Antiracist Books for Teens

A list of books to help put current events into perspective, provide a window into another person’s experience, and help confront white privilege. Many items on the list have a digital and physical format.

Compiled by:
Tyana P. & Fern S.
YA Fiction
Ain't Burned All the Bright

Jason Reynolds
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Reynold)

A smash up of art and text that viscerally captures what it is to be Black. In America. Right Now.

The Black Flamingo

Dean Atta
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Atta)

Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he’s navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican—but never quite feeling Greek or Black enough. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs—and the Black Flamingo is born.

Felix Ever After

Kacen Callender
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Callender)

Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend.

Fight Back

A.M. Dassu
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Dassu)

Aaliyah is inspired to stand up to a rise in Islamophobia after a terrorist attack at a concert, and searches for ways she and her friends can combat racism.

Genesis Begins Again

Alicia D. Williams
(Juvenile Fiction - J William)

Genesis tries again and again to lighten her black skin, thinking it is the root of her family's troubles, before discovering reasons to love herself as is.

Gone Wolf

Amber McBride
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Mcbride)

In the future, a Black girl known only as Inmate Eleven is kept confined -- to be used as a biological match for the president's son, should he fall ill. In the present, Imogen has intense phobias and nightmares of confinement. She's on her own, until a college student helps her see the difference between being Blue and sad, and Black and empowered.

Harvest House

Cynthia Leitich Smith
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Smith)

Halloween is near, and Hughie Wolfe is volunteering at a new rural attraction: Harvest House. He's excited to take part in the fun, spooky show--until he learns that an actor playing the vengeful spirit of an "Indian maiden," a ghost inspired by local legend, will be the star of the show. Folklore aside, unusual things have been happening at night at the crossroads near Harvest House.

An Impossible Thing to Say

Arya Shahi
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Shahi)

Omid needs the right words to connect with his newly met grandfather and distant Iranian heritage, and to show everyone that he truly belongs in Tucson, Arizona, the only home he's ever known. An act of terrorism transforms familiar accents into new threats. When words fail altogether and violence takes their place, what will Omid do next?

Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim

Patricia Park
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Park)

Alejandra Kim doesn't feel like she belongs anywhere. At her wealthy Manhattan high school, her super Spanish name and super Korean face do not compute to her mostly white "woke" classmates and teachers. But when a microaggression at school thrusts Ale into the spotlight, Ale must discover what it means to carve out a space for yourself to belong.

The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

Sonora Reyes
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Reyes)

Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: Keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don't fall in love.

The Lost Dreamer

Lizz Huerta
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Huerta)

Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. As violent change shakes Indir's world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive.

Omar Rising

Aisha Saeed
(Juvenile Fiction - J Saeed)

Omar must contend with being treated like a second-class citizen when he gets a scholarship to an elite boarding school.


Akwaeke Emezi
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Emezi)

There are no monsters anymore. In the city of Lucille, Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. Then Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother's paintings and a drop of Jam's blood. Pet has come to hunt a monster-- and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist? 

Take The Mic: Fictional Stories Of Everyday Resistance

Bethany C. Morrow
- Editor
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Take)

This anthology features fictional stories--in poems, prose, and art--that reflect a slice of the varied and limitless ways that readers like you resist every day.

This Place is Still Beautiful

XiXi Tian
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Tian)

Margaret looks just like their mother, while Annalie passes for white and looks like the father who abandoned them years ago, leaving their Chinese immigrant mama to raise the girls alone in their small, predominantly white Midwestern town. When their house is vandalized with a shocking racial slur, Margaret expects outrage. Instead, her sister and mother would rather move on. Especially once Margaret's own investigation begins to make members of their community uncomfortable.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Kwame Mbalia
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Mbalia)

Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. When he punches a tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, and he finds himself in the middle of a battle with American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit.

Warrior Girl Unearthed

Angeline Boulley
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Boulley)

With the rising number of missing Indigenous women, her family's involvement in a murder investigation, and grave robbers profiting off her Anishinaabe tribe, Perry takes matters into her own hands to solve the mystery and reclaim her people's inheritance.

We Are the Scribes

Randi Pink
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Pink)

Ruth Fitz, a black teenager surrounded by activism in a family rocked by tragedy, discovers that she has begun to receive parchment letters from Harriet Jacobs, the author of the autobiography and 1861 American classic, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and sets out to use her own voice to make history.

We Deserve Monuments

Jas Hammonds
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Hammond)

When Avery moves to rural Georgia to live with her ailing grandmother, she encounters decade-old family secrets and a mystery surrounding the town's racist past.

You Truly Assumed

Laila Sabreen
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Sabreen)

In Virginia, Sabriya has her whole summer planned-- until a terrorist attack near her home. When the terrorist is assumed to be Muslim and Islamophobia grows, Sabriya turns to her online journal for comfort. Two more teens, Zakat in Georgia and Farah in California, join Bri to run You Truly Assumed. Now all three must decide whether to shut down the blog and lose what they have worked for, or take a stand and risk everything to make their voices heard.

Graphic Novels
Bitter Root, Volume 1: Family Business

David Walker
(Graphic Novels - GN Bitter Root v. 1)

In the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing, and only the Sangerye Family, once known as the greatest monster hunters of all time, can save the world from the supernatural forces threatening to destroy humanity.


Kiku Hughes
(Graphic Novels - GN Hughes Displacement)

Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II. She witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties and suffered greatly, but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive.


Claribel A. Ortega
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Ortega Frizzy)

According to Marlene's mother, the only things she needs to focus on are school and growing up. That means straightening her hair every weekend so she can have 'presentable,' 'good' hair. But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn't understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. She slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.

I'm a Wild Seed

Sharon Lee De La Cruz
(Graphic Novels - GN Delacru Im A Wild Seed)

In this delightfully compelling full-color graphic memoir, the author shares her process of undoing the effects of a patriarchal, colonial society on her self-image, her sexuality, and her concept of freedom.

New Kid

Jerry Craft
(Graphic Novels - GN Craft New Kid)

After his parents send him to a prestigious private school known for its academics, Jordan Banks finds himself torn between two worlds.

Nubia: Real One

L.L. McKinney
(Graphic Novels - GN Mckinne Nubia Real One)

Nubia has always been a little bit different. As a baby she showcased Amazonian-like strength by pushing over a tree to rescue her neighbor's cat. But despite her having similar abilities, the world has no problem telling her that she's no Wonder Woman.


Marjane Satrapi
(Graphic Novels - GN 741.5092 Satrapi Sat)

In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.

Run: Book One

John Lewis
(Graphic Novels - GN Run v. 1)

For John Lewis, the Civil Rights Movement as he knew it ended with the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, but his struggle in the following years echo many of the same questions of civil rights and equality that are being asked today. Run tells the story of how John Lewis entered politics, working within the community, and organizing a campaign that has taken him to one of the most important seats in Congress.

Surviving The City, Vol. 1

Tasha Spillet
(Graphic Novels - GN Spillet Surviving The City)

Miikwan and Dez are best friends. Together, the teens navigate the challenges of growing up in an urban landscape. However, when Dez's grandmother becomes too sick, Dez is told she can't stay with her anymore. With the threat of a group home looming, Dez can't bring herself to go home and disappears. Miikwan is devastated, and the wound of her missing mother resurfaces.

The 57 Bus

Dashka Slater
(Teen Nonfiction - 364.1555 Sla)

But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person

Frederick Joseph
(Teen Nonfiction - 305.8 Jos)

Part memoir, part guidebook, this title explores scenarios of interpersonal and institutional struggle to introduce the next generation of white youth to anti-racism.

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson
(Teen Nonfiction - 811.54 Woo)

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.

Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter

Yohuru Williams
(Teen Nonfiction - 796.35792 Robinson Wil)

An enthralling, eye-opening portrayal of this barrier-breaking American hero as a lifelong, relentlessly proud fighter for Black justice and civil rights.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask

Anton Treuer
(Teen Nonfiction - 970.01 Tre)

From the acclaimed Ojibwe author and professor Anton Treuer comes an essential book of questions and answers for Native and non-Native young readers alike. Ranging from "Why is there such a fuss about nonnative people wearing Indian costumes for Halloween?" to "Why are Indians so often imagined rather than understood?".

Free Lunch

Rex Ogle
(Teen Nonfiction - 921 Ogle Ogl)

Free Lunch is the story of Rex Ogle's first semester in sixth grade. Rex and his baby brother often went hungry, wore secondhand clothes, and were short of school supplies, and Rex was on his school's free lunch program.

How to Be a (Young) Antiracist

Ibram X. Kendi
(Teen Nonfiction - 305.8009 Ken)

We can let racism stand, or we can stand against it. Readers will follow a young Kendi as he learns (and unlearns) lessons that help shape his understanding racism. He asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.

The Racial Trauma Handbook for Teens: CBT Skills to Heal from the Personal and Intergenerational Trauma of Racism

Tamara Hill
(Teen Nonfiction - 305.8009 Hil)

Racial trauma can reverberate for generations, and lead to anxiety, irritability, anger, rage, depression, low self-esteem, shame, and guilt. Teens are especially vulnerable to racial trauma, as they are still developing a sense of self and identity. The Racial Trauma Handbook for Teens provides readers with evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) skills to heal the wounds of personal and intergenerational trauma, increase self-awareness, and build confidence.

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People

Kekla Magoon
(Teen Nonfiction - 323.1196 Mag)

In this comprehensive, inspiring, and all-too-relevant history of the Black Panther Party, Kekla Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers' community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Jason Reynolds
(Teen Nonfiction - 305.800973 Rey)

A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning.

This Book is Anti-Racist

Tiffany Jewell
(Teen Nonfiction - 305.8009 Jew)

This book is written for the young person who doesn't know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life. This book will give them the language and ability to understand racism and a drive to undo it.

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

Glory Edim
- Editor
(Adult Nonfiction - 810.9896 Wel)

An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.