We hope these selections serve to educate and encourage a dialogue on topics surrounding gun violence. This list includes titles to support difficult emotions triggered by gun violence with themes of community strength, loss, and trauma.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn’s fatal shooting, seven ghosts, who knew Shawn, board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.
Available formats: Book, Ebook (Media on Demand by OverDrive), Audiobook (Media on Demand by OverDrive)
Minutes after the principal of Opportunity High School in Alabama finishes her speech welcoming the student body to a new semester, they discover that the auditorium doors will not open and someone starts shooting as four teens, each with a personal reason to fear the shooter, tell the tale from separate perspectives.
Available formats: Book, Ebook (Media on Demand by OverDrive), Ebook (Hoopla)
We can be Heroes by Kyire McCauley
After a girl is killed by her ex-boyfriend in a school shooting, her two best friends attempt to memorialize her in a town economically dependent on the shooter’s family.
Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla), Ebook (Media on Demand by OverDrive), Audiobook (Hoopla)
A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and friends, Annabelle, eighteen, runs from Seattle to Washington, D.C., becoming a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to her recent trauma.
Available format: Book
That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger
In the three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre, a story has grown up around one of the victims, Sarah McHale, that says she died proclaiming her Christian faith–but Leanne Bauer was there, and knows what happened, and she has a choice: stay silent and let people believe in Sarah’s martyrdom, or tell the truth.
Available formats: Book, Ebook (Media on Demand by OverDrive)
How We Ricochet by Faith Gardner
Betty, her sister and mother were all shopping at the mall when the shooting happened — and although they all survived, none of them would be the same after. Betty watches her mother throw herself into activism and away from her family, while her outgoing sister becomes a shadow of her former self. Desperate for answers, Betty finds herself reaching out to the shooter’s brother, but all it does is reveal that nothing in life is simple to understand.
Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla), Audiobook (Hoopla)
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Sixteen-year-old Valerie, whose boyfriend Nick committed a school shooting at the end of their junior year, struggles to cope with integrating herself back into high school life, unsure herself whether she was a hero or a villain.
Available formats: Book, Ebook (Media on Demand by OverDrive), Audiobook (Hoopla)
Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting by Kindra Neely
Kindra Neely never expected it to happen to her. No one does. Sure, she’d sometimes been close to gun violence. But now she lived in Oregon, where she spent her time swimming in rivers with friends or attending classes at the bucolic Umpqua Community College. And then, one day, it happened: a mass shooting shattered her college campus. Over the span of a few minutes, on October 1, 2015, eight students and a professor lost their lives. And suddenly, Kindra became a survivor. This empathetic and ultimately hopeful graphic memoir recounts Kindra’s journey forward from those few minutes that changed everything. Kindra learned that–for her–the path toward hope wound through art, helping others, and sharing her story.
Available Format: Book
The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson
In the aftermath of a school tragedy, May and Zach struggle with grief, survivor’s guilt, and the complex emotional impact of the event, learning how to heal and hope in the face of it all.
Available format: Audiobook (Media on Demand by OverDrive)
Thoughts & Prayers: A Novel in Three Parts by Bryan Bliss
Thoughts & Prayers follows three high school students in the aftermath of a school shooting. A story about gun violence, but more importantly it is the story of what happens after the reporters leave and the news cycle moves on to the next tragedy. It is the story of three unforgettable teens who feel forgotten.
Available format: Ebook (Media on Demand by OverDrive)
Enough is Enough: How Students can Join the Fight for Gun Safety by Michelle Roehm McCann
This handbook deftly explains America’s gun violence issues – myths and facts, causes and perpetrators, solutions and change-makers – and provides a road map for effective activism. Told in three parts, Enough Is Enough also explores how America got to this point and the obstacles we must overcome, including historical information about the Second Amendment, the history of guns in America, and an overview of the NRA. Informative chapters include interviews with teens who have survived gun violence and student activists who are launching their own movements across the country.
Available format: Book
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