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Race & Social Equity Resources

Race & Justice Resources

The Chatham Area Public Library believes that public libraries, as trusted institutions grounded in values including but not limited to democracy, social responsibility, and the public good, play an important role in acknowledging and addressing systemic racism and the advancement of social equity. We recognize that, as the Illinois Library Association points out, a “statement without action is empty” and that our work must be ongoing. As part of this journey, our Board of Trustees at the January 18, 2021 meeting, approved our signing onto the Urban Libraries Council Statement on Race and Social Equity whose bullet points will act as guideposts for decisions as we move forward. 

The work toward racial justice and the advancement of equity for all can start with a book, an article, a film, or an idea. We have curated the following list of resources available to you through our catalog and beyond as your exploration and action around race, justice, and equity progresses.

Recommended Resources

Race and Social Equity Resource Guide

film discussion kits OPEN. VIEW. EXPLORE.

Through our Film Discussion Kits, the Library hopes to support the community in exploring and discussing various social justice topics through documentary film viewings. Documentaries can bring issues and ideas nearer to their viewers, and discussions provide the opportunity to engage and connect with others around important issues.

Each Kit contains a DVD and discussion guide with questions, watch-alikes, and space for note taking.   To read more about them check out our Library of Things page.  

Adult Books

Orange, red, and yellow flames with a small black train at the bottom

 by Megha Majumdar

An attack on a train leaves 104 people dead. Jivan is a bright woman from the slums. She is wrongly accused of planning the attack when she makes a careless comment on Facebook. Lovely can provide the alibi that will set Jivan free, but her appearance in court has unexpected consequences. A story about the corrosive media cycle that creates falsehoods that masquerade as truth.

Libby -- E-audiobook

A large orange title on a dark dot background

The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang

When Big Leo, the owner of Fine Chao restaurant is found dead--presumed murdered, his three sons are reunited and fall under suspicion of the town and police, and must reckon with the legacy of their father's outsized appetites and own future survival.

Libby -- E-book

a good neighbor hood book cover

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Fowler

The single mother of a mixed-race college student and a thriving business owner with a troubled daughter clash over a historic oak tree on their property line and the blossoming romance between their children.

Hoopla -- E-audiobook

black cake book cover

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Two estranged siblings must set aside their differences to deal with their mother's death and her hidden past -- a journey of discovery that takes them from the Caribbean to London to California and ends with her famous black cake.

Libby -- E-book | E-audiobook

a young, light-skinned Black woman looking out

Honey Girl  by Morgan Rogers

After completing her Ph.D. in astronomy, Grace Porter, a young, straightlaced, Type A personality, black woman goes on a girls' weekend to Vegas to celebrate where she gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn't even know.

Libby -- E-book | Hoopla -- E-book | E-Audiobook

a feather that turns into birds over the book title

Our Missing Hearts: a novel by Celeste Ng

From the number one bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere, a deeply suspenseful and heartrending novel about the unbreakable love between a mother and child in a society consumed by fear.

Libby -- E-book | E-audiobook

a silhouette of a young boy with a backpack filled in with a beautiful landscape including a barbed wire fence

Solito: a memoir  by Javier Zamora

A young poet reflects on his 3,000-mile journey from El Salvador to the United States when he was nine years old, during which he was faced with perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions during two life-altering months alongside a group of strangers who became an unexpected family.

Libby-- E-book | E-book en español

a pink wall with a mysterious doorway

The School for Good Mothers: a novel by Jessamine Chan

After one moment of poor judgment involving her daughter Harriet, Frida Liu falls victim to a host of government officials who will determine if she is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.

Libby -- E-book

a young woman in a gown on a staircase holding a book

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

Audiobook CD

Hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library, Belle de Costa Greene becomes one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she keeps.

Libby -- E-book | E-audiobook

bad muslim book cover

The Bad Muslim Discount: a novel by Syed M. Masood

A homesick Pakistani immigrant chafing against the strictures of his family's new devout Muslim life in California and a young woman who barely escaped war-torn Baghdad upend their community in the aftermath of a fateful chance encounter.

mexican gothic book cover

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

A reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion.

Libby -- E-book | E-audiobook

dont cry book cover

Don't Cry for Me: a novel by Daniel Black

As Jacob lies dying, he begins to write a letter to his only son, Isaac. But most of all, Jacob must share with Isaac the unspoken truths that reside in his heart. He must give voice to the trauma that Isaac has inherited. And he must create a space for the two to find peace.

Hoopla -- E-book | E-audiobook | Libby -- E-book

Looking for additional books? Click here to access the Adult Race and Justice book archive.

Teen Books

last night book cover

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father--despite his hard-won citizenship--Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

Libby:  audiobook

grown book cover

Grown: a Novel by Tiffany D. Jackson

When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields? Before there was a dead body, Enchanted's dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey's charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he's dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted.

hoopla:  ebook, audiobook

Libby:  ebook

furia book cover

Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez

Seventeen-year-old Camila Hassan, a rising soccer star in Rosario, Argentina, dreams of playing professionally, in defiance of her fathers wishes and at the risk of her budding romance with Diego.

Libby:  audiobook, ebook

elatsoe book cover

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Seventeen-year-old Elatsoe, "Ellie," can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. The picture-perfect façade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.

hoopla:  audiobook, ebook

ain't burned book cover

Ain't Burned Up All the Bright by Jason Reynolds

A smash up of art and text that viscerally captures what it means to not be able to breathe, and how the people and things you love most are actually the oxygen you most need.

one true book cover

One True Loves by Elise Bryant

While on a post-graduation Mediterranean cruise with her family, Lenore Bennett meets a hopeless romantic with a ten-year plan who helps her find something she's been looking for -- love.

a Teen girl in a purple hoodie, wearing braids and gold hoop earrings is in the foreground.  Behind her is the silhouette of a bridge and a large yellow moon.

Vinyl Moon by Mahogany L. Browne

When Darius told Angel he loved her, she believed him. But five weeks after the incident, Angel finds herself in Brooklyn, far from her family, from him, and from the California life she has known. Angel feels out of sync with her new neighborhood. The only place that makes sense is Ms. G's class. There, Angel's classmates share their own stories of pain, joy, and fortitude. And as Angel becomes immersed in her revolutionary literature course, the words from novels like The Bluest Eye and Push speak to her and begin to heal the wounds of her past.

skin of the sea book cover

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Transformed by the goddess Yemoja into a Mami Wati, an African mermaid charged with collecting the souls of those who die at sea, Simi goes against the gods to save a living boy, Kola, from drowning.

Libby -- eBook

Living beyond borders book cover

Living Beyond Borders:  Growing Up Mexican In America edited by Margarita Longoria

An anthology of short stories, essays, poetry, and comics about the Mexican American experience.

Huda F are You? by Huda Fahmy, author of Yes, I'm hot in this; a close up of a cartoon young woman with glasses in a hijab imposed over a background of a crowded school hallway

Huda F Are You? by Huda Fahmy

Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl.  Huda is lost in a sea of hijabis, and she can't rely on her hijab to define her anymore.

black was the ink book cover

Black Was the Ink by Michelle Coles

Despondent sixteen-year-old Malcolm finds new strength and courage as he is transported between his family's modern-day Mississippi farm and the life of his ancestor Cedric Johnson, a congressional aide in post-Civil War America.

Putting Peace First:  Seven Commitments to Change the World by Eric David Dawson; Cover art shows a young person painting the continents on what appears to be a brick wall

Putting Peace First:  Seven Commitments to Change the World by Eric David Dawson

Includes seven strategies that children can use to make an impact in their communities and promote peace and tolerance.

Looking for additional books? Click here to access the Young Adult Race and Justice Book Archive.

Juvenile Books

A woman sits in a wheelchair with two prosthetic legs in the foreground; a crowd is in the background.

A Life of Service:  The Story of Senator Tammy Duckworth by Christina Soontornvat

Discover the inspirational and barrier breaking life of Senator Tammy Duckworth in the this tribute to an extraordinary woman.

Hoopla:  audiobook

a yellowish-white bird is shown in profile against a red and orange background

The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

Young Kofi lives and dreams on the banks of the river Offin. It is in the river that he feels invicible and where he thinks he can finally prove himself in a race against his schoolyard rival. But the river also holds dark secrets that Kofi will soon discover.

A black boy stands in the foreground, with 4 well known Black men in the background

Black Boy, Black Boy: Celebrate the Power of You by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond

Illustrations and rhyming text encourage Black boys to learn about the accomplishments of famous men in Black history and then forge their own paths. The last two pages provide information on the accomplishments of the eight men mentioned in the book.

hoopla:  ebook

A boy holding  a large pot is flanked by two children a boy and a girl.

Bilal Cooks Daal by Anoosha Syed

Bilal and his father invite his friends to help make his favorite dish, daal, then all must wait patiently for it to be done.

A girl with her arms crossed stands in front of a taped up poster with the book title on it

Susie B. Won't Back Down by Margaret Finnegan

Roll with It meets Absolutely Normal Chaos in this funny, big-hearted novel about a young girl’s campaign for student council president, told through letters to her hero Susan B. Anthony.

An older Black woman with short purple hair holds a handful of beets and a platter of meat; next to her a broadly smiling Black boy grates cheese

Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham

Granny teaches her young grandson how to cook the family meal, in this celebration of food, traditions, and gathering together at the table. Includes recipe for baked macaroni and cheese.

Hoopla:  Movie | audiobook | E-book

A crowded daladala bus is crowded with people, chickens, goats, baskets and more.

Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan

Musa and his sister travel to a Zanzibar beach in a shared minibus which, despite Musa's protests, gets loaded with everything from a man and his bicycle to ten swimmers.

the silhouette of a Black boy against a medium blue background with light blue stars around his head

Mighty Inside by Sundee T. Frazier

Melvin Robinson wants a strong, smooth, He-Man voice that lets him say what he wants, when he wants-especially to his crush Millie Takazawa, and Gary Ratliff, who constantly puts him down. But the thought of starting high school is only making his stutter worse. And Melvin's growing awareness that racism is everywhere-not just in the South where a boy his age has been brutally killed by two white men, but also in his own hometown of Spokane-is making him realize that he can't mutely stand by. His new friend Lenny, a fast-talking, sax-playing Jewish boy, who lives above the town's infamous (and segregated) Harlem Club, encourages Melvin to take some risks-to invite Millie to Homecoming and even audition for a local TV variety show. When they play music together, Melvin almost feels like he's talking, no words required. But there are times when one needs to speak up.

A Black boy and a white Girl stand back to back on newspaper looking concerned

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story of Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano

Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one White, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children's questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.

Hoopla -- Audiobook

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera, cover art is a stylized orange and royal blue woodcut appearing image of a young woman's face close up.

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita.  But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.  Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet – and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard – or purged them altogether. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again?

Hoopla --  Ebook

Looking for additional books? Click here to access the Juvenile Race and Justice Book archive.