Time to Vote for Global Read Aloud Middle Grade Read 2018 #GRA18

The middle-grade category is always one of the most read, most voted, and also most active during the GRA, so I am thrilled to reveal this year’s finalists.  As always, I have tried to think of a broad theme for people all over the world to read and enjoy these books.  I hope you like the finalists.  Please cast your vote on the form below, voting closes March 20th.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

In the tradition of modern-day classics like Sara Pennypacker’s Pax and Lois Lowry’s The Giver comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.

On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts.

And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been.

But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?

Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder

A girl in foster care tries to find her birth mother before she loses her forever in this spare and beautifully told novel about last chances and new opportunities.

For a kid bouncing from foster home to foster home, The Book of Changes is the perfect companion. That’s why Marin carries three pennies and a pocket-sized I Ching with her everywhere she goes. Yet when everything in her life suddenly starts changing—when Marin lands in a foster home that feels like somewhere she could stay, maybe forever—the pennies don’t have any answers for her.

Marin is positive that all the wrongs in her life will be made right if only she can find her birth mother and convince her that they belong together. Marin is close, oh so close—until she gets some unwelcome news and her resolve, like the uneasy Earth far beneath the city of San Francisco, is shaken.

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when–as the eldest daughter–she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens–after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.

Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal–especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.

In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

Obe Devlin has problems. His family’s farmland has been taken over by developers. His best friend Tommy has abandoned him. And he keeps getting nosebleeds, because of that thing he doesn’t like to talk about. So Obe hangs out at the nearby creek, in the last wild patch left, picking up trash and looking for animal tracks.

One day, he sees a creature that looks kind of like a large dog. And as he watches it, he realizes it eats plastic. Only plastic. Water bottles, shopping bags… No one has seen a creature like this before. The animal–Marvin Gardens–becomes Obe’s best friend and biggest secret. But to keep him safe from the developers and Tommy and his friends, Obe must make a decision that might change everything.


Time to Vote for Early Readers Global Read Aloud Choice #GRA18

Since the GRA started, the category for early readers has only grown stronger and this year is no different.  With some stellar selection to choose from, I know we will have another incredible read aloud experience.  Here are the contenders for this year.  Please vote on the form at the bottom, voting ends March 20th.

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

“I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: t h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”

“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.”

Elliot Eisner isn’t exactly excited about starting at a brand-new school in a brand-new town; he’d much rather stay at home and read a book. But things take an unexpected turn when he finds out his weird new teacher, Professor Fauna, has planned a field trip for Elliot’s very first day. Along with a new friend–brave, outspoken Uchenna Devereaux–Elliot gets caught up in a secret group of adventurers, The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose goal is to protect and defend the world’s mythical creatures. Together with Professor Fauna, Elliot and Uchenna must help rescue a Jersey Devil from a duo of conniving, greedy billionaires, the Schmoke Brothers.

Beatrice does her best thinking upside down.

Hanging from trees by her knees, doing handstands . . . for Beatrice Zinker, upside down works every time. She was definitely upside down when she and her best friend, Lenny, agreed to wear matching ninja suits on the first day of third grade. But when Beatrice shows up at school dressed in black, Lenny arrives with a cool new outfit and a cool new friend. Even worse, she seems to have forgotten all about the top-secret operation they planned!

Can Beatrice use her topsy-turvy way of thinking to save the mission, mend their friendship, and flip things sunny-side up?

Dyamonde Daniel may be new in town, but that doesn’t stop her from making a place for herself in a jiffy. With her can-do attitude and awesome brain power she takes the whole neighborhood by storm. The only thing puzzling her is the other new kid in her class. He’s grouchy – but Dyamonde’s determined to get to the bottom of his attitude and make a friend.

Ken is an EngiNerd: one of a super-smart group of friends—all nerds—who have been close since kindergarten.

They may be brainiacs, but they’re just like everyone else: they fight with one another, watch too much TV, eat Chinese food, and hate walking their dogs. Well, maybe not just like everyone because Ken’s best friend Dan has been building robots. He then secretly sent one to each of the EngiNerds, never letting them know he’s the mastermind.

At first Ken is awed and delighted: what kid hasn’t dreamed of having a robot all their own? Someone who can be their friend, clean their room, walk the dog, answer homework questions…how amazing is that?

But be careful what you wish for: Dan’s robot, Greeeg, may look innocent, but his ravenous consumption of food—comestibles—turns him into a butt-blasting bot. And once the other robots ‘come alive’ it’s up to the motley crew of EngiNerds to not only save the day, but save the planet!

Time to Vote for Global Read Aloud Picture Book Author/Illustrator Choice #GRA18

For weeks I have wanted to start the voting and yet I wanted to make sure that the choices felt right.  They do, and so now it begins; the official voting for picture book author/illustrator study.  As a reminder, to be a contender, each finalist must have at least 6 picture books published by the time the Global Read Aloud begins on October 2nd, as well as have books that have a more universal theme, which are easily accessible in many countries.  I do so hope you like the choices…

Choice 1:  A combination of Julie Flett and Monique Gray Smith.

Inspired by their incredible board book My Heart Fills with Happiness, I couldn’t imagine a more dynamic duo of Indigenous authors for the Global Read Aloud.

Choice 2:  Christian Robinson

Christian Robinson’s artwork stands out in whichever book it is used.  What a fantastic choice he would be.

Choice 3: Pat Zietlow Miller

This Wisconsin Native has been wowing me for years with her versatility and her uncanny storytelling ability.

Choice 4:  Josh Funk

One of the most prolific picture book authors I know, Josh’s books garner a great response from all ages.

Choice 5:  Dan Santat

I always think that Dan Santat’s latest book is his best one, and then he writes another one.  Why not make him the choice for all of us?

Voting has now closed – stay tuned for results in April!

Global Read Aloud 2018 Sign Up is Open and News #GRA17 #GRA18

I am super excited to reveal that sign up is now open for the Global Read Aloud 2018!  This year’s event will run from October 1st through November 9th, with books being chosen in late spring.

Even if you were signed up for 2017, you must re-sign up for 2018.

To sign up, go here 

If you have a great idea for a possible contender, please go here.

If you would like to see which books are being considered right now, please go here. 


If you participated in GRA 2017, would you do me a huge favor?  A team of researchers is surveying participants of the GRA as they conduct research on how the GRA effects technology use in school, please take their short survey here

New Facebook Groups added

Our Facebook group continues to be an amazing resource for all who sue it, but it is also really big.  I have, therefore, added individual groups for each section of the GRA.  You can join one or all of them and use it to share resources and share connections.  They will not change every year, just like our main group, so they should provide you with a great place not just for GRA related things but for any type of global sharing you would like to do.

Main GRA Facebook group

Picture Book Study Group

Early Reader Book Group

Upper Elementary/Middle Grade Book Group

Middle School Book Group

YA Book Group

For now, I am reading as many amazing books as I can get my hands on, always searching for the right book that will hopefully connect us all.  I hope 2018 turns out to be just as amazing as 2017 was.

An Exciting Opportunity for #GRAFenway Classrooms! #GRA17

I am beyond thrilled that Victoria Coe is ready to reveal this exciting contest!

Fenway and the story of how he sees the world is one that is bound to make us laugh but also see our world in a different view: What can happen when we simply change our perspective? If your class is reading FENWAY AND HATTIE for the 2017 Global Read Aloud, tell us what your students have learned about perspective for a
chance to win a class set of Fenway’s second adventure, FENWAY AND HATTIE AND THE EVIL BUNNY GANG, provided by Putnam Young Readers.

To enter, simply fill out this form by November 5th at midnight CST.  One lucky classroom winner will be drawn on November 6th.

Only completed forms, please. One entry per classroom. Winner will be chosen by  November 6th and informed via email. Prize will consist of the winner’s choice of up to 30 hardcover or paperback copies of FENWAY AND HATTIE AND THE EVIL BUNNY GANG by Victoria J. Coe. (Paperback will be available January 2, 2018.)

After the Fires – The #GRA17 Can Help

This morning I am sitting in Napa Valley, California getting ready to share stories from my students.  Coming here, I am once again reminded of what we can do as a community as I see the devastation of the wildfires that have swept this area. All of the kids that have lost their homes, all of the teachers who have lost their homes, their classrooms and are now trying to pick up the pieces and settle back into learning, growing, and being a community.  And one of the ways they are doing that is by participating in the Global Read Aloud.  Our community has classrooms in it that have been directly affected by these wildfires.
And I know that while the world seems like one disaster is hitting us after another, I also know that through the power of coming together, small acts can make a big difference.  So, what can we do to help these teachers and their students?
The big need is money and gift cards right now as people try to pick their lives back together.
To help students and others in the area, go here https://www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief
To help teachers directly affected, you can donate here bit.ly/SRTAfund
I have seen before what coming together can do to make a change in the world, that is at the core of what this project is.  Here is a chance to live that out if you can.

Enter to Win a Free Skype Visit with Victoria J. Coe! #GRA17 #GRAFenway

Exciting news! Victoria J. Coe will offer a free 30-minute Skype visit to one lucky GRAFenway classroom at the conclusion of the Global Read Aloud. The Skype visit will take place by mutual arrangement between Victoria and the winning teacher. The 30-minute Skype visit will consist of Q&A. For a chance to win, simply complete and submit the entry form below by October 24th at Midnight CST.

Limit: One entry per classroom.

Welcome Water for South Sudan to Global Read Aloud Gives Back #GRA17

I am so excited to give more details on the charity that I have chosen as this year’s partner for Global Read Aloud.  Much like last year, this is a voluntary part of the GRA, where you can choose to raise money for this charity if you would like as part of your experience.

To learn more about WFSS, please read this:

Water for South Sudan was founded in 2003 by former “Lost Boy” of Sudan, Salva Dut in Rochester, NY.  WFSS has been drilling wells in South Sudan since 2005 and has drilled 304 wells as of May, 2017. We have an Operations Center in Wau, South Sudan, managed by our local team. Our Country Directors are also former “Lost Boys” of Sudan, and, like Salva, are dual US-South Sudanese citizens. Our local leadership in South Sudan supports our mission and enables our success in the country.

WFSS currently has four teams in South Sudan – a drilling team, a well rehabilitation team and two hygiene education teams, and owns all of our own drilling equipment and vehicles.WFSS drills new wells in remote rural villages and involves local villagers at every step. WFSS

WFSS drills new wells in remote rural villages and involves local villagers at every step. WFSS aims for sustainability in all we do and empowers local leaders to take ownership of the well and establish local management of the well. We train villagers to maintain the wells, leave spare parts for simple repairs and connect them to supply chains (usually county governments and UNICEF) for larger repairs.

Our new well rehabilitation team, started in 2017, goes back to our older wells to repair cement platforms that have eroded over time. New well platform design and stronger concrete are now leading to longer life and greater sustainability for all of our wells.
Each village that we visit to drill or repair a well also receives hygiene training. Our hygiene education consists of training eight men in each village (four men and four women) to identify hygiene practices in need of improvement. Trainers are educated and can then train others, helping to expand the impact of clean water.

You can learn more at http://www.waterforsouthsudan.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Upcoming Events:

Livestream Conversation with Salva & Linda Sue ParkWed, Oct. 11, 10:30 am EST. Sign up with link to livestream will be on our Upcoming Events page soon.
2017-18 Iron Giraffe Challenge – WFSS challenges schools to each raise $1,000 by March 30 to be entered into a drawing to win a visit from Salva Dut. Other prizes include Skype calls with Salva, Linda Sue Park and our Country Directors in South Sudan.
Well sponsorship information for schools can be found here.
Welcome Water for South Sudan!

GRA17 Welcomes Back Write About!


Connecting your readers with authentic writing opportunities is an important part of the Global Read Aloud experience. I’m thrilled to announce that Write About is generously returning to sponsor student writing for each of your classrooms!

Why: Engaged students write MORE…about the books and beyond!

What: A GRA Classroom upgrade coupon for unlimited writing on the NEW Write About ($49.95)!


  1. Register for an account or Sign In on Write About
  2. Complete the GRA Upgrade form to access the coupon code and instructions for completing the upgrade. (for both new AND returning users)
  3. Get your class writing! Start in September for daily writing and use the GRA on Write About Guide to make the most out of the GRA communities during the project.

Thousands of veteran GRA classrooms have used Write About because:

  • Wonderful writing Ideas are included that go along with the books -OR- teachers create their own to spark a range of literature responses
  • Students can publish, read and comment within your own Class -AND- safely connect with other students.

If you haven’t signed in to the NEW Write About yet, I think you are going to be blown away. It is SUPER easy for teachers to set up and really engaging for student writers!

Having a single directory to find Classrooms Who Write and simply being able to click a FOLLOW button to connect your students for GRA is really a game changer.

PS: If your class will benefit (or has in the past) from free Write About access through the partnership and you’d like to support them…. Please share 1 social media post next month by clicking the Writing…Relaunched campaign to get the word out.


Win a Signed Copy of A Long Walk to Water #GRA17

While it is never expected, it is always exciting to me when the authors of the selected books ask how they can be a part of the Global Read Aloud.  This year is doubly exciting, as both Linda Sue Park and Victoria Coe are coming up with wonderful ways that they can connect with all of you (in manageable ways, of course, as we have about two million students signed up this year).

Last year marked the first time, that the Global Read Aloud partnered with a chosen non-profit to direct some GRA good will their way.  Lasy year’s partner, Palms and Souls, ended up receiving more than $8,000 in books to build a community center library for more than 60 kids in Guatemala, it was incredible to see the kids and their smiles as all of their new books were revealed to them.  When choosing a non-profit I wanted to make it meaningful, I wanted any help they received to truly make a huge difference, and I wanted the nonprofit to share a similar story of the GRA; someone saw a problem and decided to do something about it.   And so I am proud to announce that this year’s partner is Water for South Sudan, the nonprofit started by Salva Dut, the man whose story is told in A Long Walk for Water.

While more details will be forthcoming, we are celebrating this partnership with the author of the book, the incredible Linda Sue Park.  She has graciously donated, along with her publisher, twenty-five signed copies of A Long Walk to Water for me to give away.  This contest is open to the world, all you have to do to enter is to leave a comment below.  I will pull twenty-five random winners on the 19th of August and then notify the winners.

So good luck, happy reading, and may this year’s Global Read Aloud once again make a difference to you and to others.