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Join us in a Week of Service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Dear Arlington friends and neighbors,

Please join us in our Week of Service activities this January 11th through 18th.

Here are a few titles that you might enjoy reading in honor of MLK Day (all descriptions come from Age ranges are suggested, but adult discretion is always recommended.

Books are available from the Arlington Public Libraries, or for purchase at the Book Rack, our local book store, or Frugal Bookstore, a black-owned store in Roxbury.

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi - “Take your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby's nine easy steps for building a more equitable world. With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism.” (For babies and toddlers.)

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara - “A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children.” (For babies and toddlers.)

Woke Baby by Mahogany Browne - “Woke babies are up early. Woke babies raise their fists in the air. Woke babies cry out for justice. Woke babies grow up to change the world. Woke Baby is an anthem of hope in a world.” (For babies and toddlers.)

Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy (Author) and Ekua Holmes (Illustrator) - “A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.” (For children.)

The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez (Author), Lauren Semmer (Illustrator)- “It’s an ABC book like no other, and a story of hope and love. Celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy. It’s a story of big ideas––P is for Power, S is for Science and Soul. Of significant moments––G is for Great Migration. Of iconic figures––H is for Zora Neale Hurston, X is for Malcom X. In addition to rhyming text, the book includes back matter with information on the events, places, and people mentioned in the poem, from Mae Jemison to W. E. B. Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer to Sam Cooke, and the Little Rock Nine to DJ Kool Herc.” (For children.)

Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters (Authors) and Mehrdokht Amini (Illustrator) - “How can we make the world a better place? This inspiring resource for middle-grade readers is organized as a dictionary; each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect. For each word, there is a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a "try it" prompt for an activity. (For elementary and middle grade readers.)

Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany Browne, et. al A collection of poems to inspire kids to stay woke and become a new generation of activists. Reflecting the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to speaking out. With Theodore Taylor’s bright, emotional art, and writing from Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood, kids will be inspired to create their own art and poems to express how they see justice and injustice.” (For elementary and middle grade readers.)

The Talk: Conversations about Race, Love and Truth by Cheryl and Willis Hudson - “Thirty diverse, award-winning authors and illustrators invite you into their homes to witness the conversations they have with their children about race in America today in this powerful call-to-action that invites all families to be anti-racists and advocates for change. The Talk is a stirring anthology.” (For middle grade readers and the adults in their lives.)

Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It - Andrea and Brian Pinkney - “Through an evocative mix of fictional first-person narratives, spoken-word poems, folk myths, gospel rhythms and blues influences, Loretta Little Looks Back weaves an immersive tapestry that illuminates the dignity of sharecroppers in the rural South. Inspired by storytelling's oral tradition, stirring vignettes are presented in a series of theatrical monologues that paint a gripping, multidimensional portrait of America's struggle for civil rights as seen through the eyes of the children who lived it.” (For middle grade readers.)

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds - “Reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited. Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas--and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.” The audio book is amazing too. (For middle grade, young adult, and adult readers too.)

Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne - “Tells the important, overlooked story of black women as a force in the suffrage movement--when fellow suffragists did not accept them as equal partners in the struggle. This is the empowering story of African American women who refused to accept all this.(For middle grade, young adult, and adult readers too.)

Just Mercy: A True Story of the Fight for Justice (Young Adult edition) by Bryan Stevenson - “In this very personal work, acclaimed lawyer and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson offers a glimpse into the lives of the wrongfully imprisoned and his efforts to fight for their freedom. His story is one of working to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society--the poor, the wrongly convicted, and those whose lives have been marked by discrimination and marginalization.” (For young adult and adult readers too.)

This Is My America by Kim Johnson - “The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting first novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.” (For young adult readers.)

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam - “With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell in a moving and deeply profound novel how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth in a system designed to strip him of both.” (For young adult readers.)

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Story of Black Lives Matter and the Power to Change the World (Young Adult edition) by Patrisse Khan-Cullors - “In this title that is part memoir, part call to action, Black Lives Matter (BLM) cofounder Khan-Cullors describes growing up as a young Black girl in a multiracial community in Van Nuys, CA. The first chapters chronicle Khan-Cullors's family story and her childhood. The last chapters focus on the civil rights movement. This book is more than the origin story of BLM and more than Khan-Cullors's revolutionary journey. She creates space for difficult thoughts and conversations to begin with reader questions and recommended reading.” (For young adult and adult readers too.)


Arlington values equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are committed to building a community where everyone is heard, respected, and protected.

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Phone: 781-316-3250

By Mail: 27 Maple Street

Arlington, MA 02476


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