Books About Social Justice for Teens

We put together a selection of titles for teens that explore the topic of social justice.

Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal opportunities, economic, political and social rights.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

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Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him.

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Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi

A collection of short stories explore what it is like to be young and black, centering on the experiences of black teenagers and emphasizing that one person’s experiences, reality and personal identity are different than someone else.

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

When Xiomara Batista, who pours all her frustrations and passion into poetry, is invited to join the school slam poetry club, she struggles with her mother’s expectations and her need to be heard.

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More Fiction Books



Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

A timely reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped From the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America while explaining their endurance and capacity for being discredited.

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A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riots of 1919 by Claire Hartfield

A compelling introduction to the Chicago race riot of 1919 documents key events that led to days of urban violence that continue to reverberate a century later, offering insight into contributing factors in race relations, politics, business and culture.

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It’s Trevor Noah: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

A middle-grade adaptation of The Daily Show host’s best-selling adult memoir traces his experiences growing up half black, half white in South Africa under and after apartheid, describing how he used his wits and humor to navigate a harsh life under a racist government.

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(Don’t) Call Me Crazy edited by Kelly Jensen

Essays, lists, poems and art explore the ways 33 best-selling authors and celebrity contributors have coped with and thrived in the face of mental illness, in an anthology that includes entries by Kristen Bell, Nancy Kerrigan and Libba Bray.

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More Non-Fiction Books


Graphic Novels

March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

A first-hand account of the author’s lifelong struggle for civil and human rights spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.

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New Kid by Jerry Craft

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds–and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

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Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu

Through characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, a celebrated graphic novelist profiles the lives of formidable female role models—some world famous, some little known—including Nellie Bly, Mae Jemison, Josephine Baker, Naziq al-Abid and many others, in an entertaining, comic-style biography that is sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.

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