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in San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood

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Books for Middle Schoolers!

You’ve taken on your first teaching assignment from the San Francisco Unified School District, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School: five classes of 8th graders studying U.S. history. Say, 150 students. And a class in the graphic novel open to 6th to 8th graders. Imagine contemplating the $300 materials budget the District has given you for the year. And then realizing that your school in the Portola District has virtually no students from the upper economic echelons whose families might lavish their school with a bit of their personal wealth to make up for the District’s  lack.

Fortunately Jackson Whittington (full disclosure, the proprietor’s son), who’s found his way to just such a position, has been generously supported in his efforts by Bird & Beckett patrons. For the past couple of months, they’ve been donating books and cash to help him build up a deep classroom library. He’s made great progress, though he’s still in need of cash and book donations. Cash for art supplies would be a big help as well!

Here’s a list of the books he’s obtained so far, through B&B patrons’ generosity– 

History/Social Science:
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James
The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld by Herbert Asbury
The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Revolutionary Suicide by Huey Newton
Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldua
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I-Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Kindred by Octavia Butler
The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan
Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn
The Gangster of Love by Jessica Hagedorn
Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir by Eddie Huang
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
Rage Is Back: A Novel by Adam Mansbach
If He Hollers Let Him Go: A Novel by Chester Himes
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Los de abajo (The Underdogs) by Mariano Azuela
The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Graphic Novels:
Boundless by Jillian Tamaki
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxanne Gay
Aya Life in Yop City by Marguerite Abouet
Barefoot Gen I, II, III, and IV (Hardcover) by Keiji Nakazawa
Town Boy by Lat
Maus I: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman
Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman
Black Hole by Charles Burns
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn

Here are books he still wants for his classroom library– You can help!

History/Social Science:

  1. Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage by William Loren Katz
  2. The Confessions of Nat Turner: and Related Documents by Nat Turner
  3. Black Reconstruction in America by W.E.B Du Bois
  4. To Die for the People by Huey Newton
  5. The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland by Robyn C. Spencer
  6. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  7. A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  8. Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth
  9. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
  10. Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
  11. Black Reconstruction in America by W.E.B Du Bois
  12. At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance–A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle L. McGuire
  13. Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan-Africanism by Stokely Carmichael
  14. To Die for the People by Huey Newton
  15. The Assassination of Fred Hampton by Jeffrey Haas
  16. Blues People by Amiri Baraka/Leroi Jones


  1. Native Son by Richard Wright
  2. The Gangster We Are All Looking For by Thi Diem Thuy Le
  3. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  4. Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  5. Selected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes
  6. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Graphic Novels:

  1. Kampung Boy by Lat
  2. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  3. Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang
  4. The Street Angel Gang by Jim Rugg
  5. Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero by Michael DeForge
  6. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  7. Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang
  8. Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
  9. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow
  10. SuperMutant Magic Academy

Buy books from this list for Jackson’s classroom, or leave a cash donation so he can buy what he needs– or donate used copies of these titles that you have in your own library… Any way you can help will be greatly appreciated (maps might be great… a globe was just donated) and, most importantly, will provide the eighth graders in “Mr. Jackson’s” classes with tools they need to become smart and capable members of society. 

Any books bought at Bird & Beckett for this purpose will be discounted 10%
Purchases of $150 or more will receive a 15% discount.

Thanks for helping out! 

Thanks to all who have already!



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