This past summer The Racial Justice Action Group has been reading and making lists of some great books to share.

The list is broken down into Non-Fiction, Fiction, Children’s Storybooks, Chapter Books, Teen Books and even Poetry for Indigenous authors and Black and other authors of colour.

Some of the books we’ve read, some we’ve heard good things about and some of the books come from reading lists from The Toronto Public Library and The New York Times. We certainly haven’t drafted a complete list but it’s a start. We hope you’ll look at the list, maybe pick a few titles to read this fall/winter and make your own recommendations.

The desire of sharing this reading list is to encourage people to read and think about racial justice issues raised in the books and then to talk about them with friends and family.
Sharing good books is one way we can all embrace diversity and ensure racial justice in our own community. Another way is to join the Racial Justice Group where we have great discussions about promoting racial justice. Open to all.

Mary Anne Lemm

Reading List

Indigenous authors:

Johnny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
Ragged Company – Richard Wagamese
Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese
Starlight – Richard Wagamese
Medicine Walk – Richard Wagamese
One Story, One Song – short story collection – Richard Wagamese
Five Little Indians – Michelle Good
The Break – Katherena Vermette
Chasing Painted Horses by Drew Hayden Taylor
In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Mosionier
Porcupines and China Dolls by Robert Arthur Alexie
Up Ghost River by Edmund Metatawabin
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (young adult book)

A Mind Spread Out On The Ground by Indigenous author Alicia Elliott
The Education of Augie Merasty by Joseph Auguste Merasty with David Carpenter
From the Ashes -Jesse Thistle
21 things you may not know about the Indian Act : Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality by Bob Joseph
Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga
In My Own Moccasins memoir by Helen Knott
Broken Circle is a memoir by Theodore Fontaine
The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew
Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
Aboriginal Narrative Practice by Barbara Wingard

Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations by Richard Wagamese
The Red Flies poetry by Lisa Bird-Wilson

Teen Books:
As long as the Rivers Flow is a middle-grade book by Larry Loyie
7 Generations is a graphic novel by David A. Robertson
Betty is a graphic novel written by David A. Robertson
The Barren Grounds graphic novel by David Robertson

Children’s storybooks:
Can Make This Promise by Christine Day
We Sang You Home, written by Richard Van Camp and illustrated by Julie Flett (board book)
Stolen Words is a picture book by Melanie Florence
The Orange Shirt by Phyllis Webstad age 7-10
Shi-shi-etko and Shin-chi’s Canoe by Nicola I. Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave
A Day with Yayah, written by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Julie Flett
Owls See Clearly at Night is a picture book by illustrator and author Julie Flett
Amik Loves School is the seventh book in the Seven Teachings Stories series by Katherena Vermette
Just a Walk, written by Jordan Wheeler
My Name is Seepeetza by Shirley Sterling
Dear Canada, These Are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens by Ruby Slipperjack
The Train is a book by Jodie Callaghan, illustrated by Georgia Lesley
Fatty Legs: A True Story, A Stranger at Home, Not My Girl and When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis
In When We Were Alone and Sugar Falls by David A. Robertson
You Hold Me and Speaking Our Truth by Monique Gray Smith
What’s My Superpower by Aviaq Johnston
They Called Me Number One is a memoir by Bev Sellars

Black Authors:

The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke -fiction
The Book of Negroes – Lawrence Hill -fiction
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole
Can You Hear Me Now by Celina Caesar-Chavannes
Viola Demond’s Canada by Graham Reynolds
Black Life: Post BLM and the Struggle for Freedom by Rinaldo Walcott
Conversations with White People by IC Bailey
Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy by Rachel Ricketts
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from slavery to present by Robyn Maynard
So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
This is The Fire by Don Lemon
Why I’m no longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Saga Boy: My life of Blackness and Becoming by Antonio Michael Downing
Finish This Sentence by Leslie Roach
Uncle: Race Nostalgia, and the Politics of Loyalty by Cheryl Thompson
My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem
Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times by Bishop Michael Curry (American)
Caste: the Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (American)
I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: a Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandy (Canadian)

Other BIPOC Authors:
Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Author writing about Racism:
White Fragility Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo

Children’s BIPOC storybooks:
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad
All The Colors We Are: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color by Katie Kissinger
Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council and Carolyn Choi
I am Enough by Grace Byers
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina
Freedom River by Doreen Rappaport
We are Family by LeBron James

Chapter Books:
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
What Lane by Torrey Maldonado
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

For Teens:
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Just Mercy: A true Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson

One thought on “Racial Justice Reading List”

  1. I would add to the Indigenous Non-Fiction list “Indigenous Toronto”, a book of essays by several authors about Indigenous people in Toronto. Some of the essays talk about the presence of Indigenous people in this area before contact with Europeans, others discuss the treaties governing the relationship with Europeans, while others are about Indigenous leaders and artists in more recent times.
    I am currently reading Katharena Vermette’s newer book “the Strangers”, which, like her previous novel ” the Break” is focused on Metis women. While her books are hard to read, they provide real insights into the struggles and the strengths of women in this unique Indigenous community.

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