75 books like The Wake Up

By Michelle MiJung Kim,

Here are 75 books that The Wake Up fans have personally recommended if you like The Wake Up. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Bethany Stahl Author Of Save the Ocean

From my list on non-fiction that inspire you to love earth.

Who am I?

I am an author, illustrator, herbalist, and aromatherapist with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. I’ve spent years working with native flora and fauna from propagating endangered plants back into their natural habitats and swimming through alligator-infested waters to rescue baby manatees who’ve been abandoned. This list is a look into the wonderful works that have touched me deeply and pivoted me deeper into understanding the world we share.

Bethany's book list on non-fiction that inspire you to love earth

Bethany Stahl Why did Bethany love this book?

I loved diving deeply into my personal connection with Mother Earth.

Robin Wall Kimmerer brings a knowledgeable and spiritual connection that has left me appreciating the native sweetgrass and flora in my yard as something deeper and more profound than their ecological definition. Forever now will I see sweetgrass as the hair of Mother Earth.

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

43 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…


Book cover of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

Hajar Yazdiha Author Of The Struggle for the People's King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on understanding revisionist history politics.

Who am I?

I studied forty years of the political misuses of the memory of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement as a sociologist at USC and the daughter of Iranian immigrants who has always been interested in questions of identity and belonging. My interest in civil rights struggles started early, growing up in Virginia, a state that celebrated the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday alongside Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. I wanted to understand how revisionist histories could become the mainstream account of the past and how they mattered for the future of democracy.

Hajar's book list on understanding revisionist history politics

Hajar Yazdiha Why did Hajar love this book?

When I read this book on how the stories of slavery are remembered and strategically forgotten in different places among different groups, I remember being blown away by how its larger message resonated with the one I was drawing out in my book.

Through different moments in the racial past, we were both speaking to the dangers of distorting and erasing the messiness of the nation’s past. 

Clint Smith also writes with the most beautiful prose and so beautifully humanizes the power of reckonings and the violence of their absence.

By Clint Smith,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked How the Word Is Passed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NON-FICTION

'A beautifully readable reminder of how much of our urgent, collective history resounds in places all around us that have been hidden in plain sight.' Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish)

Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks - those that are honest about the past and those that are not - which offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in…


Book cover of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Monna Wong Author Of Management In a Changing World: How to Manage for Equity, Sustainability, and Results

From my list on helping managers build resilience in challenging times.

Who am I?

I’ve been a manager and leader in social justice nonprofits and campaigns for almost 15 years. A lot of my work has been in fast-paced environments with high stakes and few resources. Consequently, I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to lead effectively under less-than-ideal conditions—whether that’s because of a tough political climate, financial constraints, or supporting staff through personal crises. I know from experience that social justice leaders and managers are often called to show up as our best selves so that we can support our teams to do their best work. In order to do this, we need to build our internal reserves to lead effectively. 

Monna's book list on helping managers build resilience in challenging times

Monna Wong Why did Monna love this book?

Emergent Strategy draws lessons from both the natural world and science fiction (inspired by Octavia Butler’s work) to provide guidance and wisdom for organizing and movement work.

adrienne maree brown offers a smorgasbord of principles, concepts, quotes, and stories to support organizers and leaders to solve complex problems, instigate social change, and create lasting impact. This book is a great source of inspiration for managers and leaders feeling stuck in the face of great uncertainty.

By Adrienne Maree Brown,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Emergent Strategy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Octavia Butler, radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help to shape the futures we want.

Inspired by Octavia Butler's explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This…


Book cover of Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism

Tanja Hester Author Of Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar You Spend, Earn, and Save as a Force for Change

From my list on to equip you to fight for change.

Who am I?

I have spent 20+ years working on the question of how social and environmental change happens, from my long-time career in progressive politics to my current work writing about the most pressing issues of our time through an economic lens, and occasionally talking about them on my podcast, also called Wallet Activism. So I know well how intimidating it can feel to get involved, whether it’s worrying your voice isn’t needed (trust me, it is!) or not knowing the nuts and bolts of where to start. But we have so much power when we act collectively, and I want you to feel personally invited to take action.

Tanja's book list on to equip you to fight for change

Tanja Hester Why did Tanja love this book?

My secret theory (or formerly secret, anyway) is that if books had best friends, my book's BFF would be this book. Aja and I were clearly on the same wavelength when writing our books, and there are many common threads, but Consumed takes a much deeper dive into consumerism broadly and the fashion industry specifically, tying environmental and worker exploitation concerns together seamlessly. You’ll come away with real resolve to consume much less, as well as clarity on how to push producers of goods you buy to do much, much better.

By Aja Barber,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Consumed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

***

'This powerful, speaking-truth-to-power book is an essential read for everybody who wants to stop feeling clueless and helpless about the impacts of cosumerism, and start doing their part to help create a more sustainable world' - Layla Saad

'A critique on what we buy, how it's made and the systems behind it that make an unfair and broken cycle' - New York Times

'The book is a blueprint for anyone who wants to do better' - VOGUE

'SUCH integrity. Aja is no bullsh*t.' - Florence Given

'Consumed takes us through the hideously complex topic of fashion and sustainability, from…


Book cover of Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It

Tanja Hester Author Of Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar You Spend, Earn, and Save as a Force for Change

From my list on to equip you to fight for change.

Who am I?

I have spent 20+ years working on the question of how social and environmental change happens, from my long-time career in progressive politics to my current work writing about the most pressing issues of our time through an economic lens, and occasionally talking about them on my podcast, also called Wallet Activism. So I know well how intimidating it can feel to get involved, whether it’s worrying your voice isn’t needed (trust me, it is!) or not knowing the nuts and bolts of where to start. But we have so much power when we act collectively, and I want you to feel personally invited to take action.

Tanja's book list on to equip you to fight for change

Tanja Hester Why did Tanja love this book?

Ignore the word “youth” in the title, because this is not just a book for kids and teens! Jamie is a young, queer activist who has achieved some impressive activism victories at a young age, but best of all, she combines real activist know-how with a sense of hope and optimism that’s hard to find in older activists. This book is an excellent guide to getting involved and staying involved anywhere from the local level up to a global scale. This is a must-read for people who are fired up to take action but don’t know where to start.

By Jamie Margolin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Youth to Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 1963 Children's March in Birmingham, Alabama. Tiananmen Square, 1989. The 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests. March for Our Lives, and School Strike for Climate. What do all these social justice movements have in common? They were led by passionate, informed, engaged young people. Jamie Margolin has been organizing and protesting since she was fourteen years old. Now the co-leader of a global climate action movement, she knows better than most how powerful a young person can be. You don't have to be able to vote or hold positions of power to change the world.

In Youth to Power, Jamie…


Book cover of As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock

Tanja Hester Author Of Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar You Spend, Earn, and Save as a Force for Change

From my list on to equip you to fight for change.

Who am I?

I have spent 20+ years working on the question of how social and environmental change happens, from my long-time career in progressive politics to my current work writing about the most pressing issues of our time through an economic lens, and occasionally talking about them on my podcast, also called Wallet Activism. So I know well how intimidating it can feel to get involved, whether it’s worrying your voice isn’t needed (trust me, it is!) or not knowing the nuts and bolts of where to start. But we have so much power when we act collectively, and I want you to feel personally invited to take action.

Tanja's book list on to equip you to fight for change

Tanja Hester Why did Tanja love this book?

Sure, you can read lots of environmental books by non-Indigenous writers about the climate crisis, and some of them even offer a solution or two! But Dina’s book, which chronicles the intertwined histories of colonization against Indigenous peoples in the Americas and widespread environmental injustice, paints a much fuller picture of the problems we’re facing and their origins and offers a range of helpful models for fighting back against the entities who’ve created the climate crisis and now refuse to act to address it.

By Dina Gilio-Whitaker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As Long as Grass Grows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of Native peoples’ resistance to environmental injustice and land incursions, and a call for environmentalists to learn from the Indigenous community’s rich history of activism

Through the unique lens of “Indigenized environmental justice,” Indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker explores the fraught history of treaty violations, struggles for food and water security, and protection of sacred sites, while highlighting the important leadership of Indigenous women in this centuries-long struggle. As Long As Grass Grows gives readers an accessible history of Indigenous resistance to government and corporate incursions on their lands and offers new approaches to environmental justice activism…


Book cover of Anti-Racist Ally: An Introduction to Activism and Action

Tanja Hester Author Of Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar You Spend, Earn, and Save as a Force for Change

From my list on to equip you to fight for change.

Who am I?

I have spent 20+ years working on the question of how social and environmental change happens, from my long-time career in progressive politics to my current work writing about the most pressing issues of our time through an economic lens, and occasionally talking about them on my podcast, also called Wallet Activism. So I know well how intimidating it can feel to get involved, whether it’s worrying your voice isn’t needed (trust me, it is!) or not knowing the nuts and bolts of where to start. But we have so much power when we act collectively, and I want you to feel personally invited to take action.

Tanja's book list on to equip you to fight for change

Tanja Hester Why did Tanja love this book?

There are a bunch of great anti-racism books out there, but few are all about taking action, as Sophie’s book is. Because I’m guessing if you’ve made it this far into my recommendation list, you are already familiar with anti-racism and many of the systemic problems we must address, and just want someone to point you in the right direction to do the work. This is a great book for that! It’s short but packed with practical tips.

By Sophie Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anti-Racist Ally as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Gives you the information you need to begin, or continue, your understanding of what it means to be a true anti-racist ally' Pippa Vosper

Do you want to be an anti-racist ally?

This punchy, pocket-sized guide shows you how, whether you're using your voice for the first time, or are looking for ways to keep the momentum and make long lasting change.

Sophie Williams' no-holds-barred posts about racism and Black Lives Matter on @officialmillennialblack have taken the online world by storm. Sharp, simple and insightful, they get to the heart of anti-racist principles and show us all how to truly…


Book cover of Gather

Monna Wong Author Of Management In a Changing World: How to Manage for Equity, Sustainability, and Results

From my list on helping managers build resilience in challenging times.

Who am I?

I’ve been a manager and leader in social justice nonprofits and campaigns for almost 15 years. A lot of my work has been in fast-paced environments with high stakes and few resources. Consequently, I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to lead effectively under less-than-ideal conditions—whether that’s because of a tough political climate, financial constraints, or supporting staff through personal crises. I know from experience that social justice leaders and managers are often called to show up as our best selves so that we can support our teams to do their best work. In order to do this, we need to build our internal reserves to lead effectively. 

Monna's book list on helping managers build resilience in challenging times

Monna Wong Why did Monna love this book?

Gather is a collection of poetry and musings. Each section starts with a saying, followed by insights and reflections from Octavia Raheem, and closes out with a reflection question for the reader to ruminate on.

I love pulling out this book when I’m in a rut and need something to spark honest introspection and creativity. The section on “rest” offers important reminders (“Sometimes the next right step is to take a pause”) for managers and leaders who are often running from one thing to the next, fueled by the urgency of their work.

By Octavia F Raheem, Brook Blander (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gather as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Jesus and the Disinherited

Decoteau J. Irby Author Of Stuck Improving: Racial Equity and School Leadership

From my list on equity-focused school reform for educators.

Who am I?

Every teacher from pre-Kindergarten to higher education, who has experienced and understands what it means to be committed to equity and to practice transformation but still not see the kinds of outcomes expected, needed, or deserved among students of color. These students of color, particularly Black and Brown students, tend to be grossly underserved in and through the educational system. Decoteau Irby amplifies the humanity of those young people and situates them in the context of suburbia, an understudied place and space among Black and Brown communities. 

Decoteau's book list on equity-focused school reform for educators

Decoteau J. Irby Why did Decoteau love this book?

This book is a profound reflection on the relationship between Christianity and social justice.

Thurman argues that Jesus was himself a member of an oppressed minority and that his teachings were aimed at empowering the disenfranchised. He goes on to explore the ways in which the African American community can draw on the teachings of Jesus to find strength and hope in the face of systemic injustice.

One of the most striking aspects of the book is the way in which Thurman uses language; his writing is poetic and evocative, and he has a gift for articulating complex ideas in a way that is both accessible and profound. It's no wonder that this book was such an important influence on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement as a whole.

By Howard Thurman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jesus and the Disinherited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Famously known as the text that Martin Luther King Jr. sought inspiration from in the days leading up to the Montgomery bus boycott, Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited helped shape the civil rights movement and changed our nation’s history forever.

In this classic theological treatise, the acclaimed theologian and religious leader Howard Thurman (1900-1981) demonstrates how the gospel may be read as a manual of resistance for the poor and disenfranchised. Jesus is a partner in the pain of the oppressed and the example of His life offers a solution to ending the descent into moral nihilism. Hatred does…


Book cover of Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

Jo Miles Author Of Warped State

From my list on sci-fi and non-fiction about taking on greedy corporations.

Who am I?

My day job has always involved working with nonprofits, and my favorites are activist organizations. The grassroots organizers I’ve worked with are some of the most impressive people I know. Despite what science fiction stories often tell us, change doesn’t come from blowing up the Death Star, but from hard work and relentless optimism. At a time when corporations are growing ever more powerful, ChatGPT wants to take our jobs, and politics can be dismally depressing, I hope these books remind you that power is never absolute, and the future is what we make of it.

Jo's book list on sci-fi and non-fiction about taking on greedy corporations

Jo Miles Why did Jo love this book?

This one’s a bit different: a collection of short stories written by activists and community organizers.

I’ve always believed that activism is much like science fiction: both are all about seeing the world as it is and imagining how it could be different, and these stories are like a masterclass in imagining social change: some heartwarming, some chilling, all unique. Short fiction is a perfect medium to get bite-sized pieces of many different imagined futures.

By Adrienne Maree Brown (editor), Walidah Imarisha (editor),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Octavia's Brood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whenever we envision a world without war, prisons, or capitalism, we are producing speculative fiction. Organizers and activists envision, and try to create, such worlds all the time. Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown have brought 20 of them together in the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. These visionary tales span genres—sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magical realism—but all are united by an attempt to inject a healthy dose of imagination and innovation into our political practice and to try on new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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