10 Anti-Racism Professional Development Books for Teachers

A reading list for thinking about racial bias in schools.

Creating learning environments in which every child can flourish, especially in regard to self-confidence and academic success, is a challenge on the best of days. Many educators already grappled with this during quarantine. Now it is even more pressing with weeks of protests addressing the stark racial disparities that continue to exist in terms of criminal prosecution, health care access, and pay equity in the U.S.

So, where do we start? The following reading list of anti-racism professional development books helps us begin addressing unconscious and implicit bias in classroom materials and lesson plans.

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1. What Is It About Me You Can′t Teach? by Eleanor Renee Rodriguez, James A. Bellanca, and Deborah Rosalea Esparza

Solid advice for teachers wanting to become better advocates for children of color who are also neurodivergent or living with another physical or cognitive disability.

2. Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning  by Sharroky Hollie

Written for those who teach first through twelfth grade, this text provides a plethora of strategies and resources for addressing the students’ varying cultural needs in an educational setting.

3. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y’all Too  by Christopher Emdin

A road map for those teaching in inner-city schools on how to better relate to their students, in addition to the urban communities they work within.

4. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Delve into the psychology behind why so many tweens and teens opt to “self-segregate” in racial cliques. It also includes what educators can to truly foster inclusive, social dynamics on school grounds.

5. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

A “how-to guide” on initiating complex discussions related to social justice topics such as anti-racism, white privilege, and police brutality.

6. Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom by Matthew R. Kay

A useful book for administrators seeking effective ways to transform their schools into more equitable, safe spaces in which all kids can thrive.

7.  We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Bettina Love

A good read for educators aware of systemic issues within their school districts which put students of color at a significant disadvantage in reaching benchmarks and achieving academic goals.

8. Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris

This sociological highlights the alarmingly high rates that Black girls are being ignored and villainized. Follows girls as young as elementary-age to high school youths.

9. Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School by Carla Shalaby

One teacher instructively profiles four students subjected to punishment, medication, and numerous other unnecessary inventions within educational settings more conducive to oppression rather than leading them forward.

10. The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys by Ali Michael (Editor), Eddie Moore (Editor) and Marguerite W. Penick-Parks

Pro tips for white teachers to recognize, then push past, internal barriers to engage with the population of their students’ that likely encounters the most negative stigmatization.

What are your favorite anti-racism professional development books for teachers? Share in the comments below.

Plus 15 Books About Racial Justice for Kids.

10 Anti-Racism Professional Development Books for Teachers

Posted by Rachel Werner

Rachel Werner is the Content Marketing Specialist for Taliesin Preservation; guest faculty at The Loft Literary Center & Hugo House; a We Need Diverse Books program volunteer; and a book reviewer for Shelf Awareness. Her work has previously appeared in Fabulous Wisconsin, BLK+GRN, BRAVA, Madison Magazine, Entrepreneurial Chef and Hobby Farms Magazine. Connect with her on Instagram @therealscript.

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