Win a Copy of Amal Unbound – Middle-Grade Choice for Global Read Aloud 2018 #GRA18 #GRAAmal

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I know some people thought I was crazy for picking a book that had not even been released yet as the choice for Global Read aloud middle-grade, and yet, when I first read Amal Unbound I was captivated by its story, by the look at Pakistan that I had not seen before.  After I read the book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  How I could help my students discover the book?  How I could help the world discover the book?  The book stuck with me and the idea of selecting it for GRA stuck with me as well.

Now, in honor of its publication on May 8th, I am so excited to see what everyone else thinks.  Hopefully, you will love the book as much as I have.  So in order to celebrate its imminent release, I have five copies of the book to give away!  This contest is open to the world and all you have to do is fill the form out below.  Five random winners will be selected on May 8th – the day the book comes out, please enter only once.

Please fill in this form and happy reading!

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If You Are New to the Global Read Aloud – Read This #GRA18

What is the Global Read Aloud?

 About the Project

How does this work?

The project was created by me, Pernille Ripp, in 2010 with a simple goal in mind; one book to connect the world. Now with many years under our belt and millions of connections made in more than 86 different countries, it is astounding to see the reach of this small idea.

The premise is simple; we pick a book to read aloud to our students during a set 6-week period and during that time we try to make as many global connections as possible. Each participant decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like to be. Some people choose to connect with just one class, while others go for as many as possible. The scope and depth of the project are up to you. In the past, frequently used tools have been Twitter, Skype, email, regular mail, Kidblog, Write About, Padlet, and any other tools we can think of to make these connections. Teachers get a community of other educators to do a global project with, hopefully inspiring them to continue these connections through the year.

How much does it cost?

The Global Read Aloud is free, it always has been, and always will be.  It is also trademarked, which means no one has permission to use the name to sell products except for me.

What do I need to participate?

The book and time to read aloud.  Access to technology also helps for the connection part.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up on our Google Form to  be a participant.  Once you have signed up, make sure to check the Google Group – this group is my way of communicating important information to all participants no matter how they choose to connect.

How are books chosen?

To see how books are chosen, please read this blog post

To see the contenders, past and present, please go here Contenders

To see the winners for 2018, go here

Do I have to be a teacher to participate?

No, not at all, but you do want to read the book aloud to someone since that is the experience we are sharing.  So maybe your grandchildren would like to be part of this or another group of kids.  Please join us.

Do my students have to share?

Preferably yes, however, sometimes just reading other students’ ideas and thoughts can be a form of sharing.  So if you feel uncomfortable sharing first, read the discussion and jump in when you are comfortable.

How old should my students be?

We have a picture book study for our youngest students and then other books to choose from. We have K through college participate starting in 2014. Whichever book you decide to participate in is truly up to you.  You know your kids/students and whether the book is suitable for them.  Don’t dismiss the project because the books may seem too easy, it is about the connections you make.

Why participate?

This is meant to make the world a little smaller, to open our eyes to the rest of the world and look at all of our shared experiences.  How phenomenal for a child to know that the same book they are reading is being read in classrooms across the globe.

Is this really global?  

Yes! Since its inception, we have had more than 4,000,000 students from more than 80 different countries participate!

I’m an Author and would like my book considered.

Please go here.

Before the project:

How do I get the books?

Since headquarters is just me and my ideas, there is no way for me to purchase the books for you.  I am sorry.  So please do get the books ordered on your own.  To see this year’s books and order them, please check the blog.

How do I  get connected?

You can find people in two places typically, Twitter using the hashtag #GRA+the year (Example for 2018 = #GRA18) or on Facebook.  We have a main Facebook group where all updated and information is posted and then there is a group for each level of book.

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

After you have joined your group and I have approved you (which I do on a weekly basis) there are two different ways; you post connection wanted post in your group, or you respond to one.    If you post a connections wanted post, please make sure people have a way to get in touch with you such as email or Twitter handle.  Once you have found the connections, please alert people that you have found them.  Also, please reach out to all people that respond to your post, even if it is to say you have found someone already.

If you respond to connection wanted post, make sure you describe your classroom and give them a way to contact you.

What should I post in my connections wanted post?

It helps if you do age group, location, experience level, as well as what types of tools you feel comfortable using or would like to use.  That way people can respond with similar dreams.  You can post anything else that you think is helpful as well.

 

How many connections should I be looking for?

You decide. I like to have one solid connection for each of my classrooms and I like to have our ideas cemented before the project starts, that way I know for sure I am connected with someone.  However, I also like to look at what else is going on during the project, so checking in on the Twitter hashtags, seeing what other people are sharing and such.  Some people like to have several connections ready in case one doesn’t work out.

Twitter hashtags for the year:

Picture book author study – #GRAJFMGS

A Boy Called Bat – #GRABat

Amal Unbound – #GRAAmal

Refugee – #GRARefugee

Love, Hate, and Other Filters – #GRALove

Should I read the book(s) beforehand?

Up to you.  I like to read them to make sure I am choosing the right book for my students, and I like to think about the discussions/projects/connections we will have.  But there is no rule.

During the Project:

Handouts for school or home:

The GRA FAQ handout:  Meant for handing out to teachers and others that will participate in the project.  Please go here.

The GRA Home handout:  Meant to be sent home with students to explain what the Global Read Aloud is.  Please go here.

What tools should I use to connect with others?

Again, up to you.  Here is a list of great tools I have used in the past.  You can also decide with your connection(s) to try something completely different.  If you have an idea for a tool to use please share it with others, this is how the project becomes so awesome!  If you are using Kidblog or something that requires others to go to your site to connect with you, then make sure your site is open to the public so others can view it and comment.

Are authors always involved?

No, not always.  Every year, since Katherine Applegate chose to get involved, I reach out to the authors’ whose books are chosen and ask if they have time.  Some do and some don’t.  I am incredibly grateful to the authors that take the time to be a part of the project as it enriches the experience tenfold for participants, but I do not pick books based on that criterion alone.  Sometimes incredible books are written by incredible authors that lead very busy lives, and that is okay too.  What matters is that we have the amazing books to read aloud and share.

What technology can we use to connect?

Anything that you have access to.  One of the strengths of the project is that you do not need to use a specific type of technology to be a part of it, in fact, you can even choose to not use technology and use regular mail to connect with someone.  All that matters is that you connect with someone.

To see great ideas of what to do during the project, go here

How do I find someone to connect with?

Use Facebook or the hashtag on Twitter to find others, or any other way you choose.

While I do not generally facilitate connections, please contact me if you are having problems finding someone to connect with.  I can usually help.

Where do we share?

Anywhere you want.  We have our Twitter hashtag for sharing as well as our Facebook page, but people find they share best wherever they feel most comfortable.

Individual books will also have their own hashtags but those will not be created until the books have all been chosen.

What should we read when?

Weekly breakdowns are posted before the kick off date so that everyone knows what to read up to. Don’t worry if you get behind (I do every year!).  Just don’t read ahead.

Are there lesson plans?

No, however, many many people share ideas on the Facebook or on Twitter.  I also have a Pinterest page where I try to share as much stuff as I can.

What are things you can do with your students?

The sky is the limit.  I see people use Skype for discussion calls or to guest read aloud.  Many use Padlet to share surveys, students work or other things they create.  People use Kidblog to have students write about the books and then have others comment.  People use Twitter to share projects and also to participate in a slowchat that will happen for some of the books.  People use WriteABout to create writing communities.   To see more about some tech tools, please go here.

How much should we do?

As much or as little as you want.  You can share as much with the world as you feel comfortable doing or as little.  Some choose to simply read the book aloud to their class knowing that they are part of something bigger without connecting with others, others choose to go as big as possible.  Find your comfort zone in this and make it work for you.

See this great post from Anna Davidson for ideas of what you can do as a teacher.

Do I have to use technology?

No, you should connect in some ways.  Technology makes that easier but you don’t have to use it if you can’t or do not want to.

Can I make shirts or other things for my students to show we participated?

Shirts and other merchandise are sold here.  Before you create something for your own students, please reach out to me first, the name “Global Read Aloud” is trademarked.

How do I contact you?

Either through the contact form or email me at p@globalreadaloud.com

After the project:

We finished the book, now what?

Hopefully, the connections will continue.  Many, myself included, use the Facebook group throughout the year to find others to do projects with.  I do not shut down the Facebook or Edmodo groups, nor do I lock them down.  The Facebook community can be used for anything as well, there is even a GRA Alumni group if you want to join that.    So please continue to use the space to do projects and share ideas.

Are you reading books for next year?

Yup!  The minute books are selected for the year, I start my search for the next year’s amazing books.  If you want to know more about the process, go here.  If you are an author and want your book considered, please go here.

Which books have been chosen in the past?

To read more about the history of the GRA and the books that have been used, please go here. 

Who is behind the Global Read Aloud:

In 2010, while listening to NPR, the idea of the Global Read Aloud began.    Now with millions of connections made between more than 80 countries, the GRA keeps growing.

To get more information about me, go to my professional blog here under My Story

To contact me, please email me  at p@globalreadaloud.com

Global Read Aloud Shirt 2018 #GRA18

It has been a few years since the last round of t-shirt designs, so I am excited to reveal this year’s shirt.  Here is another chance to show off your Global Read Aloud participation!  The new design is…

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In various forms of t-shirts, the new shirt joins the old Global Read Aloud shirt that is still available.  Go to the shop to order yours and don’t forget to google for Spreadshirt coupons, they seem to always be available!

 

And the Winners Are…Global Read Aloud Choices 2018 #GRA18

After incredible reading moments, thousands of people voting, countless hours spent thinking, and much discussion had, the moment is finally here….the reveal of the books we will read aloud and connect through.

The choices of these books were not done haphazardly.

Picking our books for the Global Read Aloud is never easy, in fact, I think it gets harder every year since we try to match the incredible experience from the year before.  Every year so far, we have been able to do so, and I hope this year is no different.

With an emphasis on perspective, on understanding others, on connecting and change, I feel that all of the books and picture book authors chosen will help us see the world in a new light.  Will help us make connections.  Will help us build community both within our own classrooms, but also with all the thousands of classrooms that will participate.  As usual, I hope you like them, I hope you read them, and I hope you read all of the amazing contenders as well.  Deep breath here.

Picture Book Author/Illustrator Choice

Julie Flett and Monique Gray Smith

For too long there has been too little focus on the voices and art forms of indigenous writers.  This is the year to change that.  The books that these two incredible writers create are sure to become heart books, books that stay with us long after the project is over.  All of the books here will lead us to be something more…

Week 1:  My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith and Julie Flett

Don’t let the format (board book) fool you, this book will elicit meaningful discussion for all ages.

Week 2:  Wild Berries by Julie Flett

Week 3:  You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Danielle Daniel

Week 4:  A Day with Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell and Julie Flett 

Week 5:  When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson and Julie Flett

Week 6:  Your choice!

Early Reader Choice

I first fell in love with Bat as I read the book and saw it for what it was; a story about a boy who loves a skunk and who wants to keep it.  As the mother of four children, it was as if Elana had been to our house and witnessed our weekly fights over what to do or which pet to have.  And yet, wrapped up in its simple storyline is also a story about a boy whom others would like to label different but who doesn’t see himself that way.  This is why I kept coming back to this book, because how many of us have been in this position or how many of us have inadvertently tried to label others that refuse to be labeled?  I promise A Boy Called Bat will not disappoint.

Upper Elementary/Middle-grade Choice

I know this book is not out until May 8th, but this is where I take a leap of faith and hope you will join me.  I read this book last fall and have not stopped thinking about it since, it is a book that pulls us in, invites the world in, and also takes us on a journey to learn about ourselves and the world.  This book deserves to be read, which is why it has been chosen this year.  And yes, it will be available in other countries as well.

Middle School/Junior High Choice

I don’t think any book has ever garnered so many votes for it to be picked and I am not surprised, after all, Refugee is one of my favorite books of 2017, as well as my students.  What I am excited about is how it is a conversation starter, inviting us into the world and to all that is happening and has happened, with people who have been displaced or had to flee their homes.  It is also an invitation to do more, to become more, and to learn more, which is why I am so excited to make it a Global Read Aloud choice.

Young Adult Choice

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Once again the YA category had incredible books to read aloud, all with their own powerful message and yet Samira Ahmed’s debut kept coming up in my mind as a book that can be connected with no matter where you live, and that is important for a Global Read Aloud.  With its story about fitting in, finding yourself, and also being vilified, I know that this book will create amazing dialogue in our communities.

So there you have it.  6 authors, 4 books, and a lot of connections to be made.  I hope you are as excited for the project to kick off October 2nd as I am.

 

Time to Vote for Global Read Aloud YA Choice #GRA18

And now for our final category; the young adult read aloud.  With it’s grittier topics and writing, these books are perpetual crowdpleasers and conversation starters.  As always, all of these are worthy, but there can only be one chosen.  Voting is below on the form and it ends on March 28th.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes

When Wesley Boone writes a poem for his high school English class, some of his classmates clamor to read their poems aloud too. Soon they’re having weekly poetry sessions and, one by one, the eighteen students are opening up and taking on the risky challenge of self-revelation. There’s Lupe Alvarin, desperate to have a baby so she will feel loved. Raynard Patterson, hiding a secret behind his silence. Porscha Johnson, needing an outlet for her anger after her mother OD’s. Through the poetry they share and narratives in which they reveal their most intimate thoughts about themselves and one another, their words and lives show what lies beneath the skin, behind the eyes, beyond the masquerade.

Moxie: A Novel by Jenifer Mathieu

MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with an administration at her high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

Time to Vote for Global Read Aloud Middle School Choice #GRA18

We are almost done with voting for the year and it is now time for the ever popular middle school round serving kids between the ages of 12-14.  All of these books would be phenomenal choices but in the end, there can only be one chosen.  Please vote below on the form, voting closes on March 28th.

 

Chase’s memory just went out the window.

Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name.

He knows he’s Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.

Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him.

One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets.

Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is–it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.

Refugee by Alan Gratz

JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers — from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.

Escape from Aleppo by N.H.Senzai

Silver and gold balloons. A birthday cake covered in pink roses. A new dress. 

Nadia stands at the center of attention in her parents’ elegant dining room. This is the best day of my life, she thinks. Everyone is about to sing “Happy Birthday,” when her uncle calls from the living room, “Baba, brothers, you need to see this.” Reluctantly, she follows her family into the other room. On TV, a reporter stands near an overturned vegetable cart on a dusty street. Beside it is a mound of smoldering ashes. The reporter explains that a vegetable vendor in the city of Tunis burned himself alive, protesting corrupt government officials who have been harassing his business. Nadia frowns.

It is December 17, 2010: Nadia’s twelfth birthday and the beginning of the Arab Spring. Soon anti-government protests erupt across the Middle East and, one by one, countries are thrown into turmoil. As civil war flares in Syria and bombs fall across Nadia’s home city of Aleppo, her family decides to flee to safety. Inspired by current events, this novel sheds light on the complicated situation in Syria that has led to an international refugee crisis, and tells the story of one girl’s journey to safety.

It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

Told through Nisha’s letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl’s search for home, for her own identity…and for a hopeful future.

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. 

Survey

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.