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Spotlight on: Our Community

ADULT BOOKLIST

We want to celebrate Nottingham being a culturally diverse city and reading books can be a great way to learn about equality and diversity.  We have put together a selection of books that celebrate our ethnically diverse communities and offer a starting point for exploring racism, prejudice, diversity and black history.  Special collections for all ages are available at Hyson Green, Bulwell Riverside and Southglade Park libraries.

Titles are also available from other libraries or can be requested through click and collect.

Slay in your lane

Slay In Your Lane: the black girl Bible by Adegoke, Yomi

From authors to politicians, to entrepreneurs to artists, black women in the UK continue to thrive against all odds and well outside of the world’s expectations.

This inspirational, honest and provocative book explores how black British women – including Amma Asante, Charlene White, Jamelia, Denise Lewis, Malorie Blackman and Dawn Butler MP – have achieved success in their respective fields.

Biased

Biased: uncovering the hidden prejudices that shape our lives by Eberhardt, Jennifer L

We might think that we treat all people equally, but we don’t. Every day, unconscious biases affect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behaviour in ways that are subtle and very difficult to recognise without in-depth scientific studies.

Unconscious biases can be small and insignificant, but they affect every sector of society, leading to enormous disparities, from the classroom to the courtroom to the boardroom. But unconscious bias is not a sin to be cured, but a universal human condition, and one that can be overcome.

Pioneering social psychologist Professor Jennifer Eberhardt explains how.

The Clapback

The Clapback: Your guide to calling out racist stereotypes by Lawal, Elijah

In order to have an honest and open conversation about race, we need to identify areas where things are not right.

This title examines the evolution of the negative stereotypes towards the black community and arms you with the tools to shut them down once and for all.

Taking readers on a journey through history, and providing facts and detailed research, this is an eye-opening and refreshing look at race and language.

Natives

Natives: race and class in the ruins of empire by Akala

From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers – race and class have shaped Akala’s life and outlook.

In this book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical, and political factors that have left us where we are today. Covering everything from the police, education, and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, ‘Natives’ will speak directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain’s racialized empire.

Black And British

Black and British: a forgotten history by Olusoga, David

David Olusoga’s ‘Black and British’ is a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination and Shakespeare’s Othello.

Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries.

They Can’t Kill Us All

They Can’t Kill Us All: the story of Black Lives Matter by Lowery, Wesley

In over a year of on-the-ground reportage, ‘Washington Post’ writer Wesley Lowery travelled across the US to uncover life inside the most heavily policed, if otherwise neglected, corners of America today.

In an effort to grasp the scale of the response to Michael Brown’s death and understand the magnitude of the problem police violence represents, Lowery conducted interviews with the families of victims of police brutality, as well as with local activists working to stop it. Lowery investigates the effect of decades of racially biased policing in segregated neighbourhoods with failing schools, constant discrimination, crumbling infrastructure and too few jobs.

Offering a historically informed look at the standoff between the police and those they are sworn to protect, ‘They Can’t Kill Us All’ demonstrates that civil unrest is just one tool of resistance in the broader struggle for justice.

Can’t Breathe

I Can’t Breathe: the killing that started a movement by Taibbi, Matt

The incredible story of the death of Eric Garner, the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement and the new fault lines of race, protest, policing and the power of the people.

On July 17, 2014, a 43-year-old black man named Eric Garner died in New York after a police officer put him in a ‘chokehold’ during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes. The final moments of his life were captured on video and seen by millions – his agonised last words, ‘I can’t breathe’, becoming a rallying cry for the nascent Black Lives Matter protest movement.

becoming

Becoming by Michelle Obama

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era.

As First Lady of the United States of America – the first African-American to serve in that role – she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments.

Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerising storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world.

The sun does shine

The Sun Does Shine: how I found life and freedom on death row by Hinton, Anthony  Ray

Anthony Ray Hinton was poor and black when he was convicted of two murders he hadn’t committed.

For the next three decades he was trapped in solitary confinement in a tiny cell on death row, having to watch as – one by one – his fellow prisoners were taken past him to the execution room. Eventually his case was taken up by the award-winning lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, who managed to have him exonerated, though it took 15 years for this to happen.

Since his release, other high-profile supporters have included Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and Amal Clooney. How did Hinton cope with the mental and emotional torture of his situation, and emerge full of compassion and forgiveness?

my name is why

My Name Is Why: a memoir by Sissay, Lemn

At the age of 17, after a childhood in a fostered family followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman. It was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth.

This is Lemn’s story; a story of neglect and determination, misfortune and hope, cruelty and triumph.Sissay reflects on a childhood in care, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home.

Written with all the lyricism and power you would expect from one of the nation’s best-loved poets, this moving, frank and timely memoir is the result of a life spent asking questions, and a celebration of the redemptive power of creativity

100 black

100 Great Black Britons by Vernon, Patrick

Patrick Vernon’s landmark ‘100 Great Black Britons’ campaign of 2003 was one of the most successful movements to focus on the role of people of African and Caribbean descent in British history.

Frustrated by the widespread and continuing exclusion of the black British community from the mainstream popular conception of ‘Britishness’, despite black people having lived in Britain for over a thousand years, Vernon set up a public poll in which anyone could vote for the black Briton they most admired.

The response to this campaign was incredible. As a result, a number of black historical figures were included on the national school curriculum and had statues and memorials erected and blue plaques put up in their honour. Now, with this book, Vernon and Osborne have relaunched the campaign with an updated list of names and accompanying portraits.

home coming

Homecoming: voices of the Windrush generation by Grant, Colin

When Colin Grant was growing up in Luton in the 1960s, he learned not to ask his Jamaican parents why they had emigrated to Britain. ‘We’re here because we’re here’, his father would say, ‘You have some place else to go?’.

But now, seventy years after the arrival of ships such as the Windrush, this generation of pioneers are ready to tell their stories.

‘Homecoming’ draws on over a hundred first-hand interviews, archival recordings and memoirs by the women and men who came to Britain from the West Indies between the late 1940s and the early 1960s.

the louder i will sing

The Louder I Will Sing by Lawrence, Lee

A powerful, compelling and uplifting memoir about growing up in modern Britain as a young black man.

It’s a story both of people and politics, of the underlying racism beneath many of our most important institutions, but also the positive power that hope, faith and love can bring in response.

Discover More

3 child lib

Spotlight On: Our Community - Children Fiction Booklist

A selection of books that celebrate Nottingham's ethnically diverse communities and empower children to talk about diversity, prejudice, racism and black history. 
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Students reading froma school book at the elementary school

Spotlight on: Our Community - Children's Non Fiction Booklist

A selection of books that celebrate our ethnically diverse communities  and empower children to talk about diversity, prejudice, racism and black history. 
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Image of Eve and Abi

BBC Novels that Shaped Our World

Watch these three brilliant workshops online here, discussions inspired by the BBC Novels That Shaped Our World
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