Wolfner :: Recommended Readings :: Youth Bibliographies :: Youth Civil Rights Books

Youth Civil Rights Books

July 2014

To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail, or phone. You may also request these titles online through our OPAC. Identification numbers for braille books begin with BR, large print books begin with LP and audiobooks begin with DB or MDB. All DB audiobooks listed are linked to the Braille and Audio Reading Download site (BARD) for downloading. All MDB audio books listed are linked to WolfPAC.
Happy Reading!

Preschool to Grade 2  

We March by Shane Evans
LP 2220
Illustrations and brief text portray the events of the 1963 march in Washington, D.C., where the reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a historic speech. 2012

Kindergarten to Grade 3

Finding Lincoln by Ann Malaspina
LP 2130
Download Finding Lincoln, MDB11049
Read by Dan Deidrich. Reading time, 8 minutes.
In segregated 1950s Alabama, Louis cannot use the public library to research a class assignment, but one of the librarians lets him in after hours and helps him find the book that he needs. Includes an author's note with historical information about library segregation in the South. Show Me Award Nominees, 2011-2012. 2009.

My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King III
LP 2341
What was it like growing up as a son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? This picture book memoir provides insight into one of history's most fascinating families and into a special bond between father and son. Illustrated by AG Ford. 2013.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Download Sit-In, DB 78146
Greensboro, North Carolina; 1960. Recounts the historic protest led by four African American friends--David, Joseph, Franklin, and Ezell--who sat down at a Woolworth's "whites only" lunch counter to challenge the injustice of segregation. 2010.

Grades 2 to 4

I Am Rosa Parks by Rosa Parks
LP 1702
Famous activist describes her role in the civil rights movement. In 1955, fed up with unequal treatment, Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. Her arrest led to a yearlong boycott by blacks of Montgomery, Alabama, buses. Jim Haskins, joint author. 2001.

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Christine King Farris
BR 16360
Author fondly recalls childhood memories of her younger brother Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights activist. She describes their childhood games and pranks and upbringing in the segregated South. Shares inspirational family stories that influenced Dr. King's outlook. Print/braille. 2003.

Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson
BR 51580
Download Testing the Ice, MDB11050
Read by Dan Deidrich. Reading time: 14 minutes.
As a testament to his courage, Jackie Robinson's daughter shares memories of him, from his baseball career to the day he tests the ice for her, her brothers, and their friends. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson,. Print/braille by Wolfner Volunteers. Missouri: Show Me Award Nominees, 2011-2012. 2009.

Grades 3 to 6

Remember: The Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison
Download Remember, BR 15549
An account of the thoughts and feelings of children involved in school desegregation. Provides background to the 1954 groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision and the movement to eliminate racist laws. 2004.

What Was Your Dream, Dr. King?: And Other Questions About Martin Luther King, Jr. by Mary Kay Carson
Download What Was Your Dream, Dr. King?, DB 77508
Read by Todd Fox. Reading time: 33 minutes.
Discussion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s role in the civil rights movement in a question-and-answer format. Covers segregation, peaceful protests, voting rights, and more. 2013.

Grades 4 to 7

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Download One Crazy Summer, BR 19326
Download One Crazy Summer, DB 71082
Read by Miriam Wagner. Reading time: 5 hours, 30 minutes.
Oakland, California; 1968. Eleven-year-old Delphine and her younger sisters Vonetta and Fern arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their poet mother Cecile, who abandoned them years ago. Cecile resents their presence--and sends them to a Black Panther summer camp. C.S. King Award, Newbery Honor. 2010.

Grades 5 to 8

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose
Download Claudette Colvin, BR 18681
Download Claudette Colvin, DB 68732
Read by Madelyn Buzzard. Reading time: 4 hours, 15 minutes.
Uses interviews to provide a firsthand account of fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin's arrest for refusing to give her bus seat to a white woman in 1955 Alabama. Explains the era's racial segregation policy and the consequences of Claudette's demand for her constitutional rights. Some strong language. Newbery Honor Book. 2009.

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge
Download Marching for Freedom, BR 19077
Download Marching for Freedom, DB 70496
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 1 hour, 59 minutes.
Traces the 1965 protests against voting discrimination in Alabama led by Martin Luther King Jr. Discusses ordinary kids placing themselves at risk of being beaten and sprayed with tear gas to participate in the civil rights struggle in Selma and the five-day march to Montgomery. 2009.

A Thousand Never Evers by Shana Burg
Download A Thousand Never Evers, BR 18219
As the civil rights movement in the South gains momentum in 1963--and violence against African Americans intensifies--black residents of the small town of Kuckachoo, Mississippi, including seventh-grader Addie Ann Pickett, begin their own courageous struggle for racial justice. Some violence. 2008.

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson
Download We’ve Got a Job, DB 74642
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time: 5 hours, 47 minutes.
Account of the nearly four thousand black youngsters who were arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, in May 1963 after marching to protest segregation. Features profiles of four participants, including the youngest of the group, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks. 2012.

When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders by J. Patrick Lewis
Download When Thunder Comes, BR 20349
Children's poet laureate gives voice to seventeen civil rights leaders who spoke out for equality and liberty, including Coretta Scott King, Nelson Mandela, and Jackie Robinson. Provides a mini-biography of each activist portrayed. Some violence. 2013.

Grades 6 to 9

A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968 by Diane McWhorter
Download A Dream of Freedom, BR 15855
Download A Dream of Freedom, DB 60128
Read by Erin Jones. Reading time 4 hours, 37 minutes.
Concise history of the civil rights struggle by a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who in 1963 was a sixth-grader living in Birmingham, Alabama. The author recalls events from the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision to Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968. Some strong language. 2004.

Fire from the Rock by Sharon M. Draper
Download The Rock and the River, DB 69290
Read by Colleen Delany. Reading time: 6 hours, 52 minutes.
Little Rock, Arkansas; 1957. Fifteen-year-old Sylvia Patterson's normal teenage life is disrupted when she is selected to be part of the first group of African American students to integrate an all-white high school. Everyone has an opinion about what she should do. 2007.

Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights, and Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Final Hours by Ann Bausum
Download Marching to the Mountaintop, DB 75003
Read by John Haag. Reading time: 3 hours, 50 minutes.
Recounts the 1968 sanitation worker's strike in Memphis, Tennessee, that was sparked by low wages, unsafe working conditions, and a racially charged climate. Discusses Martin Luther King Jr.'s involvement with the movement and his assassination. 2012.

Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement by Rick Bowers
Download Spies of Mississippi, DB 73180
Read by Patrick Downer. Reading time: 4 hours, 7 minutes.
Investigative journalist examines Mississippi's Sovereignty Commission, founded in 1956 to help the state maintain racial segregation. Traces its transformation from a public-relations tool into a spy network that reported on civil rights activists. Reveals the group's clandestine operations and its legacy of bigotry. 2010.

Junior and Senior High

The Murder of Emmett Till by David Aretha
Download The Murder of Emmett Till, BR 18201
Discusses the murder of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till, an African American who breached Mississippi's racial caste system in 1955 by flirting with a white woman. Examines the racial injustice that existed, worldwide reactions to the killers' acquittal, and the repercussions on civil rights. 2008.

Plessy v. Ferguson: Civil Rights Movement by Amos Esty
Download Plessy v. Ferguson, BR 19683
Author describes Homer Plessy's 1892 challenge of the Separate Car Act by boarding a first-class train car reserved for whites only. Covers the effort to fight the laws supporting segregation and the Supreme Court ruling to uphold the act. 2012.

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
Download The Rock and the River, BR 18709
Download The Rock and the River, DB 69290
Read by Brian Conn. Reading time: 6 hours, 22 minutes.
Chicago, 1968. Sam respects the teachings of his peaceful civil-rights activist father. But when Sam and his girlfriend Maxie witness a friend's brutal beating by white police officers, Sam questions waiting versus action. And his brother joins the Black Panther Party. Some violence. Coretta Scott King Award. 2009.

With All Deliberate Speed: Court-Ordered Busing and American Schools by David Aretha
Download With All Deliberate Speed, BR 19610
Discusses the 1974 federal judge's decision to bus black students to predominantly white schools and vice versa in an effort to achieve a racial balance in America's public schools. Presents the social reactions in various cities around the country. Some strong language. 2012.

Senior High

America Dreaming: How Youth Changed America in the Sixties by Laban Carrick Hill
Download America Dreaming, DB 66633
Read by John Polk. Reading time: 8 hours, 14 minutes.
Chronicles the life of American teenagers who came of age during the 1960s. Highlights the cultural, social, and political changes that occurred due to the activism of the era. Using primary sources, examines civil rights, women's liberation, antiwar, and environmental movements. 2007.

Senior High and Older Readers

Civil Liberties and War by Jamuna Carroll
Download Civil Liberties and War, DB 64516
Read by Gabra Zackman. Reading time: 5 hours, 26 minutes.
Traces the American history of restricting rights during wartime. Discusses Supreme Court cases involving suppressing speech during World War I, World War II evacuation of Japanese Americans, the New York Times 1971 Pentagon Papers publication, and the 2004 due-process issue for enemy combatants. 2006.