A Glimpse Into Social Justice Book Options

Reading about social justice and human rights is one way to learn from different and unique perspectives. The following books: “I’m Not Dying With You Tonight”, “Mexican WhiteBoy”, and “The 57 Bus” all depict stories of injustice and racial problems centered in the United States. From racial tensions during a riot to hardships for mixed white-Mexican Americans and to injustices directed at people with genderqueer identities, these books demonstrate the reality of these situations. 

“I’m Not Dying With You Tonight” by Kimberly Jones: Two high school girls, Lena and Campbell, from different racial backgrounds and social circles are forced to stay together when a fight breaks out at a high school football game. The fight leads to a city-wide riot and Lena and Campbell cannot get home. They have to make a decision to go towards the police or try to make it home themselves. “I’m Not Dying With You Tonight” is a fiction book that has important themes of racial misunderstanding, unhealthy relationships, and the building of unusual friendships. Will they make it home in a city-wide riot? This book can be found in the Perkiomen Valley High School Library or for $12.99 on Amazon for the paperback and $7.99 for Kindle.

“Mexican WhiteBoy” by Matt de la Peña: Danny, a mixed white-mexican, never feels that he ever fits in. With his predominantly white private school, he feels his skin is too dark. With his extended family, he feels he looks too white. Over the summer, Danny decides to stay with his cousins and he strikes up an uncommon friendship with a black-mexican, named Uno, who both share the love of baseball. The story goes through Danny and Uno’s experiences and the racial hardships of being mixed races. This book can be found in the Perkiomen Valley High School Library or for $9.99 on Amazon for the paperback or Kindle edition.

“The 57 Bus” (TRUE STORY) by Dashka Slater: Sasha, a genderqueer/nonbinary (they/them pronouns) student in Oakland, California, was asleep on the bus. They decided to wear a skirt that day but had no idea the outcome of what would happen. Another student, Richard, lit their skirt on fire with a lighter, not realizing the flammability. Seconds later, their skirt was wrapped in flames, waking Sasha, causing hospitalization. The true story of “The 57 Bus” exemplifies things like race, gender, identity, morality, and forgiveness. Follow along as the story goes through the process of Richard’s criminal case and the after-effects of the fire on bus 57. This book can be found in the Perkiomen Valley High School Library or for $7.99 on Amazon.com for paperback and $10.99 for Kindle.