Lerner: Read Woke™ Books in partnership with Cicely Lewis, the Read Woke librarian
In partnership with Cicely Lewis, the Read Woke Librarian

Introducing Read Woke™ Books

“I started the Read Woke challenge in response to the needs of my students. I want my students to read books that challenge social norms, give voice to the silenced, and seek to challenge the status quo. I believe students have a right to know about the issues that are plaguing our society. I believe that they have a right to hear the truth.

I created Read Woke Books because I want our students to be knowledgeable and compassionate citizens. They will be the leaders of our society soon, and they need to be equipped with knowledge so they can treat others with the dignity and respect they deserve. And in return, they will be treated with respect.

When students learn how history impacts our lives today, they can take part in changes to make our world a better place for all.”

—Cicely Lewis


Browse All Read Woke Books →

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Tenets of Read Woke Books

Read Woke Books seek to:

  • Amplify the voices of people of the global majority (people who are of African, Arab, Asian, and Latin American descent and identify as not white)
  • Provide information about groups that have been disenfranchised
  • Share perspectives of people who have been underrepresented or oppressed
  • Challenge social norms and disrupt the status quo
  • Encourage readers to take action in their community
History in Pictures

Fall 2022

History in Pictures

Analyze historical events in US history with a focus on photos that help tell stories of people from underrepresented groups. Readers are asked to think critically about who took the photos, why they were taken, and what viewpoint is represented. Students will see how key events in history connect to the overarching social justice issues we face today. Special features in the books prompt reader reflection, and a Take Action sidebar provides ideas for how to become involved.

  • Books in Series 6
  • Interest Level Grades 4-8

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Slavery and the Civil War

Spring 2022

American Slavery and the Fight for Freedom

This examination of slavery in America balances accounts of oppression with true stories of resistance and resilience, centering on the voices of enslaved people. Page Plus QR codes link readers to primary source recordings from the Voices Remembering Slavery collection at the Library of Congress. Reflection questions and an activism spread offer ways to understand and address the modern legacy of slavery.

  • Books in Series 6
  • Interest Level Grades 4-8

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Fall 2021

Issues in Action

Examine hard topics facing our society—from gun violence to immigration. Learn how problems developed and hear from underrepresented persons involved in these struggles. Reflection questions help readers challenge their perspectives, while an activism toolkit and a Read Woke reading list empower readers to make a difference.

  • Books in Series 6
  • Interest Level Grades 4-8

Learn More →

The Read Woke Books Teaching Guides

Available Now

Download the Read Woke Books Teaching Guides

Download free teaching guides for the Issues in Action series and the American Slavery and the Fight for Freedom series. These teaching guides help educators and parents prepare for having conversations around race and racism and to evaluate books according to Five Pillars of Read Woke. Discussion questions and learning opportunities help students unpack the content of Read Woke Books and empower students to take action. These guides were created by Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul, an educator, author, founder of Red Clay Educators, host of the Black Creators Series, and cofounder of the Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy.

Get the Issues in Action Guide →

Get the American Slavery and the Fight for Freedom Guide →

“Just Read It!” The Read Woke Music Video

Updated January 2022. MK610-0521