Top Books to Expand Your Thinking

The Y is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and racial justice in our programs and services, and in our community.

As part of our ongoing journey of education and learning, we asked YMCA staff members to share their favorite books on antiracism and diversity. Here are their top recommended books to gift this holiday season to expand your thinking.

  1. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. Regional Executive Cinnamon H. writes, “I chose this book for a weekly book group discussion with my team. I was a little intimidated by the title but know it is difficult to talk about race and was curious. The topics the author covers were so thoughtfully laid out and helped us share our journey openly and with a deeper understanding than we imagined. The author shares why talking about race issues often brings up feelings of guilt and emotions that often shut the discussion down. She helps us realize the “American values lens” of individualism and redefines racism in a thoughtful way that allows the reader to understand issues of racism without defensiveness or feeling labeled as a racist. Well worth the read for anyone who wants to find a way to engage and be active in helping advance the discussion.”
  2. Once I Was You by Maria Hinojosa. Director of Marketing Ishmael B. says, “A beautiful and powerful memoir highlighting one of the most iconic and influential Latino leaders of our time. Maria Hinojosa takes us on her deeply personal journey that led her to becoming an NPR legend. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in expanding their understanding of cultural immersion, ethnic identity, and breakthrough success. Her story is just like many others in our country from the foreign born to first-generation Latinos. Go read it.”
  3. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Associate Director Roxanne R. writes, “Mainstream United States history paints European colonization of the Americas as a matter of valor and brave exploration of unoccupied, untamed lands. This version of history omits the lived experiences of the tens of millions of indigenous people and their advanced civilizations which existed and thrived on this continent. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States re-centers the historic narrative around the peoples, the cultures and the societies of the first inhabitants of the Americas. While re-evaluating Europeans’ impact on the Americas may bring on feelings of discomfort, learning the truth of our history allows us to fully appreciate the richness and indelible value inherent in non-European cultures.”
  4. I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown. Youth & Family Director Liz K. says, “This book teaches children they are “perfect just the way they are” and that differences are beautiful. It validates the emotions and experiences that childhood brings, as well as celebrating the diversity around us.”
All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to

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