Shortlists Released for Social Justice Book Prizes

Twelve Exceptional Nonfiction Books Address Social Issues for Young People and Adults

A tan background with a green border and images of the following books: Art Of Protest; Pocket Change Collective: Concrete Kids; Pura’s Cuentos; Something Happened In Our Park; Tani`s New Home; Without Separation; A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door; Controlling Women; In the Shadow Of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Are Plundering Our Cities; Children Under Fire; The Hospital; and Undoing Drugs

[NEW YORK, NY, October 4, 2021] Goddard Riverside is pleased to announce the shortlists for the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice and the Goddard Riverside CBC Youth Book Prize for Social Justice. The winners of both prizes will be announced on October 18 at the Goddard Riverside Annual Gala

The youth prize recognizes nonfiction books for children and teens related to urban life and issues that support values such as community, equality, opportunity, mutual understanding, respect, caring and justice – in accordance with Goddard Riverside’s mission. Its shortlist is: 

Art Of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art For Your Revolution by De Nichols [Candlewick Press]. Discover the power of words and images in this thought-provoking look at protest art. 

Pocket Change Collective: Concrete Kids by Amyra Leon; illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky [Penguin Workshop]. Drawing on her personal experiences, León gives a voice to the foster care system, systematic racism, and what it means to be a Black girl moving through the world. 

Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories by Annette Bay Pimentel; illustrated by Magaly Morales [Harry N. Abrams]. Pura’s Cuentos captures the exuberant spirit and passion of Pura Belpré: celebrated storyteller, author, folklorist, and the first Latina librarian in New York City. 

Something Happened In Our Park: Standing Together After Gun Violence by Ann Hazzard, Marietta Collins and Marianne Celano [Magination Press]. When Miles’s cousin Keisha is injured in a shooting, he realizes people can work together to reduce the likelihood of violence in their community. 

Tani`s New Home: A Refugee Finds Hope and Kindness In America by Tanitoluwa (Tani) Adewumi, illustrated by Courtney Dawson [Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian Publishing]. The true story of Tani Adewumi, a Nigerian refugee who garnered international news coverage after winning the New York State Chess Championship at the age of eight. 

Without Separation: Prejudice, Segregation, and the Case of Roberto Alverez, by Larry Dane Brimner, illustrated by Maya Gonzalez [Calkins Creek]. Roberto Alvarez was a student whose 1931 court battle against racism and school segregation in Lemon Grove, California, is considered the first time an immigrant community used the courts to successfully fight injustice. 

The Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice, now in its fifth year, celebrates the power of the written word to create change in the name of justice for all. It’s named for our former executive director, Stephan Russo, and honors his appreciation of the works that help us understand the issues of our day.

The shortlisted titles are: 

A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School by Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire [The New Press]. The co-hosts of the education podcast Have You Heard lay out the increasingly potent network of conservative elected officials, advocacy groups, funders, and think tanks that have aligned behind a radical vision to unmake public education. 

Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom by Kathryn Kolbert & Julie F. Kay [Hachette Books]. This account of the battle for reproductive freedom includes a new strategy to safeguard reproductive rights, from two lawyers at the forefront of the movement. 

In the Shadow Of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Are Plundering Our Cities by Davarian L. Baldwin [Bold Type Books/Hachette]. Across America, universities have become big businesses—and our cities their company towns. But there is a cost to those who live in their shadow. 

Children Under Fire: An American Crisis by John Woodrow Cox [Ecco/HarperCollins]. An intimate account of the devastating effects of gun violence on our nation’s children, and a call to action for a new way forward. 

The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in A Small American Town by Brian Alexander [St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan]. By following the struggle for survival of one small-town hospital, and the patients who walk, or are carried, through its doors, The Hospital takes readers into the world of the American medical industry. 

Undoing Drugs:  The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction by Maia Szalavitz [Hachette Go]. The tale of a quirky political movement that has unexpectedly shaken the foundations of world drug policy. 


For more than 100 years, Goddard Riverside has been committed to investing in people and strengthening community by meeting New Yorkers’ most essential needs. Goddard provides comprehensive educational, cultural and recreational programs for New Yorker of all ages, including early childhood education, after school, employment support, college access, youth programs, homeless outreach, senior centers and legal assistance. 

The Children’s Book Council (CBC) is the nonprofit trade association of children’s book publishers in North America, dedicated to supporting the industry and promoting children’s books and reading. The CBC also coordinates the national programs of Every Child a Reader, including Children’s Book Week, now in its 102nd year; Get Caught Reading; the Kids’ Book Choice Award, and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, currently Jason Reynolds.