STAFF PICKS

What We're Reading

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

Cover of "Missing Daddy."

Missing Daddy by Mariame Kaba addresses the youngest victims of the prison industrial system—children with loved ones who are incarcerated. Alongside beautiful illustrations by bria royal, Kaba renders in detail the experience of children who may not fully understand their loved ones’ extended absence. The story’s description of ridicule at school, domestic stress when caretakers manage households alone and enforced separation from a beloved father may help young readers feel less alone as they manage the impact of long-term and long-distance incarceration on their families and themselves.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Kaba’s emotive work helps children, their caretakers and other interested parties acknowledge the painful impact of incarceration.

— Crystal L. Keels, Teaching Tolerance Associate Editor
Cover of "Being Heumann."

Judith Heumann’s memoir, Being Heumann, paints a detailed historical portrait of the birth of the 20th century disability rights movement. Writing with Kristen Joiner in witty and personal prose, Heumann describes how she and fellow disability activists established the groundbreaking Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, developed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and shifted the narrative of disability from a medical issue to a question of civil rights.

HIGH SCHOOL

If you’re searching for an excellent primer on the disability justice movement or a firsthand account of the power of the collective voice, you’ll want to pick up this book!

— Jey Ehrenhalt, Teaching Tolerance School-Based Programming and Grants Manager
Cover of "Punching the Air."

Punching the Air, by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, is an intricately crafted novel in verse that paints a portrait of a young Black boy’s humanity. At 16, Amal Shahid fights to find hope, freedom and his truth through the arts in the most debilitating space—a juvenile detention center. Salaam, one of the Exonerated Five, writes with Zoboi to expose how systemic racism creates disdain for Blackness, repressing the genius and creativity of Black boys.

HIGH SCHOOL

This must-read, rhythmic masterpiece amplifies the often stifled gifts of Black boyhood while reminding us to extend grace and mercy to those who are failed by oppressive systems.

— Coshandra Dillard, Teaching Tolerance Senior Writer
Cover of "We Are Water Protectors."

Written by Carole Lindstrom, an Anishinaabe/Métis author tribally enrolled with the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, and illustrated by Michaela Goade, an enrolled member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, We Are Water Protectors connects Indigenous traditions to present-day activism. Facing the threat of a pipeline—a manifestation of a tale of the snake that will threaten the land—a young water protector explains why water is sacred and vows to defend it. This story is a call to action insisting that Indigenous people are not only still here but still at the forefront of the fight for climate justice.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

A beautifully illustrated and profoundly told tale that centers the courageous work of Indigenous activists while reminding readers that we are all connected by the water they protect.

— Cory Collins, Teaching Tolerance Senior Writer
Cover of "The (Other) F Word."

The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat and Fierce combines personal essays, prose, poetry, fashion tips and more into a visual celebration of fat bodies. Edited by Angie Manfredi, this groundbreaking collection of diverse voices combines the talents of renowned fat YA and middle-grade authors with those of fat influencers and creatives. It offers fat teen readers a guidebook to becoming their best, most confident selves while providing readers of all sizes a road map for reconceiving our notions of body and acceptance.

MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL

This beautiful book is a celebration of the fat and fierce and a love letter to fat bodies. This is a book I wish I’d had as a fat teenager, from a community of incredible fat people with a powerful message about fat acceptance and loving yourself.

— Lindsey Shelton, Teaching Tolerance Marketing Coordinator
Cover of "When They Call You a Terrorist."

Patrisse Khan-Cullors’ When They Call You a Terrorist: A Story of Black Lives Matter and the Power to Change the World (Young Adult Edition) is vulnerable, heart-wrenching and liberating. Written with asha bandele and adapted by Benee Knauer, Khan-Cullors’ memoir starts at the beginning, detailing how she felt like an outsider within her family and felt unsure of herself in middle school. Yet, as she grew—and with the help of her support network—she started to trust in the power within herself to make real change. The incredible story takes readers all the way through her co-founding of the Black Lives Matter movement.

MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL

Reading about Patrisse Khan-Cullors’ experiences—and how they inform her organizing journey—will electrify readers.

— Anya Malley, Teaching Tolerance Editorial Assistant
Cover of "Planning to Change the World."

Turn the page of a traditional planner, and it might include the date and a quote. However, Planning to Change the World: A Plan Book for Social Justice Educators by the Education for Liberation Network, prepares the reader to take action. Each page is filled with details about champions of social justice, quotes by social movers, powerful images and informative articles. The book includes reminders of conferences, essays about current work and thorough suggestions on how to take action for social justice. This plan book is a great tool for educators, caregivers and community organizers.

HIGH SCHOOL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

This book not only reminds youth (and adults) to take action; it guides them on how.

— Kevin Cordi, Teaching Tolerance Advisory Board Member
Cover of "Same As It Never Was."

In Same as it Never Was: Notes on a Teacher’s Return to the Classroom, Gregory Michie recounts returning, after 12 years away from K-12 schools, to teach at the Chicago public elementary school where he started his career. With testing requirements and the school’s probationary status, Michie, a white educator, wrestles with the realities he and his students—Black, brown, undocumented or with undocumented families—face. In this, his third book, Michie argues that teachers “cannot separate their classroom selves from their citizen selves.”

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Dr. Michie makes it clear that, for educators, any division between inside and outside the classroom is impossible.

— Crystal L. Keels, Teaching Tolerance Associate Editor
Cover of "Her Body Can."

Elementary School

Her Body Can

by Katie Crenshaw and Ady Meschke, illustrated by Li Liu

Cover of "American as Paneer Pie."

Middle School

American as Paneer Pie

by Supriya Kelkar

Cover of "Freedom Summer."

Middle and High School

Freedom Summer for Young People: The Violent Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy

by Bruce Watson, adapted by Rebecca Stefoff

Cover of "The Savvy Ally."

Professional Development

The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate

by Jeannie Gainsburg

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Teaching Tolerance collage of images

Welcome to Learning for Justice—Formerly Teaching Tolerance!

Our work has evolved in the last 30 years, from reducing prejudice to tackling systemic injustice. So we’ve chosen a new name that better reflects that evolution: Learning for Justice.

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