• Harmony, Hope & Healing

Back To School Reading List

For those who are not going back to school but are still yearning for a great reading list.... Never fear! Harmony, Hope & Healing has you covered! HHH’s staff, volunteers and board are a wonderfully diverse group of individuals, so we hope this list will have something for everyone!


Most of these books have an uplifting, inspiring message, some deal with aspects of community, and others are simply beautiful pieces of writing. We hope you enjoy this back to school reading list chosen by Harmony, Hope & Healing!


Marge Nykaza, Executive Director

"Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz

"Don Miguel Ruiz, is a Mexican author of Toltec spiritualist and neo-shamanistic texts. We often discuss the Four Agreements in our classes." -Marge


Be impeccable with your word.

Don't take anything personally.

Don't make assumptions.

Always do your best.











Crystal Boone, Program Assistant

"Until Today" by Iyanla Vanzant

“I read this book everyday.” -Crystal


"It’s a beautiful daily reflection and reminder that life is about loving, healing and service. This book is a favorite of many of our participants.” -Marge (this book is also on her list!)















Tina Villapando, Director of Programming

"Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family" by Daniel Bergner.

"It's based on the true life of Ryan Speedo Green, a black opera singer who had a difficult upbringing but literally used singing as a way out and to keep his hope alive with the help of some mentors/ teachers. It reminds me and reinforces our HHH mission- music can help heal our wounds and reconnect us with our authentic selves." -Tina












"Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship" by Father Gregory Boyle

"A powerful book about love, forgiveness, and kinship." -Tina



















Kim Crutcher, Board Member

[currently collecting HHH stories from participants, staff and volunteers]

"As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance (Indigenous Americas)" by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

“A great book about decolonizing our minds and our communities to bring greater balance and equality to all people, animals and landscapes." -Kim

















Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha

“Thought provoking, Afro-futuristic, sci-fi. The collection is an homage to sci-fi writer Octavia Butler.” -Kim







Lou Marek, Grants Manager

milk and honey by rupi kaur

"A collection of very readable and relatable poetry that is best described by the poet’s own words:


this is the journey of

surviving through poetry

this is the blood sweat tears

of twenty-one years

this is my heart

in your hands

this is

the hurting

the loving

the breaking

the healing






"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot

"This book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, who died from cervical cancer in the 1950’s, and her family and simultaneously discusses the history and ethical issues of race and class in medical research." -Lou
















Sophie Wingland, Program Manager

"Small Great Things" by Jodi Picoult

"Click here to go to her website. Be sure to scroll toward the bottom of the page to read a beautiful, introspective explanation about the author’s experience writing and researching this book. The author writes, 'There is a fire raging and we have two choices: we can turn our backs, or we can try to fight it. Yes, talking about racism is hard to do, and yes, we stumble over the words—but we who are white need to have this discussion amongst ourselves. Because then, even more of us will overhear and then, I hope, the conversation will spread.'" -Sophie






Skid Row Reader, collected by Dan Johnson

“When downtown resident Dan Johnson began teaching a once-weekly literacy course at the Midnight Mission in March 2015, he noticed what he describes as a “huge discrepancy” between the needs of the students and the materials that were being used to tutor them. It struck me that something a little bit more couched in a world that these students were familiar with would be a big benefit,” Johnson explains.


In late January of this year, Johnson—a production assistant and freelance writer, began teaching students using The Skid Row Reader, a textbook he published with the help of local writers” - La Weekly


From the intro: “ “[This book] is meant to seduce you into loving books. Our greatest hope is that it will inspire you to ask questions, stoke wonder, and follow your curiosity. …Pull any of the thousand threads of knowledge in the pages and beyond and you’ll discover a host of new perspectives on your city, your world, and your life.”

Click here to read the entire book!


We hope you enjoy! Stay tuned for our Greatest Hits Playlist coming out soon.


-Harmony, Hope & Healing

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