I consider myself an advocate, and I wear the label proudly. However, the meaning of the word and my ownership of it is something I often debate with myself – over and over and over. I’m not physically standing with people needing my help, speaking on their behalf, running campaigns or fighting for justice. And that feels wrong. But I am reading. I am reading and I’m shouting from the rooftops about books that have made me see the world in a different way.

Here are six of the books that have made a major impact on me. They are the titles that I recommend highly to anyone looking to better understand the related issues and ones that have spurred me to read more deeply on the topics at hand.

Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli

This insightful essay brings to life the voices of immigrant children and those dealing with the immigration process in America.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson 

Bryan Stevenson was new to the world of law when he got involved in a complicated case of a man suspected of murder. Before Bryan knows it, he’s in the middle of a conspiracy that he had never anticipated that will change the way he looks at the justice system forever.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

This New York Times bestseller covers difficult topics of privilege, race, police brutality and more. Oluo tries to bridge the gap between where we are now as a society and where we should be in terms of race and equality.

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Focused on the tragic deaths of young indigenous students, this book centers on the ways in which these children’s cases are treated differently than others. Having ignored solutions to solve this problem, Seven Fallen Feathers digs for the truth in a world where lives are being taken too young.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Matthew Desmond is a sociologist on a mission to uncover the poverty crisis in Evicted. Following the lives of eight families in Milwaukee, he tracks the daily struggles of those who fear they’ll lose their home every day.

Landwhale: On Turning Insults Into Nicknames, Why Body Image is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My Ass by Jes Baker

Jes Baker hasn’t always had such a positive view of her body and in Landwhale, she uncovers her history with bullying and all the times she has been judged for her size. In addition to stories from her past, Jes also provides encouragement to anyone who is also struggling with their own body image and self-confidence.