Farewell to #SJBookClub: 8 Books to Read About Criminal Justice, Race & Immigration

I remember talking to Kerry about her idea for a social justice book club. She was worried, rightly so, that a title like that would be a battle cry for the trolls. She came up with an elegant solution: #SJBookClub.

I participated in the virtual book club at first to support a friend, but I quickly realized that my literary fiction obsession was keeping me away from some very important books written by some very intelligent people. I was introduced to Bryan Stevenson, who reminded me to throw fewer stones. To Jesmyn Ward, who opened my eyes to experiences I never knew were happening less than an hour from my childhood home. It got me all riled up about our (failing) criminal justice system. It pushed me to read broader.

For that I am thankful.

Kerry announced earlier this month that she is officially retiring the club. As a participant who hasn’t participated in a year I support that decision. Sometimes these clubs or lists or books pop up just when we need them, and then fade away when we need to focus on something else.

I wanted to honor the club in a small way. I put together this list of books that you should read. Some were books we read as a club (those are * starred), others are not. All have influenced me. And, as I want to continue this journey, please comment any other books you think I should add to my list!

Criminal Justice System

  1. Just Mercy – Bryan Stevenson*
  2. The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander*

Thoughts on Race

  1. The Men We Reaped – Jesmyn Ward*
  2. The Fire This Time – Essay collection edited by Jesmyn Ward
  3. Between the World and Me – Ta’Neishi Coates


  1. Enrique’s Journey – Sonia Nazario*
  2. Tell Me How It Ends – Valeria Luiselli

Tags: , , , ,

About Stephanie Y.

I'm a professional news writer in Frederick, Maryland. I blog at S.Y. Ciphers.

One response to “Farewell to #SJBookClub: 8 Books to Read About Criminal Justice, Race & Immigration”

  1. Sharie Hyder says :

    I have added some of these to my “to read” list! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: