An Open Letter to Global Read Aloud Participants from Aisha Saaed

Whenever I choose a book for the GRA, I hold my breath for a long time.  Will the people who read it aloud get why I chose it?  Will they see the beauty?  The possibility of understanding?   The connections between themselves and others whose lives may seem so different?  The books chosen this year once again allowed people to step into a culture that many had not experienced.  To cheer for a girl who seemed to face impossible circumstances and yet trusted herself to make a difference.  To understand a boy who in the end just wanted to be himself.  To hold our breath for three refugees as the world turned against them, to understand a girl’s path to adulthood when the world only sees her through one part of an identity.  To dive into the indigenious culture and see it for its beauty and its presence all around us.

To the authors and illustrators of these books, in sharing your words with us, you allowed us to share our words with the world, and that means that the world has now changed.  I cannot thank you enough for creating these books because while the Global Read Aloud may be coming to a close, for us all, these books and their stories have provided us with something bigger – a beginning.  And for that, I will forever be grateful.

Aisha Saeed, the author of Amal Unbound, wrote the following thank you.

Dear Teachers,

When I was eight years old my mother packed me leftovers for my school lunch: keema with roti. Children teased me mercilessly in the cafeteria. They scrunched their noses and pretended to gag at the sight of the unfamiliar food.

During the Global Read Aloud you ordered samosas, pakoras, jalebis, chai, and full Pakistani feasts for your children to sample. I saw a picture of a South Asian child sharing with pride the roti they had for lunch with their class.

When I was ten years old I ran into kids from school while my family and I were at the grocery store. We were on our way to a dinner party and dressed in our finest shalwar kamiz. For weeks after, children poked and prodded me about the “strange” costumes.

During the Global Read Aloud I watched parents visit your classrooms in shalwar kamiz to share their Pakistani culture. I saw photos and videos of children wearing their ancestral clothing, standing before their classrooms as they discussed the beautiful outfits of South Asia.

When I was twelve years old, I went to school the day after Eid with deep orange henna still on my hands from the holiday. Children shrieked and pretended my hands were diseased. Despite my explanations, they refused to sit next to me until the color at last faded from my hands.

During the Global Read Aloud, you discussed henna, you brought them into classrooms. You celebrated the tradition and children decorated one another’s hands.

All through my elementary school years, I was taunted for my identity. And yet I couldn’t hide from who I was. My skin, my hair, my name— spoke too loudly. And as painful as it was, I thought it was normal. I accepted it.

During the Global Read Aloud, so many of you went beyond the book and dove into Pakistani culture. You brought in music. You Skyped with classrooms and people in Pakistan and around the world. You invited local community members to share about the people and the culture of Pakistan. You walked into South Asian markets and clothing stores and bought pomegranates and chadors and did everything you could to bring “over there”— here.

In a world where Pakistan is often equated to dangerous, you helped combat stereotypes. You helped children see the underlying humanity that all people possess which bind us together—because that is the truth. There is no “us versus them”— we are all people.

I’ve read your e-mails and posts. I’ve looked at all your photos and videos. I’ve visited classrooms for school visits and through Skype. I’ve loved the discussions you’ve had with your students on patriarchy, indentured servitude, fairness and justice, and hope.

But you did something else too.

You not only helped children glimpse life in another person’s shoes, you helped children feel seen. You honored them. You validated them. You celebrated them.

When I got the e-mail from Pernille Ripp that AMAL UNBOUND was selected to be part of the global read aloud I was humbled and grateful. What a dream as an author (and a former educator!) that my book would be read by your students. But I could never have imagined just how deeply meaningful and personal this experience would be for me. In honoring your children, the scars from my childhood feel healed.

Regardless of which book you chose, by participating in the Global Read Aloud you opened children’s minds and hearts and connected with the world around us and in doing so you created a whole heaping of empathy that the world can never have enough of. And as the whirlwind six weeks of the Global Read Aloud come to a close, from the bottom of my heart, I  thank you.

With love and gratitude,

Aisha Saeed

 

Sign up for 2019 is open, join us as we once again try to connect the world, one book at a time.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Final Video for A Boy Called Bat for Global Read Aloud #GRA18 #GRABat18

With this final video from Elana, the Global Read Aloud is officially over.  Thank you so much to Elana and all the time she has taken in answering our questions. Thank you to all of you who have asked questions, shared your love of the book, and connected with others around the world.

Because of the blog’s limitations, I can only post a link to the video here and not the actual video.  So click the link, please.

TO SEE THE VIDEO, CLICK HERE

Also, if you will be at NCTE, make sure you go see Elana as she speaks and also does a signing for her newest book, Damsel.

WEEK 5 VIDEO FOR A BOY CALLED BAT – ELANA K. ARNOLD ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS #GRABAT18 #GRA18

Another week has passed and as promised, here is Elana’s fifth video. Thank you so much, Elana!  Keep sending her your questions for next week’s video here 

Because of the blog’s limitations, I can only post a link to the video here and not the actual video.  So click the link, please.

TO SEE THE VIDEO, CLICK HERE

Also, if you will be at NCTE, make sure you go see Elana as she speaks and also does a signing for her newest book, Damsel.

WEEK 4 VIDEO FOR A BOY CALLED BAT – ELANA K. ARNOLD ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS #GRABAT18 #GRA18

Another week has passed and as promised, here is Elana’s fourth video. Thank you so much, Elana!  Keep sending her your questions for next week’s video here Because of the blog’s limitations, I can only post a link to the video here and not the actual video.  So click the link, please.

TO SEE THE VIDEO, CLICK HERE

Also, if you will be at NCTE, make sure you go see Elana as she speaks and also does a signing for her newest book, Damsel.

Welcome to the 2018 Global Read Aloud!

Dear Global Read Aloud participants,

It is hard to believe that as I write this, there are parts of the world just waking up to Monday, October 1st.  The day that marks the kick off to the 9th annual Global Read Aloud!  Over the next six weeks, more than 1.5 million kids will get to experience a read aloud.  From little kids who crowd around their teacher for story-time to all of those big kids who hope their teacher reads just one more page; soon our adventure begins.

I hope that every person involved will have a moment, a moment in their classrooms or homes where they get to sit and listen to incredible stories, hopefully, sit in the quiet and wonder, and then have meaningful conversations that maybe, just maybe, will help them see the world as filled with human beings who deserve our understanding, kindness, and support.

This year instead of selecting one charity to direct donations to, I encourage you to find a charity that speaks to the message of the books you are reading.  Even if your students and you can only contribute a little bit of time, money, or care, think of the difference that all of us together can make for others.  Let me know what you choose.

I hope that this journey is one that is worth your time.  That your children will love it as much as I have the past many years. Make it work for you, make it worth your time.  Don’t sweat the small things and just enjoy the ride.

A few things to note:

  • Elana Arnold’s videos will be posted on this blog for the world to see.  If you want to send her a question to have her answer it, go here to send them.
  • Aisha Saeed’s videos will be posted here 
  • The shared resources can be found here – please add your ideas
  • All information such as hashtags, wheat to read when and such can be found here 
  • My personal blog, including where I will be speaking and such is here 

Nine years ago I dreamed that the world would be a little smaller due to a shared read aloud.  Nine years ago I dreamed of the power of books and all that they could accomplish.  Now we find out if that dream can come true once again.  Thank you for believing in my dream and happy reading.

All of my best,

Pernille

Write About and Global Read Aloud 2018 #GRA18

Write About GRA.png
Authentic writing opportunities are an important part of the Global Read Aloud experience, which is why Write About is proud to offer 4 months of unlimited writing exclusively to GRA classrooms– a $60 sponsorship!

Easy Steps to Participate:

1. Submit your Write About upgrade form to get the coupon code.

2. Sign In on Write About to Upgrade with the coupon code.

3. Get your students writing!

—–
LINKS:
—-

SPONSORED ACCOUNT DETAILS:

Write About is sponsoring GRA teachers and students with access to a Classroom Monthly upgrade ($15/mo) from September – December 2018. This is available to the first 1,000 teachers who sign up before October 1st. After the project, teachers can downgrade their account to Free if they do not wish to continue Write About with their students. Otherwise, a $15/mo membership will automatically renew.

Win a Skype Visit from Elana K. Arnold #GRA18

As we get ready to dive into the incredible book that is A Boy Called Bat written by Elana K. Arnold for the Global Read Aloud, I have more incredible news to share.  Not only is she going to be answering your questions on videos every week, she will also be giving 20 (!!!!) free 30 min skype visits to lucky classrooms!

All you have to do is enter on this form and then I will pull random winners on September 16th so that Elana has a chance to reach out to everyone.  This contest is open to the world, but just make sure that the timezone difference is not impossible for her to work with.

Please note that Elana also offers up longer Skype visits for a fee, as well as author visits.  She is an incredibly dynamic author who mesmerizes kids and adults alike with her storytelling.  She would be an incredible addition to your school year.

To see Elana’s website, go here

To contact her for more information, go here

To see all her amazing books, go here