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2021 Award Winners

2019 Award Winners


Social Justice Book Award 2020

Click on the various links below for more information about the authors, illustrators, and publishers. Often these links provide other information about these books including related books which may be of interest. All these titles were published in 2019.


Fiction Picturebook:

Be a Maker by Katey Howes, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic (Lerner Publishing Group)

Be a Maker book Jacket

This is a simple picturebook that uses both the text and the illustrations to show and tell how younger children can help to make a difference in their communities. The text leads the reader into thinking about being a maker and making a difference. The illustrations show how two children along with the adults in their community use creativity as they build a park structure. This book shows how young children can start small to make the world better through activism. 

Katey Howes reads her book aloud on YouTube, courtesy of Lerner. She includes some suggestions of how readers/listeners can do something positive every day to help. Another short video clip can be found on the Lerner Blog.



(1) Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan (Bloomsbury)

Watch Us Rise bookjacket

This fiction book about two high school girls who are trying to make sense of their high school and world as they are empowered to make a difference through activism with the themes of friendship, feminism, and the power of art.

(2) Take the Mic edited by Bethany C. Morrow and art by Richie Pope* (Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic)

Take the Mic bookjacket

Filled with fictional short stories addressing a wide range of issues and everyday resistance, this book presents how people with different perspectives and voices take action to make the world more socially just. 

Lizette Serrano, Director of Education/Library Conventions and Marketing introduces the book in a video on YouTube. *Google "Richie Pope images" to view more of his art.


Nonfiction Picturebook:

Carter Reads the Newspaper by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Don Tate (Peachtree)

Carter Reads the Newspaper bookjacket

Carter G. Woodson made black history an important part of U.S. history. He was a true change agent that had so many accomplishments with the support of his community. It is our duty to seek the truth in U.S. history and this book is a part of that truth.

Peachtree offers a Teacher's Guide to this book.



Things That Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett and Dave Zirin (Haymarket Books)

Things That Make White People Uncomfortable bookjacket

This nonfiction bookwas adapted for the Young Adult audience by Michael Bennett, a recently retired NFL defensive lineman, and sports writer Dave Zirin. Bennett brings to the surface some of the important current social issues including Black Lives Matter, food deserts, systemic racism, and girls in STEM. He discusses his role as an activist and change maker. This is a great book to encourage uncomfortable conversations that have the potential to lead to change.

The last few sentences in the afterword say so much about this book: “There’s a whole bunch of great people out there, and when you let yourself be vulnerable, not build walls between yourself and others, you can make change. You have to open yourself and others, you can make change. You have to open yourself up and get comfortable with your discomfort. Then you don’t need to build more walls. Instead, they just come tumbling down” (p. 238).



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