AMCHP Essential Reading for Black History Month and Beyond: The 2022 Edition
February 24, 2022

February is Black History Month, and to honor this observance, AMCHP launched a yearlong compilation of books that have inspired our team to reflect on Black history, racial justice, and health equity. We are delighted to share our first edition with the maternal and child health (MCH) community!


Artwork by Tema Okun. Source: White Supremacy Culture.

White Supremacy Culture

By Tema Okun

Originally written and published in 1999, this article serves as an analytical tool to aid us in learning about white supremacy culture. The intention is to help us understand “the water in which we are all swimming so that we can collaboratively work together to build and sustain cultures that help us thrive as communities and individuals.”

Read the revised and updated version of this article from 2021 here. For more information, visit



Photo: Amazon

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

By Heather McGhee

One of today’s most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone-not just people of color.

Get it here or at your local store.





Photo: Amazon

Just Mercy

By Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy tells the story of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama — from its early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

One of EJI’s first clients was Walter McMillian, a young Black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he didn’t commit. The case exemplifies how the death penalty in America is a direct descendant of lynching — a system that treats the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent.

Get it here or at your local store.



Photo: The Mirnavator

A Beautiful Work in Progress

By Mirna Valerio

Runners’ vocabulary is full of acronyms like DNS for “Did Not Start” and DNF for “Did Not Finish,” but when Mirna Valerio stepped up to the starting line, she needed a new one: DNQ for “Did Not Quit.”

Valerio has tied on her running shoes all across the country, from the dusty back roads of central New Jersey to the busy Route 222 corridor in Pennsylvania to the sweltering deserts of Arizona. When you meet her on the trail, you might be surprised to see she doesn’t quite fit the typical image of a long-distance runner. She’s neither skinny nor white, and she’s here to show just how misguided these stereotypes can be.

In this prejudice-busting, body-positive memoir told with raw honesty, an adventurous spirit, and a sharp sense of humor, Valerio takes readers along on her journey from first-time racer to ultramarathoner and proves that anyone can become a successful athlete.

Get it here or at your local store.



Photo: Amazon

Our Skin: A First Conversation

By Megan Madison, Jessica Ralli, & Isabel Roxas

Young children notice a lot—including skin color, race, and even injustice and racism. It can be hard to find the right words to answer their questions or to start a conversation about race. But when we don’t talk about it, children often come to their own conclusions, which can include bias and stereotypes because of the world we live in. Simple conversations can help them make sense of their world and even recognize and speak up about injustice. This book is a good place to start or continue the conversation. It’s okay to take a break, leave something out for now, or weave in stories of your own.

This first book in the series begins the conversation on race, with a supportive approach that considers both the child and the adult. Stunning art accompanies the simple and interactive text, and the backmatter offers additional resources and ideas for extending this discussion.

Get it here or at your local store.



Photo: Little People, BIG Dreams

Little People, BIG Dreams

By Maria Isabel Sánchez Vergara

This book series introduces children worldwide to outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. They celebrate triumph over adversity through some of history’s favorite characters.

Get them here or at your local store.




Photo: Little People, BIG Dreams

Little People, BIG Dreams: Black Voices

By Maria Isabel Sánchez Vergara

Meet three inspirational figures from Black culture and history: Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks. This gift set of three books introduces children to the lives of these leaders and trailblazers who stepped up, stood against injustice, and changed the world.

Get it here or at your local store.




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