Staff Picks

What We're Reading

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

Bad Teacher book cover

In Bad Teacher! How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture, Kevin Kumashiro examines many of the faulty “common sense” ideas that have guided the educational reform movements of the last several decades. If we wish to make schools more equitable, Kumashiro argues, we must move past the current flawed framework for talking about reform. 

Professional Development 

“An incisive look at the motives behind contemporary education reform movements.” –Steffany Moyer


Waking Up White book cover

Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race tells of author Debby Irving’s wake-up call: realizing that an inherited legacy of white privilege had tainted her with injustice and kept her from really understanding the racism around her. In time, she learns how to use her privilege to speak up fearlessly against wrong. 

High School

“A great example of speaking up to make change.” –Bridget Strength


How I Became a Ghost book cover

Narrated by Isaac, a 10-year-old American Indian who has recently become a ghost, Tim Tingle’s How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story explores the tragedy and heartbreak of the Trail of Tears while also presenting the pride of Choctaw traditions. Students will find humor and horror, levity and weight in this engaging piece of fiction about one of our nation’s darkest hours.


Middle School 

“Places families and communities at the heart of the Trail of Tears discussion.”  –Monita Bell 


Out and Allied book cover

Out & Allied: An Anthology of Performance Pieces Written by LGBTQ Youth and Allies is a collection of both student voices and action steps for facilitating dialogue within families, schools, organizations and faith-based communities about LGBTQ youth and allies.


Professional Development

“Sets the stage for moving from discussion to dialogue in all communities.”  –Sara Wicht



The Fog Machine book cover

Susan Follett tells the story of C.J. Evans, a young black woman who grows up believing that if she wishes to protect herself, she must always follow society’s rules. When a new friend, a young white man, enters her life, she begins to hope that someday these rules can change. Never patronizing, The Fog Machine paints an honest picture of Jim Crow and Freedom Summer while emphasizing that our lives, our ideas and our worlds are shaped by the people we love.

High School

“A poignant civil rights era coming-of-age story.” –Steffany Moyer


Malcolm Little book cover

Most people know about the incredible transformations Malcolm X made during his adult life, from prisoner to activist, family man, minister and humanitarian. Now, in Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X, written by Ilyasah Shabazz and beautifully illustrated by AG Ford, the activist’s daughter gives us a glimpse into the tender and trying childhood that shaped her father.

Elementary School



Race Empire book cover

Professional Development

This is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education by José Luis Vilson

Race, Empire, and English Language Teaching: Creating Responsible and Ethical Anti-Racist Practice by Suhanthie Motha





Middle & High School

Push Girl book cover

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods

Push Girl by Chelsie Hill and Jessica Love







Elementary School

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

The Girl Who Heard Colors by Marie Harris, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Illustration of person holding and looking at laptop.

New Virtual Workshops Are Available Now!

Registrations are now open for our 90-minute virtual open enrollment workshops. Explore the schedule, and register today—space is limited!

Sign Up!