Reading Is Resistance is a small, local, grassroots organization started by North Portland educators and parents Farnell Newton and Zapoura Newton-Calvert in 2016. This project, inspired by the national Teaching for Change Social Justice Books Project, is rooted in a deep love for teaching, curiosity about how to learn together as a multi-racial family, and commitment to anti-racist parenting and education.  

Our mission is to create opportunities for Portland parents and teachers to start or expand diverse, inclusive home or classroom libraries & reading experiences for youth and children and for those libraries to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our community.

Promote reading as an act of resistance against white supremacist culture

Create book collection lists for parents and teachers to start or expand their diverse, inclusive library offerings.

Partner with Portland State University students to fund and procure diverse and inclusive books for partner classrooms and Little Free Libraries in Portland.

Encourage and start conversations among parenting and teaching folks about decolonizing our bookshelves and minds.

Explore the way our imaginations can help us create alternative possibilities for the world we’re in today. 



Critical Book Reviews for the Social Justice Book Project
(a national project of Teaching for Change)


Using the “See What We See” critical review technique, which focuses on equity in books for children and youth, Reading Is Resistance volunteers support the Social Justice Book Project in creating a robust collection of critically reviewed diverse/inclusive books, which serve as resources for teachers across the country.


Curated Book Lists for Teachers and Parents

Using an equity lens and anti-racist guidelines provided through the Social Justice Books Project, volunteers create, provide feedback on, and revise curated book lists that are shared with local educators and parents.  

Book Procurement/Fundraising

When teachers ask for our help in supporting the creation of more diverse/inclusive classroom libraries, we creatively work together to procure the books their students need.