In 2013, when George Zimmerman was acquitted of Trayvon Martin’s death, Aim High’s curriculum team worked all weekend gathering and creating resources our teachers could use the following Monday to help students process their emotions about such a clear injustice.

The following summer, after an NPYD officer killed Eric Garner and a Ferguson, Mo. officer shot Michael Brown, we added to our curriculum.

The summer after that, when Freddie Gray was murdered by six Baltimore police officers, we added yet again. We renamed the curriculum “From Ferguson to Baltimore.”

Since then, more Black lives have been senselessly taken and too few white perpetrators have been convicted. We have had to rename it once again, “From Ferguson to Baltimore and Beyond.” Aim High educators are heartbroken and asking ourselves: How many more pages do we need to add? When will it stop? What can we do about it?

One thing we can do this summer is to encourage our staff, teachers and our students to read books that help them make sense of the world, that help them learn more about others who are different from them (windows) and learn more about themselves (mirrors). Especially during this time of shelter in place, books are our most powerful tool in seeing a world outside of our own.

For middle school students (and the adults who care about them):

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

American Like Me by America Ferrera

American Born Chinese by Gene Yuen Lang

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

The Hate you Give by Angie Thomas

For the adults in our community:

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Aim High stands in solidarity with our Black students, families, teachers and the communities we serve. Read a statement to our Aim High community from Executive Director and Co-Founder, Alec Lee.

2 comments on “Windows and mirrors: Aim High’s recommended anti racist reading list”

  1. 1
    Ijnanya Foster on June 8, 2020

    Thank you for your commitment. Continuing to educate during these trying times as well as teaching the students to recognize themselves, feelings, who they are as well as how to process them.

  2. 2
    Jen Veveiros on June 11, 2020

    Thank you so much for this book list! I have applied for grants to purchase the books for children. Teaching Tolerance is another website that offers booklists for all ages. As a white educator teaching children of color it is my duty to educate myself so that I can provide a safe and equitable learning space where all voices are heard and all cultures, abilities, and genders are represented!

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