There is never anything easy about picking the books and authors for the Global Read Aloud. How can there be when there are so many incredible books to choose from? So many different experiences waiting to be discovered?
I lose sleep. I try different configurations. I talk about it incessantly with my husband. I reach out to trusted friends to hear opinions. And yet, ultimately, it comes down to a gut feeling of what feels right for the moment we are in, for the way conversations are shaped around the globe. Having moved back to Denmark, the global part stands even more in focus. Are the books even available to me here in Denmark? Will they speak to the world I am inhibiting in the way that they will speak to kids in other places?
A lot goes into being a Global Read Aloud choice. I don’t make these selections lightly. There are so many worthy books and stories waiting to be shared on a larger scale, I can’t choose them all, but I wish I could.
Since last year’s selections, in many ways it feels the world got even bleaker. Book bans rage in the US that impact the global publishing industry, hatred grows, and a sense of hope and wonder is harder to reach as we burn out and watch our children struggle in a world that is actively rejecting many of them.
And yet, the stories of hope continue. Of reckoning with our past and using the stories to dream bigger. To know what we came from and know where we want to go.
And so the books I chose are about hope, once again. about seeing how our own thoughts can be as visceral of an enemy as the outside world. About coming together in unlikely ways. Of not shying away from what we were but still finding space to be something more.
So if you like the choices for this year, join me as we kick off the Global Read Aloud on October 2nd, 2023. If you don’t like the choices, don’t join, it’s as easy as that, but I for one am already counting down the days until it kicks off.
There is no sign-up to join, just either pay attention here for more information or join the Facebook communities – I would recommend joining the main one and the one specific to the book (or creator) you choose:
Upper Elementary/ Middle-Grade Book Group
Kick-off this year is October 2nd and we run until November 10th.
You don’t have to follow the schedule, but please don’t read ahead and spoil the book(s) for others.
So drumroll, please…here are this year’s selections.
Picture Book Creator Choice:
This year’s chosen creator is Jacqueline Woodson
I have never gone a school year without reading a picture book aloud from Jacqueline Woodson. With every new book she writes, new conversations open up, new connections are made, and kids feel so seen. So we travel into her vast array of stories to select only 6.
WEEK 1 BOOK:
WEEK 2 BOOK:
WEEK 3 BOOK:
WEEK 4 BOOK:
WEEK 5 BOOK:
WEEK 6 BOOK: Free choice out of Jacqueline’s many amazing collaborations.
Just remember that the picture book creator study is open to all ages. It is a great way to participate if you don’t see your students often or have limited read aloud time.
EARLY READER CHOICE
Future Hero: Race to Fire Mountain by Remi Blackwood
Jarell has never quite known where he belongs. He’s ignored at home and teased at school for wanting to draw instead of playing sports with the other boys. The only place he’s ever felt truly at ease is his local barbershop where the owner hangs Jarell’s art up on the walls.
When Jarell discovers a hidden portal in the barbershop, he’s transported to a magical world that’s unlike anything he’s seen before. But it’s not just the powerful gods and dangerous creatures that makes this world different―it’s that everyone believes Jarell is the hero they’ve been waiting for.
Week 1: Chapter 1 – 2
Week 2: Chapter 3 – 4
Week 3: Chapter 5 – 6
Week 4: Chapter 7 – 8
Week 5: Chapter 9 – 10
Week 6: Chapter 11 – end
MIDDLE GRADE/UPPER ELEMENTARY CHOICE
A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga
Meet Resilience, a Mars rover determined to live up to his name.
Res was built to explore Mars. He was not built to have human emotions. But as he learns new things from the NASA scientists who assemble him, he begins to develop humanlike feelings. Maybe there’s a problem with his programming….
Human emotions or not, launch day comes, and Res blasts off to Mars, accompanied by a friendly drone helicopter named Fly. But Res quickly discovers that Mars is a dangerous place filled with dust storms and giant cliffs. As he navigates Mars’s difficult landscape, Res is tested in ways that go beyond space exploration.
As millions of people back on Earth follow his progress, will Res have the determination, courage, and resilience to succeed… and survive?
Week 1: Pages 1-49
Week 2: Pages 50 -99
Week 3: Pages 100 – 150
Week 4: Pages 151 – 200
Week 5: Pages 201 – 246
Week 6: Pages 247 – end
MIDDLE SCHOOL CHOICE
A Work in Progress by Jarrett Lerner
While this book is not out until May 2nd, 2023 – it is one of the best books of the year in my opinion.
Will is the only round kid in a school full of string beans. So he hides…in baggy jeans and oversized hoodies, in the back row during class, and anywhere but the cafeteria during lunch. But shame isn’t the only feeling that dominates Will’s life. He’s also got a crush on a girl named Jules who knows he doesn’t have a chance with—string beans only date string beans—but he can’t help wondering what if?
Will’s best shot at attracting Jules’s attention is by slaying the Will Monster inside him by changing his eating habits and getting more exercise. But the results are either frustratingly slow or infuriatingly unsuccessful, and Will’s shame begins to morph into self-loathing.
As he resorts to increasingly drastic measures to transform his appearance, Will meets skateboarder Markus, who helps him see his body and all it contains as an ever-evolving work in progress.
Week 1: Pages 1 – 48 (end after “I didn’t need to eat after all”)
Week 2: Pages 55 – 105
Week 3: Pages 106 – 173
Week 4: Pages 174 – 225
Week 5: Pages 226 – 285
Week 6: Pages 286 – end
YOUNG ADULT CHOICE
Thirty Talks Weird Love by Alessandra Narváez Varela
Out of nowhere, a lady comes up to Anamaria and says she’s her, from the future. But Anamaria’s thirteen, she knows better than to talk to a stranger. Girls need to be careful, especially in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico―it’s the 90’s and fear is overtaking her beloved city as cases of kidnapped girls and women become alarmingly common. This thirty-year-old “future” lady doesn’t seem to be dangerous but she won’t stop bothering her, switching between cheesy Hallmark advice about being kind to yourself, and some mysterious talk about saving a girl.
Anamaria definitely doesn’t need any saving, she’s doing just fine. She works hard at her strict, grade-obsessed middle school―so hard that she hardly gets any sleep; so hard that the stress makes her snap not just at mean girls but even her own (few) friends; so hard that when she does sleep she dreams about dying―but she just wants to do the best she can so she can grow up to be successful. Maybe Thirty’s right, maybe she’s not supposed to be so exhausted with her life, but how can she ask for help when her city is mourning the much bigger tragedy of its stolen girls?
Week 1: Pages start – 35
Week 2: Pages 36 – 67
Week 3: Pages 68 – 100
Week 4: Pages 101 – 133
Week 5: Pages 134 – 164
Week 6:Pages 165 – end
TWITTER HASHTAGS FOR THE YEAR:
Picture book author study – #GRAJackie
Future Hero – #GRAFuture
A Rover’s Story – #GRARover
A Work in Progress – #GRAProgress
Thirty Talks Weird Love – #GRAThirty
GLOBAL READ ALOUD SUPPORT:
T-shirts and other merchandise supporting the project can be found here
To join my Patreon and support the running of the Global Read Aloud plus get access to consultation, coaching, mini-PD and all my resources, go here
TO ORDER YOUR BOOKS:
Please consider ordering the books from Bookshop.org– 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 go to purchasing and shipping books to those who cannot get them.
FOR RESOURCES AND TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS
To find answers to the most frequently asked questions, go here – you will find ideas for how to do the project, as well as how you can share your reading.
To find shared resources and share your own, go here – you will find author resources and also created resources from others.
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.
13 thoughts on “Global Read Aloud Choices 2023 #GRA23”
Good Morning, Thank you for this information. Could I have missed the sign up and announcement for this year’s GRA? Thank you, Stephanie
Nope, you just left a comment on it. There is no sign up, everything is detailed in this post 😀
HI So excited you picked Jaqueline Woodson as the picture book study! She is one of my favorites. Thank you for all your hard work!! Pam
Hi Pernille, I am most delighted to see a post for this fall’s Global Readaloud. The chapter books certainly touch on some universal issues. I just finished purchasing A Rover’s Story for the library!
I was wondering if there is a resource sheet for 2023 – the one in the post is for 2022 (another group of really great books)…and if you will also post the reading guides to A Rover’s Story and Future Hero at some point in the future?
I much appreciate all of your efforts to keep the global dialogue going!!
Cindy Cobleigh Librarian, St. Columba School Oxon Hill, MD 20745
Yup, I will get those resource sheets updated and posted shortly. Then we can start to collaborate and plan when we want.