Well written and filled with primary-source documents, Birmingham Sunday, by Larry Dane Brimner, tells the story of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963. That Ku Klux Klan attack claimed the lives of four young girls and shocked the nation. This book makes an engaging supplement for classes learning about the civil rights movement.

middle & high school


Silhouetted by the Blue book cover

In Silhouetted by the Blue, by Traci L. Jones, Serena Shaw’s mother is dead and her father has been overcome by depression. While trying to maintain her class work and play the lead in the school musical, she must assume responsibility for running a household and taking care of her brother. This story of survival and hope will connect with students.

middle & high school




Rethinking Popular Culture and Media book cover

Rethinking Popular Culture and Media, edited by Elizabeth Marshall and Özlem Sensoy, helps educators explore bias and stereotypes. The book, based on articles from Rethinking Schools magazine, examines cartoons, books, television, music and other forms of media. It can help students unlearn some of the pernicious messages they’ve received about race, class, gender and the LGBT community.

professional development



From North to South book cover

From North to South, written by René Colato Laínez and illustrated by Joe Cepeda, addresses the complexities of immigration through the eyes of a child in a thoughtful and timely way. This is a bilingual English and Spanish book.






Professional development

What If All the Kids Are White? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families by Louise Derman-Sparks and Patricia G. Ramsey

Making Art Special: A Curriculum for Special Education Art by Helen Goren Shafton

Doing Multicultural Education for Achievement and Equity (2nd Edition) by Carl A. Grant and Christine E. Sleeter

Homelessness Comes to School by Joseph Murphy and Kerri Tobin


middle & high school

Real Men: Urban Teens Write about How to Be a Man by Youth Communications

Then by Morris Gleitzman

Out of Iraq by Sybella Wilkes

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick



Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown and illustrated by Sara Palacios

Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton and illustrated by Raul Colón

Yasmin’s Hammer by Ann Malaspina and illustrated by Doug Chayka

Sharing Our Homeland: Palestinian and Jewish Children at Summer Peace Camp by Trish Marx with photographs by Cindy Karp

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