Welcome to the One Book, One Minnesota Resources & Discussion page for A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota. Here you will find discussion guides, further reading lists, and additional resources.
Reading Guide for A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota
To request these items click on the title to be taken to the SELCO Catalog.
Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice written by by Marianne Celano, PhD, ABPP, Marietta Collins, PhD, and Ann Hazzard, PhD, ABPP, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
After discussing the police shooting of a local Black man with their families, Emma and Josh know how to treat a new student who looks and speaks differently than his classmates. Includes an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers that provides general guidance about addressing racism with children.
Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbottom
A white child sees a TV news report of a white police officer shooting and killing a black man. “In our family, we don’t see color,” his mother says, but he sees the colors plain enough. An afternoon in the library’s history stacks uncover the truth of white supremacy in America.
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family written by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Faizah relates how she feels on the first day her sister, sixth-grader Asiya, wears a hijab to school.
Let’s Talk About Race written by Julius Lester, illustrated by Karen Barbour
The author introduces the concept of race as only one component in an individual’s or nation’s “story.”
The Day You Begin written by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.
Middle Grade Fiction:
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
After seventh-grader Jerome is shot by a white police officer, he observes the aftermath of his death and meets the ghosts of other fallen black boys including historical figure Emmett Till.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
After his parents send him to a prestigious private school known for its academics, Jordan Banks finds himself torn between two worlds.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Recent immigrants from China and desperate for work and money, ten-year-old Mia Tang’s parents take a job managing a rundown motel in Southern California, even though the owner, Mr. Yao is a nasty skinflint who exploits them. While her mother (who was an engineer in China) does the cleaning, Mia works the front desk and tries to cope with demanding customers and other recent immigrants–not to mention being only one of two Chinese in her fifth grade class, the other being Mr. Yao’s son, Jason.
How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story by Tim Tingle
A Choctaw boy tells the story of his tribe’s removal from the only land its people had ever known, and how their journey to Oklahoma led him to become a ghost–one with the ability to help those he left behind.
Blended by Sharon M. Draper
Piano-prodigy Isabella, eleven, whose black father and white mother struggle to share custody, never feels whole, especially as racial tensions affect her school, her parents both become engaged, and she and her stepbrother are stopped by police.
Middle Grade Nonfiction:
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. 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.
Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice by Veronica Chambers
Before they were activists, they were just like you and me. From Frederick Douglass to Malala Yousafzai, Joan of Arc to John Lewis, Susan B. Anthony to Janet Mock–these thirty-five profiles of remarkable figures show us what it means to take a stand and say no to injustice.
We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson
Discusses the events of the 4,000 African American students who marched to jail to secure their freedom in May 1963.
Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Years before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez, an eight-year-old girl of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, played an instrumental role in Mendez v. Westminster, the landmark desegregation case of 1946 in California
Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II by Martin W. Sandler
A striking juxtaposition opens this history of the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II: Japanese American soldiers liberating prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany while “tens of thousands of their relatives and friends back home … were being held against their will.”
Young Adult Fiction:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him.
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendon Kiely
When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Told through Rashad and Quinn’s alternating viewpoints.
Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena
Sixteen-year-old Danny searches for his identity amidst the confusion of being half-Mexican and half-white while spending a summer with his cousin and new friends on the baseball fields and back alleys of San Diego County, California.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
A graphic novel which examines issues of self-image, cultural identity, transformation, and self acceptance as Jin Wang moves with his family from Chinatown to an upper class suburb in San Francisco that alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. Presented in comic book format.
Young Adult Nonfiction:
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
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: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work written by Tiffany Jewell, illustrated by Aurelia Durand
Learn about identities, true histories, and anti-racism work … This book is written so young people will feel empowered to stand up to the adults in their lives. This book will give them the language and ability to understand racism and a drive to undo it.
They Called Us Enemy written by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, & Steven Scott, illustrated by Harmony Becker
A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II.
An Indigenous People’s History of the United States for Young People by Jean Mendoza, Debbie Reese, and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Going beyond the story of America as a country “discovered” by a few brave men in the “New World,” Indigenous human rights advocate Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals the roles that settler colonialism and policies of American Indian genocide played in forming our national identity.
The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
One teenager in a skirt. One teenager with a lighter. One moment that changes both of their lives forever. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. 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 New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
As the United States celebrates the nation’s “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status, much like their grandparents before them, who lived under an explicit system of control.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men — bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion.
White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
In this groundbreaking and timely book, antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility. Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo explores how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it — and then dismantle it.” Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America — but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today’s racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.
An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #meandwhitesupremacy, she never predicted it would become a cultural movement. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviors, big and small. She was looking for truth, and she got it… Thousands of people participated in the challenge, and over 80,000 people downloaded the supporting work Me and White Supremacy.
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Fiction)
Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage–and lost his mother and all memory of her when he was a child–but he is also gifted with a mysterious power. Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but is saved from the depths by a force he doesn’t understand, a blue light that lifts him up and lands him a mile away. This strange brush with death forces a new urgency on Hiram’s private rebellion.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Fiction)
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.
One Book | One Minnesota
For more information about One Book, One Minnesota, visit the link to the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library website above. This website includes more information about the books chosen, as well as a statement from the group explaining their choices.
This list (while in no way comprehensive) includes children’s, middle grade, and young adult titles that feature diverse characters. We encourage you to ask a librarian if you need help finding materials.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historical struggle to secure voting rights for all people. A dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1964.
A powerful and thought-provoking true story follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley. One of his first and most incendiary cases is that of Walter McMillian.
Starr Carter navigates the perilous waters between her poor, black neighborhood and her prestigious, mainly white private school. This all changes when she finds herself in the middle of racial activism after her best friend is shot by police officers, and she’s forced to make a decision. Allow the media to skewer her friend to protect the status quo, or stand up and tell the truth in memory of Khalil?