Vibrant Pittsburgh’s Diversity Reading List

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Looking for your next read or books to give your friends and family? Vibrant Pittsburgh presents our first Holiday Reading List (which is now being continued and expanded), full of classics both new and old that help to spread understanding about the wonderful diverse communities within our city and country. Book selections range from many genres of fiction to business and management with everything in between, and ages 0 and up are represented here! As you do your holiday book shopping, please consider using amazon.com. Vibrant Pittsburgh benefits from a program called “Amazon Smile” – VP receives a small percentage of the proceeds of each purchase. Just click on the link below and sign in to your Amazon account and then shop away! Amazon takes care of the rest.

http://smile.amazon.com/ch/20-2939474

 

ADULT NONFICTION

Sociology and Civic Issues

  • Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild (ISBN: 1620972255)
    • This sociological exploration of America seeks out and discusses the feelings and rationale of the conservative right. Hochschild quickly finds understanding and common ground, and this book can help answer questions by those confused by recent election results.
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (ISBN: 0812993543)
    • Coates writes this powerful memoir as a letter to his son about what it means to be a black man in America. This is a wonderful read for everyone.
  • The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andres Resendez (ISBN: 0547640986)
    • The United States government has inflicted many atrocities on the native people of this country throughout history, but even before the Declaration of Independence was signed, native Americans were being forced from their homes and sold as slaves to places in the Caribbean despite it being illegal. Resendez sheds light on this horrible national secret and how people, both white and native, participated.
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin James (ISBN: 067974472X)
    • Baldwin gave a strong voice to the Civil Rights Movement as it emerged. This personal and stirring work takes the form of two letters from Baldwin calling for the people of America to stand together and fight against the historic and damaging history of racism in our culture. Written over 50 years ago, Baldwin’s message and call to action is still urgently relevant.
  • Becoming Nicole: The transformation of an American family by Amy Ellis Nutt (ISBN13: 9780812995411)
    • For the conservative Maines family, hearing their son Wyatt insist that he is actually a girl was a shock. The family struggled to understand, learn, and ultimately accept her for who she truly is: Nicole. Instead of a family in ruins, Becoming Nicole shows a family that grows closer and fights for each other, their trans daughter, and the rights of trans people everywhere.
  • On Intersectionality: Essential Writings by Kimberle Crenshaw (ISBN: 1595587047)
    • In this collection of Crenshaw’s works, she explains the concept of intersectionality and give us all tools for living our lives with greater awareness and understanding around discrimination and exclusion that has ingrained itself deep in our society, even (or especially) within our social justice movements.
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (ISBN: 1595581030)
    • The racial class system still exists in America, and it has been transformed by the justice and prison systems. Alexander, former litigator and current legal scholar, sheds light on the targeting and discriminatory behaviors shown toward communities of color that have resulted in so many people of color, specifically black men, being put behind bars.
  • The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman (ISBN: 0062230646)
    • Working women are well educated and well qualified, but men still dominate the corporate world. Confidence can help close that gap and push women further in their career. Building from research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition, authors Kay and Shipman offer a guide to women on how to learn, achieve, and build their confidence and leverage that in their careers to reach their goals.

Diversity in the Workplace

  • Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (ISBN: 0062363603)
    • Is anyone else excited for the new Taraji P. Henson-lead film Hidden Figures? We know you are. Prepare for this incredibly story on the big screen by reading about the incredible women of color who brought their brilliance to NASA to lead America to success, despite the challenges they faced as black women.The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians by Jane Hyun (ISBN: 0060731222)
    • Executive coach Jane Hyuan examines the stereotypes and realities facing Asian Americans in the workforce. The struggle between traditional Asian values and Western corporate culture is explored with anecdotes, and case studies, and Hyuan discusses effective solutions for diverse work environments. This book is excellent for both Asian Americans looking to advance their careers and managers working toward creating a more inclusive environment.
  • The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich (ISBN: 161039173X)
    • In a time where the issue of equality in the workplace is still a fraught one, read about the historic actions taken by Lynn Povich and her women coworkers who worked at Newsweek against their male bosses in order to receive equal treatment in their company.
  • Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity by Ella L.J. Edmondson Bell, Stella M. Nkomo (ISBN: 159139183X)
    • “Explores the surprising differences between black and white women’s trials and triumphs on their way up the executive ladder. Based on research that spanned eight years, this work compares and contrasts the experiences of 120 black and white female managers in the American business arena.” – Taken from Goodreads
  • The Inclusion Paradox: The Post-Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity by Andres T. Tapia (ISBN: 0989098001)
    • In the past decade we have entered into an increasingly diverse world both in and outside the workplace. Tapia looks at how this has changed and continues to change policy agendas, marketplace penetration, and workforce management. New research and facts are presented, explained, and applied to future situations to help professionals prepare for success in the future within our diverse world.

ADULT FICTION

  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (ISBN: 0807083690)
    • This ground-breaking science fiction/fantasy novel follows Dana, a young African American woman in 1970s California is suddenly pulled back in time to antebellum Maryland where her experiences there as a fish-out-of-water are incredibly dangerous. She soon realizes, as she is pulled back and forth through time, that she is being sent back to protect her own family line.
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (ISBN: 0385542364)
    • A recent Oprah Bookclub pick, Railroad brings readers on young Cora’s allegorical journey up from Georgia and through the south to freedom on a literal train powered by conductors and engineers. Each stop offers new and different dangers for Cora and her fellow passengers. Examining slavery and the Underground Railroad from such a unique perspective allows for more nuanced truths to be expressed.
  • Infomocracy by Malka Older (ISBN: 0765385155)
    • In a world where a powerful search engine company has control over politics and the fate of governments, a group of people stare down the barrel of another terrifying election.
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (ISBN: 0061054887)
    • The first installment of Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle follows Shevek, a scientist who embarks on a daring battle against hatred and isolationism to invoke a lasting change for the better.
  • The White Tiger: A Novel by Aravind Adiga (ISBN: 1416562591)
    • Balram Halwai (the white tiger in question) uses his ambition and will to pull himself from poverty in an Indian village to the top of the Bangalore business world. When the president of China decides to visit Bangalore, Balram decides in turn to reach out to him about his life experiences.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (ISBN: 038549081X)
    • America has been ravaged by nuclear war, and most women are barren. Offred is one of the Handmaid’s: women who can conceive and act as breeders for wealthy and important families. In this world, women are no longer aloud to read, have friends, or exercise any independence at all. What is most unsettling are the flashbacks to right before the societal change, before the Republic of Gilead, when things appeared to still be normal.
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (ISBN: 0618101365)
    • This beautiful and award winning collection of short stories traverses the lives of Indians and Americans of Indian decent as they navigate painful moments in their lives. With these characters, Lahiri communicates universal truths and experiences that are felt by all.
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (ISBN: 0007491565)
    • A fireman’s job is simple: you burn books. Books are dangerous and cause much unhappiness and pain in the world (unlike television), and so men like Guy Montag hold the job of destroying them. Those who read and harbor books are dangerous too, but when a young neighbor opens his eyes to the magic of ideas hidden in books, Guy can no longer come to terms with his job or his society.
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith (ISBN: 0375703861)
    • Archie and Samad, an unlikely pair of best friends living in North London, navigate the difficult world they live in and their equally difficult yet unique families in this beautiful novel about diversity, struggle, and family in modern London.
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (ISBN: 0385474547)
    • The first in a trilogy, Things follows two stories about the same man, Okonkwo, who lives in Ibo, a village in Nigeria. Okonkwo’s life falls apart in the first story, as he is torn from his respected place in society. The second breaks Okonkwo’s world open as proselytizing European missionaries arrive.
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (ISBN: 0679457313)
    • In 1969 Kerala, twins Esthappen and Rahel enjoy their childhood with their mother and extended family, but when their cousin visits from England for Christmas, their lives turn upside-down.

TEEN

  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender teens speak out by Susan Kuklin (ISBN: 0763656119)
    • Hear the powerful stories of six trans teens about their moments of realization, coming out to family and friends, struggling with external and internal challenges, and triumphing despite them. Pictures of the teens accompany their personal stories.
  • Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet (ISBN: 1617752762)
    • Global warming has taken its toll on the planet, and very few humans live comfortably anymore. A new system has been put in place which is controlled by companies. Siblings Nat and Sam start to see cracks in the carefully constructed system around them, and they decide to rebel.
  • Flight by Sherman Alexi (ISBN: 0802170374)
    • Follow a young, cast-off Native American boy as he travels through time to visit historical moments like the Civil Rights Movement and the battle at Little Bighorn and learns that violence and anger are not the way to healing.
  • House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle (ISBN: 1935955241)
    • Readers follow Rose, a young Choctaw girl, as she takes readers through the racism and injustice done toward her people in Oklahoma in the 1800s
  • Sally Heathcote, Suffragette by Mary M. Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, Bryan Talbot (ISBN: 0224097865)
    • This graphic novel follows a fictional woman in England who takes up with the Suffragette movement in the early 1900s and exposes the reader to the very violent and extreme treatment these brave women underwent during the fight for equality. They suffered beatings, arrests, force-feeding, death, but eventually gained the vote.
  • Mosquitoland by David Arnold (ISBN: 045147077X)
    • Mim Malone is up-rooted, taken away from her mother, and dealing with medications and diagnoses. One day she just can’t take it anymore and hops on a bus back to her mother’s side, but her voyage home becomes a voyage of self-confrontation and discovery.
  •  I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Dephine Mainoui (ISBN-13: 9780307589675)
    • “For more mature readers, this unforgettable autobiography tells the true story of Nujood Ali, a ten-year-old Yemeni girl married off at a young age, who decides to resist her abusive husband and get a divorce. A moving tale of tragedy, triumph, and courage, Nujood’s brave defiance has inspired generations of women and young girls.” – Barnes and Noble

ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE GRADE

  • March Trilogy by John Lewis (ISBN: 1603093001)
    • This series of graphic novels for middle grade and teens focuses on the Civil Rights movement and Congressman John Lewis’ experiences during the fight for equality.
  • Yes! We Are Latinos: Poems and Prose about the Latino Experience by Alma Flor Ada, F. Isabel Campoy, David Diaz (ISBN: 158089383X)
    • (Gr. 4-8) Learn about Latinos in America with this beautiful book of poems and short writing.
  • George by Alex Gino (ISBN: 0545812542)
    • (Gr. 4-6) George is a girl. She knows she a girl, but everyone sees a boy when they look at her. She hopes that if she can play Charlotte in the school’s Charlotte’s Web play, she will finally be able to live as herself in the open in front of her family.
  • Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told by Walter Dean Myers (ISBN: 006027705X)
    • (Gr. 3-6) Ida B. Wells was a journalist and activist who fought for equal rights for women and against the horrible crime of lynching throughout the United States in the early 1900s. An incredibly writer and leader, Wells was a founding member of the NAACP and gave voice to populations that could not.
  • Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh (ISBN: 1419710540)
    • (Gr. 2-5) This beautifully illustrated picture book will teach both children and parents about the historic Mendez v. Westminster desegregation case that took place in California before Brown v. Board of Education.
  • Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan (ISBN: 0811860620)
    • (Gr. 2-4) This book follows 7-year-old Pakistani-American Yasmeen as she celebrates Ramadan. This book and its beautiful illustrations helps to educate readers about modern Islamic practices.
  • Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez (ISBN-13: 9780375851230)
    • (Gr. 3-6) “After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family hires migrant workers from Mexico to save his Vermont farm. Tyler bonds with one of the worker’s daughters and navigates complicated moral choices in this award-winning novel about friendship, cooperation, and understandings.” – Barnes and Noble
  • Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French (ISBN-13: 9780810997202)
    • (Gr. 2-6) “When Julian is sent to stay with his disinterested aunt and uncle for four months, he discovers that his Uncle’s corporation plans to cut down a group of redwood trees at Big Tree Grove and decides to take a stand to save the trees. Perfect for the young environmentalists in your life, Operation Redwood is an adventurous and gripping tale as Julian and his friends hatch scheme after scheme to save these giants of nature.” – Barnes and Noble
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia (ISBN-13: 9780060760908)
    • (Gr. 3-6) “Set against the backdrop of the Black Panther movement, Delphine and her sisters visit their estranged mother in California, attend a Black Panther day camp, and discover their mother’s dedication to social justice issues. A moving, funny novel with a captivating voice, the sisters learn about their family and their country during one truly crazy summer.” – Barnes and Noble
  • A Little Piece of Ground by Elizabeth Laird (ISBN-13: 9781931859387)
    • (Gr. 3-6) “Living in occupied Palestine, twelve-year-old Karim is trapped in his home by a strict curfew. Wanting to play football with his friends, he decides to clear a rocky plot of land for a soccer field. When Karim is found outside during the next curfew, tensions rise, and his survival is at stake.” – Barnes and Noble
  • Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper (ISBN-13: 9781442494985)
    • (Gr. 3-7) “Stella lives in the segregated south in 1932. Out, late one night, wandering around, Stella and her brother witness a Klu Klux Klan activity, starting an unwelcome chain of events in her otherwise sleepy town. With a compelling and courageous voice, Stella tells the story of how she and her community ban together against racism and injustice.” – Barnes and Noble
  • The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (ISBN-13: 9780888999597)
    • (Gr. 6-9) “This series follows 11-year-old Parvana, who lives under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. When her father is arrested and her family is left without someone who can work or even shop for food, Parvana, forbidden to earn money as a girl, disguises herself as a boy to help her family survive. The Breadwinner is an empowering tale with a sharp and brave heroine.” – Barnes and Noble

CHILDREN

  • Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon Coloring Book (Reach and Teach) by Jacinta Bunnell (ISBN: 1604863293)
    • Help teach kids about the LGBTQ community with this fun coloring book!
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson (ISBN: 0399257748)
    • (K-Gr. 2) During a bus ride across town, CJ asks his grandma many questions about the people he sees, the neighborhoods they travel through, and why they do certain things. His grandma in turn teaches him about being a part of a community and the importance of giving back.
  • Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins (ISBN: 0689711379)
    • (Ages 2-8 years) Help children learn how to navigate scary changes with this wordless picture book about a little wooden couple living in a wooden block house.
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (ISBN: 0689878451)
    • (PreSchool-Gr. 3) Tango lives in the Central Park Zoo with his two dads, Roy and Silo. Based on a true story about Roy and Silo’s desire to have a family of their own and how a zookeeper helped them create one, this charming picture book can help children understand that their friends might have two dads or two moms, and that is just fine!