In the market for a great new book recommendation? Maybe you’re even considering a departure from the titles and genres you usually lean towards? If so, here’s a list of five amazing, must-read books about issues relating to social injustice – each guaranteed to leave you in awe and feeling inspired!
1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee: Originally published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird is now considered a classic novel in modern American literature. Though praised for its use of warmth and humor, the book does discuss a number of weighty issues. The primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice, prejudice, destruction of innocence, and gender roles in the Deep South region. To this day, Lee’s work is arguably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its character, Atticus Finch, one of the most enduring fictional examples of racial heroism.
2. Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela: This is an autobiographical book written by the late Nelson Mandela, who served as president of South Africa
from 1994 to 1999. Long Walk to Freedom tells of Mandela’s early life, his coming of age, his education, and his twenty-seven years spent in prison for leading protests against an oppressive minority regime. When he was finally released in 1990, Mandela not only participated in the eradication of apartheid, but he later became the first
black president of South Africa. The book details his work and devotion in championing peace, social justice, and human rights around the world.
3. Night, by Elie Wiesel: Night documents Wiesel’s experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald from 1944 to 1945 (towards the end of World War II, but at the height of the Holocaust). In a little more than 100 pages of fragmented narrative, Wiesel eloquently writes about his increasing disgust with humanity, reflected in the inversion of the father–child relationship. An incredibly powerful novel, Night carries an unforgettable message and serves as a reminder that this sort of evil must never be allowed to exist again.
4. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah: A Long Way Gone shares the firsthand account of Beah’s experiences as a child soldier during
Sierra Leone’s civil war. At the age of twelve, the author ran away from his village after it was attacked by rebels, becoming forever separated from his immediate family. While wandering the war-filled country, Beah was picked up by the government army and forced to commit truly violent, inhumane acts. Though he was eventually released and sent to a UNICEF rehabilitation center, Beah struggled to regain his humanity and to reenter the world of civilians. His is an incredible story of redemption, hope, and perseverance.
5. I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai: At the age of fifteen, Malala was inflicted with a gunshot wound to the head while riding the bus home from school. Few expected her to survive, let alone thrive. But Malala’s miraculous recovery has made her a global symbol of peaceful protest, and a leading voice on the importance of girls’ access to education. I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, and of a father who encouraged his daughter to write and attend school despite such difficult circumstances.
Have you read any of these titles, or know of another book related to injustice you’d like to recommend? Feel free to let us know!