Staff Picks

What We're Reading

Our book reviews can help you keep your practice fresh and informed.

The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson | TT59 Magazine What We're Reading

In The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, we meet young Audrey, a real-life child in 1963 who sees the wrong in Birmingham, Alabama’s segregation laws and wants to stand against them. One of 3,000 children arrested in Birmingham in May 1963, Audrey serves as a great example for young activists today. This warm book, written by Cynthia Levinson and beautifully illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, will help introduce children to one of the biggest moments in modern civil rights history.

elementary school 

“There’s no better time than now to see what powerful things children can do.”

Michelle Brunke

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine

Lush, colorful and vibrant, India in 1942 is in the throes of change. In Supriya Kelkar’s Ahimsa, we witness this change through the eyes of 10-year-old Anjali, who loves clothes, her parents and her privileged station in life. When the call for Indian independence from Great Britain upends everything she knows, we witness not only the maturing mind and spirit of a determined young girl, but also the people and forces that she fights with and against.

middle school

“A lovely reminder that in the most historic moments are people who are unsure, flawed and wonderful.”

Colin Campbell

A School of Our Own by Samuel Levin | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine

Disgruntled with his status-quo public education, Samuel Levin resolves to start an experimental peer-led school, The Independent Project. The school’s structure is simple: Half the day is devoted to conducting independent inquiry, a quarter to asking and answering questions, and another quarter to learning mathematical and literacy languages. Turning his dream into reality, however, proves to be more complicated. In A School of Our Own, Levin and his mother, developmental psychologist Susan Engel, recount Sam’s passionate and unpredictable path to opening his ideal school.

high school

“Appealing to educators and students alike, Levin and Engels envision education as a profoundly personal treasure worth fighting for.”

Jey Ehrenhalt

The Newcomers by Helen Thorpe | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine

Immigrant and refugee students need to be admired, not pitied. In The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom, Helen Thorpe documents the journeys of newly arrived refugee and immigrant students and their families during their first year in an American high school. She tells of their resilience and power and gives the reader hope for the future. 

professional development

“An empowering story of students who have overcome so much and are finding their way in a new place.”

Hayley Breden, Teaching Tolerance Advisory Board member

Kazoo | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine

Kazoo, “a magazine for girls who aren’t afraid to make some noise,” is published quarterly, each issue specially themed to inform, encourage and empower elementary-age girls. In a given issue, readers are exposed to a wide range of topics, voices and fun activities—and women, past and present, who make a difference in the world. From stained-glass window makers and professional skateboarders to U.S. Congress members and astronauts, the grownups highlighted in Kazoo let girls know they can do and be anything! 

elementary school

“The noise makers in your life will love this informative and entertaining bit of sunshine!”

Monita K. Bell

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine

Charlie, a 12-year-old from a sharecropping family in antebellum South Carolina, is forced to travel to Detroit with Cap’n Buck, a feared plantation overseer, to help recover stolen “property.” To his shock, Charlie eventually realizes that he is expected to help capture an entire family, and he must decide whether or not he will follow orders. Through the use of dialect, historical figures and geography, Christopher Paul Curtis brings to life the internal struggle and tough choices faced by a white boy in 1858. The Journey of Little Charlie is a tale steeped in the exploration of identity, justice and action—three of the four domains of the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards.

middle school

“An engaging tale with a key theme: Even the youngest among us can stand up to injustice and create change.”

Hoyt J. Phillips III

I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina Illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine

One day, the protagonist of Tony Medina’s graphic novel I Am Alfonso Jones— beautifully illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings—is grappling with some tough-but-typical teenage issues. The next day, he finds himself riding a ghost train alongside passengers who, like him, were killed by police officers. Thus begins Alfonso’s painful and powerful story and the stories of several other characters whose lives ended too soon. Publisher Lee & Low offers a robust teaching resource to help students interpret and process themes such as state violence, death and resistance. Note: Educators are encouraged to preview this book and prepare students to encounter disturbing content.

high school

“Alfonso will help student readers better understand the complicated and controversial issue of police violence—and their role in stopping it.”

Russell Estes

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, is the story of Trayvon Martin’s life and death—considered by many to be the spark that ignited the Black Lives Matter movement. This story is told through alternating points of view as Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin revisit the death of their son but also paint a vivid and more complete portrait of his life. The parents explain their purpose for writing this book: “We tell it in the hope for healing, for bridging the divide that separates Americans, between races and classes, citizens and the police. ... His spirit lives on, and even his death may yet be redeemed.”

professional development

“A powerful look at how Trayvon Martin’s parents turned despair into hope.”

Gabriel A. Smith

Professional Development

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine

High School


By Julie Murphy

Dumplin by Julie Murphy | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine


Middle and High School

The Other Boy

By M.G. Hennessey

The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine



My Hair Is Poofy & That’s Okay

By Nikkolas Smith

My Hair Is Poofy and That’s Okay by Nikkolas Smith | TT59 What We're Reading | Summer 2018 Magazine


A map of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi with overlaid images of key state symbols and of people in community

Learning for Justice in the South

When it comes to investing in racial justice in education, we believe that the South is the best place to start. If you’re an educator, parent or caregiver, or community member living and working in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana or Mississippi, we’ll mail you a free introductory package of our resources when you join our community and subscribe to our magazine.

Learn More