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Summer Reading List for Dismantling Hate

By: Colleen Cave

During one of the largest civil rights movements in history, it is just as important to develop empathy, educate yourselves and others, and read people’s stories as it is to get out and protest. Below is a list of books geared towards teens about black lives matter and the LGBTQ+ community for you to read this summer.

The Hate You Give

By: Angie Thomas

This New York Times Bestseller by Angie Thomas follows a young teenage girl named Starr Carter who struggles to move between her two worlds, the poor neighborhood where she lives, and the fancy prep school she attends. This delicate balance comes crashing down after she witnesses her black friend get murdered by the police. Thrown into a fight for justice, she struggles to stand up for what’s right and find her voice. This novel offers a teenage perspective of a very controversial issue, and it’s easy to empathize with its characters.


By: Walter Dean Meyers

For those of you that find the conventional format of novels boring try Monster by Walter Dean Meyers. Written like a movie screenplay, it tells the story of a sixteen-year-old African American boy from Harlem named Steve who’s awaiting to be tried for murder. Whether you find Steve to be innocent or guilty throughout the course of the book, it’s hard not to empathize with Steve as he struggles to cope with his loneliness surrounded by convicts in jail. Discussing topics such as dehumanization, racism, and violence, Monster is definitely worth a read this summer.

Symptoms of Being Human

By: Jeff Garvin

This is one of the first YA novels to talk about the complex topic of gender fluidity. The main character Riley Cavanaugh is sarcastic, rebellious, and gender fluid. The only problem is that Riley isn’t out yet and doesn’t plan on telling their congressman father anytime soon. Encouraged by a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog as an outlet for pent up feelings and thoughts. This blog quickly spirals into a huge secret as it goes viral and an anonymous commenter threatens to expose Riley. This engaging and powerful story is a great depiction of a modern teen struggling with high school, relationships, and self-image.

House You Pass on the Way

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson is the queen of spinning controversial topics into stories that touch everyone that reads them, and she didn’t disappoint with House You Pass on the Way. It covers topics such as LGBTQ rights, biracial marriage, and racism as you read about a teenage girl, Staggerlee, and the summer where she finds herself. Always being set apart from her peers by her grandparents' tragic death in a civil rights bombing, her parents' interracial marriage, and now her strange longing for her friend Hazel, Staggerlee learns it’s okay to be different.

Dear Martin

By: Nic Stone

If you liked The Hate You Give you will enjoy Dear Martin. This novel also discusses the topic of racial injustice and police brutality. It’s a riveting story that you will not be able to put down. The main character, Justyce McAllister, is top of his class and has a promising future. However, none of that matters to the angry, racist, off-duty cop that pulls over Justyce and his best friend Manny for blasting their music too loud. Shots are fired, and when Justyce is blamed in the aftermath he looks towards Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings for help.

Queer History of the United States for Young People

By: Michael Bronski and Richie Chevat

This nonfiction book uses a collection of narratives, letters, drawings, poems, and more to tell the story of LGBTQ+ people and their accomplishments over the course of four hundred years in America. Those mentioned in this book have influenced American culture and history in many ways, but much of their part in history has been forgotten. The fight for LGBTQ+ rights didn’t start with Stonewall, and as you read, you’ll be surprised to learn about a four-hundred-year-old legacy of resistance and perseverance.

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