10 Quarantine Reads for Rooting in Transformative Existence

Presenting the most absorbing, engaging, and impactful books we are clutching to during this time.



As we meander through another week of quarantine, working remotely, checking in on friends virtually, and navigating this new difficult, uncertain terrain we decided to bring you a reading list that guides our work gripping enough to lose yourself in and, hopefully, find promise in as a reminder that with time, this too shall pass.

1. Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America // Ibram X. Kendi

An award-winning book that details the history of how racist ideas were created and sustained and pushes us to understand the extent to which racism has been entrenched within the fabric of American society.


2. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism // Robin J. DiAngelo

DiAngelo brings us a necessary book that explores the notion of white fragility as marked by defensiveness and discomfort when discussing racism that has allowed racial inequalities to persist.


3. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness // Michelle Alexander

A harrowing analysis of the criminal justice system and mass incarceration with a necessary critique of the prison industrial complex that has disproportionately marginalized and disenfranchised black and brown Americans.


4. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption // Bryan Stevenson

As a recent major motion picture of the same name, this tells the powerful, poignant true-story of Bryan Stevenson as an aspiring lawyer committed to fixing our broken system of justice and the possibility for mercy to forever alter our lives when we least expect it.


5. Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race // Beverly Daniel Tatum

Originally published in 1997, this latest edition urges all of us to have the difficult, yet inexorable conversations that must take place to allow us to move forward in pursuit of racial equity and justice in America.


6. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America // Richard Rothstein

A formidable, yet fascinating novel that provides insight into how segregation in America has been legally crafted and maintained through policies at the local, state, and federal levels.


7. How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide // Crystal Marie Fleming

A distinctive outlook on the issues inherent in the “national conversation about race” and what needs to be done about it.


8. From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America // Elizabeth Hinton

A disturbing book that explores the rise of mass incarceration in America linked to policies enacted that fostered inequality and caused prolonged economic inopportunity for black and brown Americans.


9. So You Want to Talk About Race // Ijeoma Oluo

An essential book that examines race in America by guiding us through many subjects that relate to the issue of race.


10. Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color // Andrea Ritchie

A deeply disturbing examination of how Black women and women of color experience police violence by making visible the issues of racial profiling, mass incarceration, immigration, and policing.


Are you interested in growing your library? Do you want to deep dive into the literature that inspires Transformative Teach? We are now an Affiliate with Bookshop - an online bookstore committed to conveniently getting you your books AND financially supporting local & independent bookstores. Visit our Affiliate Page to access this list! When you purchase through Bookshop, Transformative Teach receives rewards that allow us to share our book recommendations and resources with educators and our school partners.

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