We are quickly approaching one of the most important Election Days our country has faced in the last few decades! Ever since the 2016 Election, I have reflected a lot on my own voting education and history. What I realized was that I was rarely taught about voting in general, let alone given resources and books that reflect myself and my other BIPOC classmates. When I finally turned 18 years old, I had a lot to learn (and unlearn) about voting. To be honest, I do not think I registered to vote until I was 19 years old because I was never taught how and I never expressed interest to my parents. 

This needs to change for the future of our country! We need to engage our students and children as young as possible in this democratic process and the history behind it. When a young adult turns 18 years old, they should know about their voting rights, the racist past of voting suppression we should never repeat, how to engage their community, and how to be an informed voter. This starts at home, our schools, and libraries and we need to make sure we center diverse books in order to empower our BIPOC students and White allies. They are our future!

To do this, check out our Colorful Pages Election Day Book List for Middle and High School Students! We have listed 8 diverse books that are perfect to read on, before, or after Election Day to teach about voting and our country’s voting rights history. You can also check out our Election Day Book List for Elementary Students for more title suggestions for your younger kiddos. Happy Election Day and remember to cast your vote by Tuesday, November 3rd!

Step Into Your Power: 23 Lessons on How to Live Your Best Life, by Jamia Wilson 

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Representation

Age Range: 9-12 years old

Step Into Your Power: 23 Lessons on How to Live Your Best Life by Jamia Wilson

Step Into Your Power is the embodiment of empowerment for children (and people of any age!). Wilson categorizes her mentoring into five sections: Power, Community, Choices, Act!, and Self-Care. The first four sections build on from each other, but the book ends with Self-Care as the last one. I appreciate that Self-Care is the last because often activists, even adult activists, forget about what it truly means to take care of oneself in this work. By including it at the end of this book, Wilson is ensuring that every student is integrating Self-Care in their routines from the beginning (or early part) of their powerful lives. This is a great book to inspire our almost-voters to take action in their community, especially during voting season!

Letters from Mississippi: Reports from Civil Rights Volunteers & Poetry of the 1964 Freedom Summer, edited by Elizabeth Martínez

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 12+ years old

Letters from Mississippi is a collection of reports, poems, and historical accounts of the 1964 Freedom Summer, which was a time period when many people came to Mississippi to volunteer with the Mississippi Summer Voting Project. The aim of Freedom Summer was to expand the Black voter registration and organize a “Freedom Deomcractic Party” to challenge the white-only Mississippi Democratic Party. This collection is perfect for Middle School and High School classes to read during Election Day and beyond. You can also check out https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/freedom-summer-film for a film and also more resources around Freedom Summer!

Lifting As We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box, by Evette Dionne

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 10+ years old

Wow, I love this book! Lifting As We Climb details the overlooked story of the Black women who fought for the right to vote. We are usually only taught about the White leaders that lead the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. This novel challenges this and sheds light on the Black heroes who fought for the right to vote for women of color too. As Evette Dionne writes, “There is no doubt that [Susan B.] Anthony deserved all that love [of voting stickers on her grave in 2016]. However, there were other suffragists whose contributions to the cause were erased and forgotten; their graves were bare on November 8, 2016. Black women also fought, were beaten or jailed, and faced serious, sometimes violent to gain the right to vote — even after 1920. Where were their stickers?”

One Person, No Vote: How Not All Voters Are Treated Equally, by Carol Anderson with Tonya Bolden

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 12+ years old

One Person, No Vote is an adapted young adult edition of an adult book. This book informs readers about the history of Black voter suppression in five parts: A History of Disenfranchisement, Voter ID, Voter Roll Purge, Rigging the Rules, and The Resistance. There is also a discussion guide and list of ways for teens to get involved in their voting community at the back of the book. 

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 12-17 years old

Lynda Blackmon Lowery shares her true story of being the youngest marcher in the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom is her memoir about her experiences as a fifteen-year-old fighting for the voting rights of African-Americans. This book also has a discussion guide for teachers, parents, and students to follow. 

The Voting Booth, by Brandy Colbert

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 12+ years old

The Voting Booth is a great fiction young adult novel about voting and romance! It follows Marva Sheridan, a teen who has a passion for voting and voting rights, and Duke Crenshaw. When Marva sees Duke turned away from a polling place, Marva and Duke travel all around to make sure his vote is counted. 

This Book is Anti-Racist, by Tiffany Jewell

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 11-15 years old

This is an engaging book that helps readers go through 20 lessons around identity, prejudice, racism, and activism. Each chapter acts almost as a lesson inside an anti-racist classroom. There is a section of knowledge to read and then several activities to do to reflect and really apply the learning to your own life. Tiffany Jewell’s book would be perfect for middle school and high school classes to go through together to learn about anti-racism and empowerment through action. This is perfect to talk about anti-racist practices while we vote!

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

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 12+ years old

I have been loving that Ibram X. Kendi has been reimagining his famous book, Stamped from the Beginning, for younger and younger crowds. Jason Reynolds, another brilliant author, teamed up with Kendi in order to write this version of Stamped geared towards younger students. It shares the history of racism within our nation and shines a light on how racism is still very real today. This is perfect to talk about anti-racist practices while we vote!

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