Share 13 Powerful Books for Our Political Leaders

13 Powerful Books for Our Political Leaders

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

In honor of Presidents’ Day, we are offering thirteen books of hard-hitting nonfiction and heartrending novels that we think everyone should read, including our leaders.


This Changes Everything
by Naomi Klein

This is an essential text on the future of our planet and the future of the global economy. Naomi Klein argues that climate change can be an opportunity to radically transform our broken economic and cultural priorities.

This Changes Everything
Naomi Klein

This is an essential text on the future of our planet and the future of the global economy. Naomi Klein argues that climate change can be an opportunity to radically transform our broken economic and cultural priorities.

MENTIONED IN:

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All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
This beautiful, Pulitzer Prize–winning novel set during World War Two follows a blind French girl and a young German boy attending a brutal academy for Hitler Youth. At its heart, this is a story about what it means to be human, to have empathy, and to be brave in the face of the most difficult choices.
All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr

Already beloved by millions of readers, this novel follows a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as they both try to survive the devastation of World War II. The breakout hit of 2014, this beautiful novel was a finalist for the National Book Award and it just won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. If you haven't read it yet, this one should be at the top of your spring reading list.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Julianna Haubner | January 17, 2017

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The Distance Between Us
by Reyna Grande
A tremendous memoir about growing up in poverty in Mexico, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US is a deeply personal perspective amid the intensifying arguments about immigration around the world. This is a story about love, family, and sacrifice that knows no borders.
The Distance Between Us
Reyna Grande

Funny, heartbreaking, and lyrical, The Distance Between Us poignantly captures the confusion and contradictions of childhood, reminding us that the joys and sorrows we experience are imprinted on the heart forever, calling out to us of those places we first called home.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Powerful Books for Our Political Leaders

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 9, 2016

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By Eloy Bleifuss Prados | January 18, 2016

A Woman’s Guide to Latin America in 7 Books

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 11, 2014

Passion, Courage and Heartbreak: Living on Both Sides of el Otra Lada

By Etinosa Agbonlahor | April 24, 2014

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Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Written in the form of a powerful letter to his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates reflects on a series of revelatory experiences that helped him to understand America’s racial history, its current inequalities, and his visions for the future.
Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates

This profound winner of the National Book Award, hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” explores the biggest questions about America’s racial history through the intimate lens of a father’s concern for his son.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Off the Shelf Staff | February 9, 2016

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Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel
In this spellbinding novel, when a devastating flu pandemic brings civilization as we know it to an end, a small troupe of actors and musicians travel between the remaining settlements, dedicated to keeping the remnants of art, music, literature, and humanity alive.
Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel

For fans of “The Walking Dead”

While “The Walking Dead” hero Rick Grimes and his gang are keeping hope alive but losing their grip fast after a zombie apocalypse, STATION ELEVEN’s Kirsten Raymonde and her band, the Symphony, have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive after a mysterious pandemic has ravaged civilization.

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We Should All Be Feminists
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This personal, eloquent, and unique essay offers readers a definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—and for the next generations—which is rooted in inclusion and awareness.

We Should All Be Feminists
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This personal, eloquent, and unique essay offers readers a definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—and for the next generations—which is rooted in inclusion and awareness.

MENTIONED IN:

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I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head after she refused to be silenced or give up her right to go to school. Her memoir is the remarkable story of a family uprooted by global terrorism. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

I Am Malala
Malala Yousafzai

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head after she refused to be silenced or give up her right to go to school. Her memoir is the remarkable story of a family uprooted by global terrorism. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Helen Seachrist | December 28, 2015

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My Notorious Life
by Kate Manning

A memorable novel inspired by a real midwife, Axie Muldoon, who became one of the most controversial figures of Victorian New York City by defying the law in the name of women’s reproductive rights. This story is sure to further conversations about women’s rights issues that have been the subject of debate for centuries.

My Notorious Life
Kate Manning

A memorable novel inspired by a real midwife, Axie Muldoon, who became one of the most controversial figures of Victorian New York City by defying the law in the name of women’s reproductive rights. This story is sure to further conversations about women’s rights issues that have been the subject of debate for centuries.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Powerful Books for Our Political Leaders

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 9, 2016

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The Terrorist's Son
by Zak Ebrahim

Zak Ebrahim is an American boy who was raised by his terrorist father—the man who planned the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Ebrahim dispels the myth that terrorism is a forgone conclusion for people trained to hate. He shows that hate is always a choice—but so is tolerance.

The Terrorist's Son
Zak Ebrahim

Zak Ebrahim is an American boy who was raised by his terrorist father—the man who planned the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Ebrahim dispels the myth that terrorism is a forgone conclusion for people trained to hate. He shows that hate is always a choice—but so is tolerance.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Powerful Books for Our Political Leaders

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 9, 2016

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The New Jim Crow
by Michelle Alexander

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow—which argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it”—is such a book. By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the US criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. This is a must-read for all people of conscience.

The New Jim Crow
Michelle Alexander

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow—which argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it”—is such a book. By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the US criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. This is a must-read for all people of conscience.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Powerful Books for Our Political Leaders

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 9, 2016

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By Eloy Bleifuss Prados | January 18, 2016

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By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | February 26, 2015

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By Off the Shelf Staff | December 2, 2014

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The Time of Our Singing
by Richard Powers

In this beautiful and absorbing novel, a biracial American family raises three children who are coming of age in the Civil Rights era. This brilliant generation-bridging tale delineates the tragedy of race in America through the lives and choices of one family.

The Time of Our Singing
Richard Powers

In this beautiful and absorbing novel, a biracial American family raises three children who are coming of age in the Civil Rights era. This brilliant generation-bridging tale delineates the tragedy of race in America through the lives and choices of one family.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Powerful Books for Our Political Leaders

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 9, 2016

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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
by Ben Fountain
This razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America’s war in Iraq explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad. This heartbreaking and important novel is about a reluctant hero and the effects of war.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Ben Fountain

A luminous and savage depiction of post-9/11 America, as experienced by one young war hero attending a Dallas Cowboys game.

MENTIONED IN:

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Katrina
by Gary Rivlin

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, journalist Gary Rivlin traces the storm’s immediate damage and the efforts of New Orleans to rebuild itself. He recounts the storm’s lasting effects on the city’s geography and infrastructure, as well as on its psychic, racial, and social fabric.

Katrina
Gary Rivlin

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, journalist Gary Rivlin traces the storm’s immediate damage and the efforts of New Orleans to rebuild itself. He recounts the storm’s lasting effects on the city’s geography and infrastructure, as well as on its psychic, racial, and social fabric.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Powerful Books for Our Political Leaders

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 9, 2016

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