Read Woke™ Books: Preview the Upcoming Series and Download the Teaching Guide

When students learn about slavery in the United States, they often learn about the Underground Railroad and figures such as Harriet Tubman and Abraham Lincoln. But who and what are being left of these teachings? In the upcoming series American Slavery and the Fight for Freedom from Read Woke™ Books, readers will be introduced to events and figures that they may not be familiar with.

This six-book series looks at the history of slavery in the United States and explores its lasting legacy, while balancing information about slavery with stories of resilience and resistance. Through topics including the slave trade, the US Civil War, reconstruction, and Jim Crow, readers will learn about what led to American slavery and explore what happened after the Civil War ended.

Reflection questions accompany the text to help readers challenge their perspectives and think critically about what they are reading. Following the text are back matter features that empower readers and inspire them to learn more, including an activism spread offering ways to make a difference. Additionally, readers will find a spread with multimedia links to primary sources that center the voices of enslaved people.

Like all Read Woke Books, this series was created in partnership with Cicely Lewis, the Read Woke librarian. Read Woke Books seek to challenge social norms, give voice to the silenced, provide information about groups that have been disenfranchised, disrupt the status quo, and share perspectives from underrepresented or oppressed groups. The debut series, Issues in Action, was called “perfect for classroom discussions on social justice” by School Library Journal, and the title Mass Incarceration, Black Men, and the Fight for Justice received a starred review from Booklist.

Get the Read Woke Teaching Guide

Our free, downloadable Read Woke Teaching Guide helps 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. The guide was created by Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul, educator, author, co-founder of the Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy, and Director of Diversity and Equity at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. Click here to get the guide.

American Slavery and the Fight for Freedom (Read Woke ™ Books)

Available January 2022

6 Book Series

Interest Level: Grades 4 – 8

Reading Level: Grades 4 – 5

Read Woke Nonfiction Webinar

We recently held a webinar with School Library Journal titled “Read Woke NONFICTION!” In the panel discussion, Carole Boston Weatherford, Cicely Lewis, Elliott Smith, and Dr. Artika Tyner discussed the importance of Black nonfiction authorship, lifting up authentic voices and hidden figures in history, exposing prejudices and the problems it has caused in our society, and inspiring readers to speak out against injustice. Watch the webinar here!

Visit to learn more about Read Woke Books or read more about Read Woke™ Books on the Lerner blog.

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