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In August 2017, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) released its Social Justice Book List, containing over 200 titles spanning all levels of education. Over sixty educators hand-selected these books, nominating those that they have successfully used in the classroom to teach social justice skills and concepts to their students. We are proud to report that over a quarter of the books that appear on the list are published by Penguin Random House. Click here for a compilation of all PRH titles featured on NNSTOY’s list. (more…)

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9780812993547Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book-length essay on race in America presented as a letter to his teenage son, is one of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) selections for their Social Justice Book List. Abdul Wright, the 2017 Minnesota State Teacher of the Year and NNSTOY member, explains why this book was chosen:

In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s portrayal of the African American story is an explicit and compellingly sincere narrative on what it means to be an African American male in American society.

The book is a letter to his Black son, and Coates is unabashed in his pride for him in this work that serves as both advice and warning to him. “The entire narrative of this country argues against the truth of who you are,” he writes. (more…)

9780805210156 I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a collection of drawings and poems made by the children held at the Terezin Concentration Camp from 1942 to 1944, is one of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) selections for their Social Justice Book List. Katherine Bassett, the CEO and President of NNSTOY and 2000 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year, writes on her own experience of sharing the book with her middle school students:

As a librarian I have long been struck by the power of books. Books can fill us with joy, bring us to tears, move us to action. Some books change the way we look at the world.

A book that profoundly changed me and many of my students is I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from the Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944, edited by Hana Volavkova. (more…)

Bryan Stevenson -- credit Nina SubinBy Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Spiegel & Grau, October 2014)

My grandmother was the daughter of people who were enslaved in Caroline County, Virginia. She was born in the 1880s, her parents in the 1840s, and the legacy of slavery very much shaped her and the things she would say to me. When I visited my grandmother, she would hug me so tightly I could barely breathe. After a little while, she would ask me, “Bryan, do you still feel me hugging you?” If I said yes, she’d let me be; if I said no, she would assault me again. I said no a lot because it made me happy to be wrapped in her formidable arms. She never tired of pulling me to her. “You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance, Bryan. You have to get close,” she told me all the time. (more…)