Books for Ferguson – UPDATED

11/28/14 We have a FOURTH list of titles for Ferguson! Believe it or not, we got through the third list in less than two days.  This is amazing, world.  These titles have been approved by Scott Bonner.  They fill gaps in Ferguson’s popular reading collection for teens (lots of African-American authors) and expand their collection of titles with Native American, Asian American, and Latin@ American protagonists.  There are also adult titles on this list.  None of these titles are currently held at the Ferguson branch and would be welcome additions to their shelves. Please read through the rest of the original post to find out specific instructions on how/why these titles were selected and how to get them shipped directly to Ferguson.

You may also still donate cash! Librarian Scott Bonner wants to use  these donations to possibly  hire a new librarian, which would be truly amazing.  You can donate via the Paypal link on their homepage.  If you’re having trouble linking to the current list, you can go to Powell’s “find a Wishlist” link and use the email booksforferguson @ gmail to locate the list called “Books for Ferguson IV”  Thank you for caring about libraries!

What has been happening in Ferguson, Missouri for the past few weeks has been absolutely enraging and heartbreaking on so many levels.  I don’t want to say it is shocking or unbelievable or HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN IN AMERICA because while what has been happening in Ferguson might seem “un-American” to me, it’s the America that so many people exist in. And that’s part of the warranted rage and heartbreak. While following the news about Ferguson on Twitter (by far the best place to get news on issues like this) I saw the hashtag #kidlit4justice” start.  The idea was to round up book suggestions about It was created and promoted by three of my favorite people on Twitter: Sarah Hamburg, Kids Like Us, and Ebony Thomas.   (Dr. Thomas also writes the amazing blog The Dark Fantastic, which should be on your must read list.) Lots of people chimed in with great suggestions.  There’s a Storify of their suggestions which is unmissable.

Twitter was also how I found out about the amazing work happening at the Ferguson Library.  In the wake of school being cancelled, the Ferguson Library went about creating a school and community place for the children of Ferguson. Teachers volunteered to come in and teach, classes were held at the library and a satellite location.  You can read all about it on the twitter for Ferguson Library.

Once Scott Bonner, the director of the Ferguson Library, indicated that their library would be open to taking donations, both of cash and of books, I saw many people willing to donate. I was heartened by this, but I was also concerned that people would send them things that end up not being useful for their collection and end up taking time and effort to get rid of.  So, following the example of annual book drive GuysLitWire hosts for Ballou Library, I thought the best approach was to create a list for people to buy from.  And what better way to start than with the suggestions from #KidLit4Justice?

Using the #KidLit4Justice tag and my own reader’s advisory knowledge, I created a list of 60 titles. I checked each title against the Ferguson Municipal Public Library District catalog to make sure that none of these titles are held at the Ferguson branch. Some were held at other branches in the system, some were not in the system at all. This first wave focuses titles that are about social activism, peace, building communities, healing from trauma, and dealing with emotions. There is a mix of fiction and non-fiction but they are all geared at children and teens.  Scott Bonner, Ferguson’s library director, has looked over and approved this list, so these are titles that will be welcomed and used at their branch.

Here’s the instructions (only slightly modified from GuysLitWire, thanks to the amazing Colleen Mondor for the guidance and inspiration!) on what you can do.  If you can’t buy a book for Ferguson, please share this list far and wide!

A wishlist for Ferguson has been created at Powell’s.

I chose Powell’s because they are an independent bookstore that has a huge stock and doesn’t have any of Amazon’s sketchiness. Feel free to check out the list, read more about the books, and make your selections as you see fit. While we prefer new it is perfectly fine to purchase used copies of a book , but make sure the book is in “standard” used condition. Also, if at all possible – especially when it comes to picture books – please select hardcover or library-bound.  These titles are more expensive, but they are better for library circulation.  (I’ve placed the preferred editions into the cart, but this is just a general reminder!)

Once you have made your selection(s) head to “checkout” and you will be prompted to inform Powell’s if the books were indeed bought from the wishlist. This lets the store know to mark them as “purchased” on the list. After that you need to provide your credit card info and also fill in the shipping address. (If you have already done this in the past the info will be saved to your Powells account.)

Here is where the books are going to:

Ferguson Public Library
ATTN: Scott Bonner
35 North Florissant Road
Ferguson, MO 63135
(314) 521-4820

I can’t remember if Powell’s lets you include a little note with your order, but if it does, feel free to do so. You can also share with @FergusonLibrary on Twitter so that you continue to boost the signal AND let them know what amazing books are coming their way.  Hopefully, if we get everything bought off this list we can use this method and work with Scott to add MORE titles of all kinds to their collection.

Ready to buy?  Ready to signal boost?  Ready to get these books on shelves in Ferguson today? Let’s go!

Please ask me any questions/make any suggestions in comments here or on Twitter.)


It took only a day to get 55 books sent to Ferguson!  Amazing.  So … I created a whole new list!  The procedure for sending them is the same.  Please let me know if you have questions, comments, or SUGGESTIONS!

MORE Books for Ferguson

If you’re having trouble linking to the current list, you can go to Powell’s “find a Wishlist” link and use the email booksforferguson @ gmail to locate the list called “More Books For Ferguson”.  Please let me know if you have other questions.

19 Responses to “Books for Ferguson – UPDATED”

  1. Scott Bonner

    Thank you so much! This is the absolute perfect list of books right now, exactly what will help the children of Ferguson sort through and understand what their parents are dealing with, and hopefully what they will see much less of.

  2. c

    Yes, space for little note. 1 book contributed. Good idea, thank you for making tangible.

  3. laura manivong

    Just dropped my own book in the mail today. (Sorry, Scott, I’m a couple days behind). Great effort here. Great cause. Peace to Ferguson.

  4. Nic

    This is a wonderful thing to do, and I’m so happy it’s been successful so far!

    I can’t seem to view the second list of books. Is the link working for everyone else?

    • Angie

      Nic – it’s working for me but I added the instructions on how to find them another way to the post, so try this: If you’re having trouble linking to the current list, you can go to Powell’s “find a Wishlist” link (here: and use the email booksforferguson @ gmail to locate the list called “More Books For Ferguson”. Please let me know if you have other questions. Thanks!

  5. Anon

    What a thoughtful idea. Thank you for putting together this list and raising awareness about the opportunity to make a donation. Books open up the world. Especially children’s books. It’s great to have such a thoughtfully considered set of books to choose from and a concrete, positive action to take in the face of such an overwhelmingly enormous situation. Hope you’re working on the “Yet More Books for Ferguson” list now–looks like you might need it!