Global Read Aloud Choices 2020 #GRA20

The past few weeks have been surreal, living in a time of a global pandemic and hardly ever leaving our house in order to safeguard ourselves and the world from a silent virus have shaken us to the core.  I have found myself reaching toward books now more than ever; finding solace within the pages of different worlds, reaching for picture books to pull my own children together after yet another day at home.  Reading aloud to my 7th graders as a way to extend our community and, of course, recommending and sharing more books, urging all of us to support our independent book stores, to support the creators that continue to make our world more beautiful whose appearances have been canceled.

We don’t know all the future will hold, but the need for connection and for finding each other in this time is a great as ever.   In its truest form, the GRA is an invitation into a world that we can share together.  An invitation into a story that will shape our experience, that will help us speak books with one another in order for us to understand each other better.  This year it feels more urgent than ever.  Every year I see the connections being made and think of each of them as a small chip in the many walls that seem to surround us around the world, I see it as one more step toward a more empathetic, understanding, and activist society.

And so the books are at the center of it all, which puts a lot of pressure on the selection of the texts.  Hitting publish on this post will once again mean me holding my breath, waiting for the reaction to unfold worldwide.  And yet, it also means that perhaps these books will change the way we think, the way we teach.  That these books and the creators behind them will become part of the language of books that we speak with our students.  That we will connect through the pages of these books and find ourselves more than we were before.  I cannot wait for that to happen.

The books chosen this year were once again a combination of the winners of the voting rounds and my own selection based on gut instinct.  The project kicks off October 5th, 2020, to sign up go here.

Please consider ordering the books from– an independent bookstore that partners with local independent bookstores to sell books. You can see the winner list here and support The Global Read Aloud at the same time.


Juana Martinez-Neal - The Author Village

This year’s chosen creator is Juana Martinez-Neal!

Juana Martinez-Neal is the recipient of the 2019 Caldecott Honor for Alma and How She Got Her Name, her debut picture book as author-illustrator, which was simultaneously released in Spanish as Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre. She was also awarded the 2018 Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration for La Princesa and the Pea, written by Susan Middleton Elya.

Juana is the illustrator of La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for los Niños, Babymoon, Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, and Swashby and the Sea. She was named to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honor list in 2014, and was awarded the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Grand Prize in 2012.

Juana was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She is the daughter and granddaughter of artists. She now lives in Arizona, with her husband, three children and two dogs.

Week 1:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 4:

Week 5:

Week 6:

Your Choice


Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by [Mian, Zanib]

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian and illustrated by Nasaya Mafardik!

Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar!

Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?!

But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country . . . Could that possibly be true?

Luckily, Omar’s enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life’s ups and downs.


Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorell!

Regina Petit’s family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says Regina’s tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes “Indian no more” overnight–even though she was given a number by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that counted her as Indian, even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

With no good jobs available in Oregon, Regina’s father signs the family up for the Indian Relocation program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She’s never met kids of other races, and they’ve never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.

Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it’s not that easy. It’s 1957 during the Civil Rights Era. The family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis’s own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian? Is she American? And will she and her family ever be okay?


Prairie Lotus by [Park, Linda Sue]

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park!

Prairie Lotus is a book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father’s shop, and making at least one friend. Hanna, a half-Asian girl in a small town in America’s heartland, lives in 1880. Hanna’s adjustment to her new surroundings, and the townspeople’s prejudice against Asians, is at the heart of the story.


Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi!

This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.

The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

To order your books:

There you have it; another amazing year of connecting awaits.  Read the books, share the books, and get ready for another opportunity to make the world smaller.

Please consider ordering the books from– an independent bookstore that partners with local independent bookstores to sell books. You can see the winner list here and support The Global Read Aloud at the same time.

If you need to order through Amazon, please order it through this affiliate link, the cents earned from it goes to purchasing and shipping books to those who cannot get them.

PS:  If you still need to sign up, please go here.


19 thoughts on “Global Read Aloud Choices 2020 #GRA20

  1. Skurulsky, Kim says:

    I got this today. I was disappointed in the book selection because I’ve always liked doing an author study. These are different authors with the same illustrator.

    Kim Skurulsky 1st/2nd Grade Teacher Heyer Elementary School

    On Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 12:36 PM The Global Read Aloud wrote:

    > Pernille Ripp posted: “The past few weeks have been surreal, living in a > time of a global pandemic and hardly ever leaving our house in order to > safeguard ourselves and the world from a silent virus have shaken us to the > core. I have found myself reaching toward books now more” >

    • Pernille Ripp says:

      I am sorry you were disappointed in the choices, I think they are incredible. And we have done an illustrator before which is an incredible way to study art through the project and storytelling.

    • Colleen W says:

      Really? Pernille works tirelessly for the GRA and you took the time to actually tell her you were disappointed?? Here are some other solutions to your “problem”: Think outside the box and do an illustrator study (surely you thought of that?). Or maybe just skip it this go-round if you struggle to make connections with the chosen books. The best solution of all – don’t tell someone who’s working so hard, purely based on her passion for creating readers, that you’re disappointed in their effort and work.

      I rarely comment on sites like this, but for Pete’s sake!

  2. Monteiro, Catherine says:


    This is cool. Check out the young adult title. I always do the elementary read aloud.



    On Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 1:37 PM The Global Read Aloud wrote:

    > Pernille Ripp posted: “The past few weeks have been surreal, living in a > time of a global pandemic and hardly ever leaving our house in order to > safeguard ourselves and the world from a silent virus have shaken us to the > core. I have found myself reaching toward books now more” >

  3. KH says:

    I love the GRA and look forward to the new reads each year. I have to say as a Canadian educator though that this year’s selection is a bit disappointing for middle grades as all three have a strong American focus. Hard to push the “global” idea when there is only one country being represented in this year’s readings. Global themes for sure but I have always loved that in the past a greater variety was in play.

    • Pernille Ripp says:

      I try, you have every right to not do the project. There are many factors that go into the book selection, one being global distribution which unfortunately many books published outside of the US do not have the luxury of having. That means books become sold out and then people cannot do the project. The choices you mention may be set in the US but have universal themes that can be connected to many countries. Racism is universal and not a US thing and so the history of it is also global. Omar is set in England. Juana is from Peru. Also; did you suggest books? Because I am one person trying to read as many books as I can get my hands on, often purchasing them out of my own pocket in order to see if they will be a good fit, I will miss books and opportunities. I am not sure what reaction you had hoped for with your comment because if you think for one second I take this selection lightly then you don’t know me or this project very well.

      • Anonymous says:

        As another Canadian, I plan on getting all the junior to high school books. You are correct, they are global ideas that more and more I realize, every area of the world deals with in some way or another, and it will give us a chance to connect how the ideas in these books are relevant in our individual communities. Thank you for all your work, Pernille. I am truly sad that your project is ending, and as much as I have loved participating in the GRA and would love to see someone start a similar project, I know it won’t be me because I can only imagine how much of your time, effort and dedication these 11 years have taken. Thank you.

  4. eileen l craviotto says:

    These look amazing. My first year with GRA was last year and it was truly transformative for my students and myself. Thank you for creating this opportunity. I am looking forward to another year with GRA…another year with deep conversations with my students. Another year thinking about others and what impact our words have on them. Another year anyalyzing, discussing, growing, dreaming. Thank you.

  5. Mia Morgan says:

    I am getting a late start with this year’s GRA, chalk it up to the pandemic. I am just sitting down with the picture books and I wanted to tell you how much I love this year’s selections. There is so much potential for how I might use the pictures, language, and the stories with my students. I am so grateful for the time and effort you have put into the GRA these past 11 years. I will truly miss it. You have introduced me to new authors and illustrators and the GRA books have given me the opportunity to have amazing discussions with my elementary students about important topics such as family, traditions, treatment of indigenous people, immigration, contributions of immigrants, racism, and love to name a few. The GRA has been a gift. Thank you for such a wonderful gift. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

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