“Once you see yourself truthfully depicted, you have a sense of your right to be in the world”
– Paule Marshall

Resources for Getting Books

  • First Book: First Book provides over 8 million books and education materials each year to programs and schools for children in need from birth through age 18 throughout the United States.
  • Page Ahead: Page Ahead is the leading provider of children’s literacy services in Washington State, serving schools and programs to more than 35,000 children in need every year.
  • Discover Books: Discover Books provides high-quality books to schools, libraries, non-profit organizations and literacy programs and has the ability to make donations specific

McERA Book Recommendations

Books for Educators

  • Amber Banks Grubb Recommends:


    A book I could offer for teachers is Carol Dweck’s Mindset. Dweck offers a practical framework for teachers to adopt a growth mindset, or the belief that all people have the ability to develop new skills and qualities through practice and learning. This perspective challenges the belief that skills are fixed and unchangeable and can transform the way teachers approach their craft.


    Also, The Dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African-American Children by Gloria Ladson-Billings is a great one. Through stories and research Ladson-Billings offers practical examples of culturally-relevant teaching and learning to help African-American, and all students, excel in the classroom.

  • Caprice Hollins Recommends:


    I love Whistling Vivaldi: Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us. I highly recommend it to all teachers as a way to better understand the impact of stereotype threat on student learning.

  • Dawn Bennett Recommends:

    Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing

    I chose Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, by Joy DeGruy Leary, because it spoke to the reasons that I was walking around searching for the reasons why I was so angry as an African American, I needed to know why things were so unjust in this nation. The history that I was taught as a child was so vibrant and full of our successes, that the negative incidents in my African American history had to be gently explained to me and the way that we struggled past the negatives, as slaves and slave owners, had to be gently explained to me. And it is explained in this book. Dr. Joy Leary wrote this book in a way that is palatable for African Americans, and delivers very important information that other races absolutely need to know about us, if they are going to deal with us and our children.

    Also, as an African American woman, watching our male counterparts struggle in America, after learning how strong they were, I had to justify the reason why they were struggling so…this book explains that very well. It helped me empathize with my fellow brother.

  • Donald Felder Recommends:


    Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum.

  • Faisal Jama Recommends:

    The Orchard of Lost Souls

    My book recommendation is The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed. This is a great book about 3 young Somali women who endure the civil war in Somalia. Great Read!!!.

  • Janet Jones Preston Recommends:

    Schooling Homeless Children

    Janet Jones Preston recommends this book as inspiration to transform schools into a communities to honor and support all children. The book is based on a case study of Seattle’s B.F.Day elementary school. (Features Golden Apple Award winner for Educational Excellence, Ms. Janet Jones Preston).

    Having Our Say

    “I felt proud to be an American citizen reading Having Our Say…the two voices, beautifully blended…evoke an epic history…often cruel and brutal, but always deeply humane.”—New York Times Book Review

    When Sadie and Bessie Delany were 104 and 102 years old, respectively, they told their life stories to journalist Hearth in a remarkable contribution to oral history. As the daughters of a freed slave who became America’s first elected black Episcopal bishop, the sisters’ careers-in education and dentistry-took them to New York during the Harlem Renaissance. Memoirs like this beg to be told aloud.—Library Journal

  • Kate Napolitan Recommends:

    Books I thought about all the time while I was teaching, that spoke to me:

    You Can't Say You Can't Play


  • Lorena Guillen:

    Zoot Suit and Other Plays
    Zoot Suit and Other Plays by Luis Valdez. Awesome book to teach for these reasons:

    • it is in the tradition of Teatro Campesino, of which LuisValdez was a founding member. This gives teachers the chance to talk about the revolutionary form, structure, and purpose grounded in indigenous storytelling.
    • it dramatizes true events involving police brutality, young Latino and Filipino men in the East LA area, foreshadowing similar events in LA history, including the King riots and current national events

    Zoot Suit Riots history:See it on PBS

    • it’s an extraordinary piece of literature rooted in Spanglish and the play on language and words, particularly within Chicanismo and Xicana/o tradiitions
    • it includes complex character development with special attention to the archetype of the Pachuco
    • it asks one of the most important enduring questions that literature can ask of the world: How does the individual exist with(in) the society in which they are born?
    • it was made into an amazing film version, without losing its original form as a dramatized play, starring Edward James Olmo and some of the best Latino/a actors of the time
    • it gives students the opportunity to use all higher order critical thinking skills needed to read, interpret, analyze, and bring to performance a rich, complex text
  • Michael Bowman Recommends:


    David Tyack, Seeking Common Ground: Public Schools in a Diverse Society. In this accessible little book, an eminent historian of education details how many of our most pressing contemporary educational problems have long roots. Can schools ameliorate social ills? Are children from different racial, ethnic, economic, and linguistic backgrounds more alike than different? Should schools strive for unity or valorize diversity? Does education represent a public or private good?


    Vanessa Siddle Walker, Their Highest Potential: An African American School and Community in the Segregated South. Many Americans learn that Brown v. Board of Education was a triumphant court case that sought to equalize educational opportunity amidst massive white resistance. In this view, the Supreme Court and the federal government are often portrayed as the ‘good guys’ and African Americans in the South as the lucky recipients of court decrees. What if this view is incorrect, or, only partially correct? What if, instead, we learn about the struggles and joys and love of a segregated black school in the years before Brown? What if, instead, we see forced desegregation as the breaking up a strong black institution and the dismissal of a generation of strong African American teachers?

  • Uti Yamassee Cleveland Recommends:

    The Smartest Kids in the World

    The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way – by Amanda Ripley – Great book about how governments and the public view education and its social priority.

    The One and Only Ivan

    The One and Only Ivan – by Katherine Applegate, – It is important to view the world from your students perspective. Ivan captures the beauty of ones inner self and what is important.

    Children's Mathematics

    Children’s Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction – This book reminds us of how smart children are and how our perspective of school learning is often too narrow.

Books for Children

  • Kate Napolitan Recommends:

    Books I used for building classroom community (and for integration into curriculum [e.g. a poetry unit]). I used a lot of picture books and short stories for read alouds even though I taught intermediate—they could pack a punch in a short amount of time:

    Blues Journey

    Love That Dog

    The House on Mango Street

    Marisol McDonald

    Thank You, Mr. Falker

    The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963

    Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez

    Those Shoes

  • Michael Bowman Recommends:

    My ideal unit would have teachers and students talking and thinking about the purpose of schools, our experiences in them, and where outside of schools we learn to be who we are. And I love the musicality and accessibility and wonder of books written in verse.


    Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again. Ha’s family must leave Saigon as it falls and they make a harrowing journey to Alabama. She tries to navigate a new school and new culture, while keeping her homeland close.


    Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming. (I do not know if these hands will be/Rosa’s/or Ruby’s/gently gloved/and fiercely folded/calmly in a lap,/on a desk,/around a book,/ready/to change the world…)