Summer Reading: Books for Healing & Social Change

Beyond Emotional First Aid
June 25, 2010
Trauma & Social Justice: Making Connections
September 11, 2010

inspiring non-fiction:

The non-fiction books that inspire me the most offer simple, practical ways to change and heal ourselves and our world. These authors distill and recombine insights from modern and traditional wisdom sources in a way that is easy to digest.

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Mate

Power Under: Trauma and Nonviolent Social Change by Steven Wineman (available at

Coming Out of the Spiritual Closet: Organizers Transforming the Practice of Social Justice
(available at

Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want by Frances Moore Lappe

Awakening Joy by James Baraz & Shoshana Alexander

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Daniel Amen, M.D.

Are We Born Racist? – New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology

In the Tiger’s Mouth: An Empowerment Guide for Social Action by Katrina Shields

Readings for Diversity and Social Justice by Adams et al (okay, not light reading, but good!)

A Promise and a Way of Life: White Anti-racists and Their Paths to Action Becky Thompson

The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You by S. Bear Bergman

Declassified: How to Stop Hiding Your Privilege and Use it For Social Change by Karen Pittleman

anything by:

James Baldwin
(especially The Fire Next Time)
Thomas Glave
Arundhati Roy

The Source: A free diversity and social justice training tool website:

inspiring fiction:

I am inspired by fiction and science fiction when it provides new perspectives on inter-cultural collisions, gender, culture, power relations, love, and healing.

for Science Fiction/Fantasy, I recommend anything by:

*Octavia Butler
(especially the Xenogenesis &
Pattern Master series)

*Ursula K. Le Guin
(especially the Earthsea Cycle)

*Nalo Hopkinson

*Eleanor Arnason
(especially Ring of Swords)

*Sheri S. Tepper

*Joan D. Vinge
(especially The Snow Queen Cycle & the Cat/Psion Trilogy)

*Nichola Griffith

Find science fiction/fantasy books that expand or explore our understanding of gender at the James Tiptree, Jr. Award website:

Find science fiction/fantasy books that build awareness of race and ethnicity at the Carl Brandon Society website:

for Fiction, I recommend anything by:

Sherman Alexie
James Baldwin
Barbara Kingsolver
God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

and finally, here are some

Entertaining and Deep Movies:

Dance Me Outside, Dirty Pretty Things, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Inside Man, Junebug, Lone Star, Reel Bad Arabs, Ma Vie En Rose, D.E.B.S., X-Men II, Matewan, Three Kings,Addams Family Values, The Wire (TV show), The Story of Stuff:

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