Want to learn more and go deeper?
Here are some additional resources:
Nonfiction: because sometimes you just want the facts
#Never Again: A New Generation Draws the Line,
by David Hogg and Lauren Hogg (Random House, 2018)
Written by survivors of the Parkland massacre, this is their story and their statement of intent for the movement they launched. Their generation is standing up to the inaction of our politicians and is determined to overcome all obstacles in their way. This is their guidebook to the #NeverAgain movement and student activism.
The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know,
by Philip J. Cook and Kristin A. Goss (Oxford University Press, 2014)
Written in Q&A format, the book explains the statistics and rhetoric surrounding the America’s gun debate. This book is helpful for getting a clear, fact-based account of the issues surrounding guns America.
Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, by Adam Winkler (W. W. Norton & Co., 2013)
This book looks at the history of America’s battle over gun control and the right to bear arms, since the ratification of the Second Amendment in 1791. It gives a detailed look into the emotional debate currently raging in our country.
Kids and Guns: The History, the Present, the Dangers, the Risk, and the Remedies, by Ted Schwarz (Franklin Watts, 1999)
This book looks at the history of guns, questions around gun ownership, and the link between guns and violence that impacts young people all across America.
Over Our Dead Bodies: Port Arthur and Australia’s Fight for Gun Control, by Simon Chapman (Sydney University Press, 2013)
This book gives an account of Australia’s historic action around gun violence prevention, after their deadliest mass shooting when the government managed to unite the country and took action to dramatically reduce the country’s gun violence.
The Second Amendment: A Biography, by Michael Waldman (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
This book explains the most contentious and misinterpreted provision in the Bill of Rights—the Second Amendment. What does it mean? A look at the history reveals some unexpected answers.
Shot: 101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America, by Kathy Shorr (PowerHouse Books, 2017)
In 101 photos, this book highlights survivors from across America (from all races and ethnicities) who have been shot and survived and have a story to tell. Most of the pictures were taken at the shooting locations.
Fight Like a Mother, by Shannon Watts (HarperOne, 2019)
The incredible account how one mother’s cry for change became the driving force behind gun safety progress. Along with stories of perseverance, courage, and compassion, Watts shines a light on the unique power of women—starting with what they have, leading with their maternal strengths, and doubling down instead of backing down.
Fiction: because sometimes a good story can help you gain a deeper understanding
All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015)
Sixteen-year-old Quinn witnesses a police officer brutally beat classmate Rashad after he is accused of stealing. The officer is the older brother of Quinn’s best friend. The story unfolds through Rashad’s and Quinn’s alternating voices.
And We Stay, by Jenny Hubbard (Delacourt Press, 2014)
After her ex-boyfriend shoots himself, seventeen-year-old Emily is sent away to a boarding school. There she begins to express her feelings through poetry as she relives their love, deals with with her guilt, and starts to heal.
Bang! by Sharon Flake (Hyperion, 2005)
Thirteen-year-old Mann has already had to deal with plenty of tragedy in his young life. His little brother was shot and each member of his family is dealing with the experience in a different way. Mann tells the story of his collapsing family and his own self-destructive actions as he faces the harsh realities of inner-city life.
The Day Tajon Got Shot, by Teen Writers of Beacon House (Shout Mouse Press, 2017)
Written by ten teenage girls from Washington DC during the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, their story is about sixteen-year-old Tajon. He’s a good kid who works hard and has big dreams. He is determined to get out of the hood. Then, one day, Tajon gets shot. Each writer takes on the voice of a character in the story—Tajon, the police officer, a parent, a friend—to explore race, violence, and justice in America today.
Endgame, by Nancy Garden (Harcourt, 2006)
This is the story of Gray Wilton, a fifteen-year-old who is bullied at school by his peers, and at home by his father. His response is to go on a shooting rampage at his new high school. The book explores the impacts of bullying and it’s connection to gun violence.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, by Matthew Quick (Little, Brown and Co., 2013)
This novel follows a suicidal teen through his last day, as he says good-bye to the four most important people in his life.
Hate List, by Jennifer Brown (Little, Brown and Co., 2009)
Valerie’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire in their school cafeteria five months ago, killing several classmates. Val was shot while saving a classmate, but is still blamed for the shooting because of the Hate List she and Nick created together. Val must face the tragedy and her part in it in order to atone and move forward with her life.
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray, 2017)
After witnessing her friend Khalil get shot by a police officer, Starr doesn’t know what to do. If she tells what she saw, the police and a local drug lord may come after her and her family. But if she stays silent and lets Khalil become the bad guy in the media, how can she live with herself? Starr learns about the cost of staying silent and the power of speaking out.
How It Went Down, by Kekla Magoon (Henry Holt and Co., 2014)
When sixteen-year-old Tariq is shot to death, his community erupts in outrage: Tariq was black and the shooter is white. After the tragedy, everyone has a different version of how it went down.
Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017)
Fifteen-year-old Will is out for revenge for the shooting murder of his brother Shawn. But inside his apartment elevator, armed with his brother’s gun, he is visited by seven ghosts who knew Shawn and explain to Will the truth about his brother and the deadly path he is on.
Tyler Johnson Was Here, by Jay Coles (Little, Brown and Co., 2018)
When Marvin’s twin brother, Tyler, is shot and killed by a police officer, Marvin searches for answers and learns the true meaning of freedom.
Shooter, by Walter Dean Myers (Amistad/HarperTempest, 2004)
Told through interviews, reports, and journal entries, this is the story of three troubled teenagers that ends in a tragic school shooting.
The Stars Beneath Our Feet, by David Barclay Moore (Alfred A. Knopf, 2017)
After his older brother is killed in a gang-related shooting, Lolly tries to avoid being forced into a gang himself while constructing a beautiful, imaginative LEGO city at his community center.
This Is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp (Sourcebooks Fire, 2016)
After the principal finishes welcoming students to a new year, they discover they are locked in the auditorium as someone starts shooting. Four teen narrators, each with a different reason to fear the shooter, tell the story from alternating perspectives.
Underwater, by Marisa Reichardt (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016)
After a mass shooting at her high school, Morgan has become agoraphobic. She can’t go outside without having a panic attack. But when a new boy moves in next door, she starts to long for the life she is avoiding.
Unlocked, by Ryan G. Van Cleave (Walker & Co, 2011)
Andy is an outcast at his school. When he befriends another outcast, he discovers the boy may be planning a school shooting. A fascinating look at what it feels like to be the only one who can prevent a tragedy.
Violent Ends: A Novel in Seventeen Points of View, by Neal Shusterman et al. (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
This uniquely structured book relates how one boy, who had never been in trouble before, turns into a monster capable of shooting his classmates. The story is told in the alternating voices of several victims, each written by a different YA writer.
When I Was the Greatest, by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014)
Ali and his sister Jazz stay out of trouble in their Bed-Stuy neighborhood known for guns and drugs. Until one night they go to the wrong party and one of them gets hurt, and the other becomes a target.
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, by Greg Neri (Lee & Low Books, 2010)
A graphic novel based on the true story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, an eleven-year-old gang member in Chicago who shot a young girl and was then shot by his own gang members in 1994. The story is told from the perspective of Roger, a friend trying to make sense of what happened and how Yummy could do what he did.