The 1950s and 1960s were a time of great change in the United States. Add some history to your reading routine with books about teens who experienced the civil rights movement firsthand.

  • Lies We Tell Ourselves
    Robin Talley

    In 1959 Virginia, Sarah, a black student who is one of the first to attend a newly integrated school, forces Linda, a white integration opponent's daughter, to confront harsh truths when they work together on a school project.

  • My Mother the Cheerleader
    Robert Sharenow

    Thirteen-year-old Louise uncovers secrets about her family and her neighborhood during the violent protests over school desegregation in 1960 New Orleans.

  • The Rock and the River
    Kekla Magoon

    In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father's nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party.

  • Fire in the Streets
    Kekla Magoon

    Sequel to The Rock and the River. In the aftermath of Dr. King's assassination in 1968, Chicago fourteen-year-old Maxie longs to join the Black Panthers, whether or not her brother Raheem, ex-boyfriend Sam, or her friends like it, and is soon caught up in the violence of anti-war and civil rights demonstrations.

  • Ten Miles Past Normal
    Frances O'Roark Dowell

    Because living with 'modern-hippy' parents on a goat farm means fourteen-year-old Janie Gorman cannot have a normal high school life, she tries joining Jam Band, making friends with Monster, and spending time with elderly former civil rights workers.

  • No Crystal Stair
    Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

    Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson combines meticulous research with a storyteller's flair to document the life and times of her great uncle Lewis Michaux, an extraordinary literacy pioneer of the Civil Rights era.

  • The Lions of Little Rock
    Kristin Levine

    In 1958 Little Rock, Arkansas, painfully shy twelve-year-old Marlee sees her city and family divided over school integration, but her friendship with Liz, a new student, helps her find her voice and fight against racism.

  • Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High
    Melba Pattillo Beals

    In 1957 Melba Pattillo turned sixteen. That was also the year she became a warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm. Following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board Education, she was one of nine teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School. This is her remarkable story.

  • Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary
    Elizabeth Partridge

    This book recounts the three months of protest that took place before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s landmark march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery to promote equal rights and help African-Americans earn the right to vote.

  • Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
    Russell Freedman

    On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white man. This refusal to give up her dignity sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, a yearlong struggle, and a major victory in the civil rights movement.