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Demand For Anti-Racist Books Is Rising At Dallas Libraries


by Miguel Perez 5 Jun 2020

Libraries in Dallas have seen a recent uptick in requests for books with anti-racist themes.

In the last two weeks, the Dallas Public Library system has seen a 214% increase in the circulation of titles exploring everything from racism and Black feminism to police brutality and the criminal justice system.

That trend only applies to e-books and audio books. Libraries will begin checking out physical items via curbside service on June 9. 

Shannon Adams is the manager of the Lancaster-Kiest branch in southern Dallas.

Shannon Adams is the manager of the Lancaster-Kiest Branch Library. She also helps write the Young Black Readers newsletter.

“With the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, those topics have been topics that people are trying to educate themselves on, realizing that it can be taxing for a person of color to be the educator,” Adams said.

The most hold requests are for “Just Mercy,” Bryan Stevenson’s account as a lawyer advocating for people who’ve been wrongfully convicted.

“White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo and “So You Want To Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo are also among the most popular e-books on hold.

“There are some challenging questions that some of these books are offering us to learn about ourselves,” Adams said. “There is absolutely no excuse for people to not have the information that they need to process, to learn, and then to act.”

Adams also helps write the Young Black Reader’s newsletter. It’s a list of recommended readings for kids and young adults featuring Black authors and voices.

“It was just important because we wanted definitely for the community to see that we see them, and we know our children need to see books that are reflective of them so that their confidence can be boosted,” she said.

You can subscribe to the YBR newsletter here.

Adams also shared a recommended reading list with KERA:

For Adults/Young Adults

  • White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White by Daniel Hill
  • ABC’s of Diversity: Helping Kids (and Ourselves) Embrace Our Differences by Carolyn Helsel and Y. Joy Harris-Smith
  • Dear Everybody: Admit There’s Hurt by Erica Wortherly
  • Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  • Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi
  • Stamped Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
  • This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewel
  • March Books 1, 2 and 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, et al
  • The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Fire From on High by Elizabeth Acevado

For Kindergarten through 6th grade 

  • Racism: Deal with it before it gets under your skin – a Lorimer Deal With It book series
  • Blended by Sharon Draper
  • Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz
  • Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson
  • For Black Girls like Me by Mariama J. Lockington
  • Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne
  • As I Love by Colleen Everglades Lewis
  • Something Happened in Our Town by Marietta Collins, Marianne Celano, et al (ages 4-8)
  • The Rabbit Listens by Cori Doerrfeld (ages 3-5)
  • Mama Did You Hear the News? by Sanya Gragg
  • The Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul
  • The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
  • We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson, Cheryl Hudson
  • A Kid’s Book About Racism by Jelani Memory
  • Resist by Veronica Chambers
  • Not my Idea by Anastasia Higginbotham (age 8-12)
  • All are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold (ages 3-5)

Got a tip? Email Miguel Perez at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter @quillindie.

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