Global Read Aloud Choices 2019 #GRA19

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Global Read Aloud.  It is hard to believe that what started as such a small idea has grown into a truly global literacy initiative that has connected millions of kids throughout the year.  It is hard to believe that it has been ten years already.

Yesterday, I was asked what the Global Read Aloud means to me and I will admit, it was hard to answer the question.  Because 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.  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.  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.

So, starting on September 30th, what will we be reading aloud?

Picture book study

yuyimorales_3.jpg

The work of Yuyi Morales – creator extraordinaire.  Every time I pick up a book shaped in some way by Yuyi, it takes my breath away.  The scope of her work means that we not only get to t revel in the beauty of her art but also marvel at the stories she shares.

1st week:

Dreamers in English or Spanish

2nd week:

Just A Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

3rd week:

Nino Wrestles the World

4th week:

Viva Frida

5th week:

Little Night/Nochecita

6th week:  Your choice

Early Readers

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez

Stella Diaz loves marine animals, especially her betta fish, Pancho. But Stella Diaz is not a betta fish. Betta fish like to be alone, while Stella loves spending time with her mom and brother and her best friend Jenny. Trouble is, Jenny is in another class this year, and Stella feels very lonely.

When a new boy arrives in Stella’s class, she really wants to be his friend, but sometimes Stella accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English and pronounces words wrong, which makes her turn roja. Plus, she has to speak in front of her whole class for a big presentation at school! But she better get over her fears soon, because Stella Díaz has something to say!

Middle Grade

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

Middle School

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

Life is harsh in Chennai’s teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter–and friendship–on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city’s trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.

Young Adult

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden—but what they don’t know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

 

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.

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

Advertisements

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.

 

Reading Breakdown For #GRA17

As the beginning of the Global Read Aloud 2017 nears, it is time to reveal when to read what.  Thank you for those who helped me break down the books!  Remember; it is okay to fall behind schedule – I do every year – just don’t read ahead.  Also, some schools due to holidays or all year schedules are choosing to start a little later – no big deal – please make it work for you!

The project starts October 2nd and runs until November 10th, 2017.

Fenway and Hattie

Week 1 – Chapters 1-3 (26 pages)
Week 2 – Chapters 4-6 (24 pages)
Week 3 – Chapters 7-9 ( 27 pages)
Week 4 – Chapters 10-12 (23 pages)
Week 5 – Chapters 13-16 (31 pages)
Week 6 – Chapters 17-20 (25 pages)

The Wild Robot

Week 1 – Chapters 1-19

Week 2 – Chapters 20-31

Week 3 – Chapters 32-44

Week 4 – Chapters 45-55

Week 5 – Chapters 56-68

Week 6 – Chapters 69-80

A Long Walk to Water

Week 1 – Chapters 1-3

Week 2 – Chapters 4-6

Week 3 – Chapters 7-9

Week 4 – Chapters 10-12

Week 5 – Chapters 13-15

Week 6 – Chapters 16-18

A Monster Calls – Illustrated or non-illustrated version

Week 1 – Through the chapter called “Three Stories”

Week 2 – Through the chapter called “Understanding”

Week 3 – Through the chapter called “Americans Don’t Get Much Holiday”

Week 4 – Through the chapter called “Could It Be?”

Week 5 – Through the chapter called “100 Years”

Week 6 – Through the end

Mem Fox Picture Books

Week one:

Week two:
 Week four:
Week five:

Which Mem Fox Books Shall We Read? #GRA17

Mem Fox has quite a wonderful collection of picture books and so it is no small task determining which books shall be the ones we read together.  We do run into different distribution challenges depending on which country you are joining in from.  I am trying to work around it as much as I can.  So please take a moment to vote for your top 6 here.

And the Winners Are….Global Read Aloud Choices 2017 #GRA17

I have been losing sleep weighing all of the incredible choices that have been submitted and proposed for this year’s Global Read Aloud.  Many conversations have been had, books have been test read aloud, and while a few are the books chosen by the most votes, some are not.

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 this year, I feel that all of the books and picture book author 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.

The chosen are…

Picture Book Author

Australian author Mem Fox has been a contender for a few years, so I am thrilled to have her be the chosen focus of our picture book study. With her enthralling storytelling, her many books focused on the ordinary and not so ordinary, and the perspective she brings her impact on the Global Read Aloud community promises to be profound.

Week one:

Week two:
 Week four:
Week five:

Early Readers

 I first fell in love with Fenway and Hattie after meeting the author, Victoria Coe, at ILA.  Her enthusiasm for Fenway and his perspective as a dog made me read this book the very next day.  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?

Upper Elementary/Middle Grade

 Every year this age group gets the most votes and every year this feels like one of the hardest decisions.  One book kept coming back to me night after night; the story of Roz and the perspective she brings to community, empathy, and the acceptance of others.  I hope that The Wild Robot by Peter Brown helps up all see the world for how similar we all are, rather than our differences.

Middle School

Again, a popular voting category and one that I hold dear to my own reading experience as this is typically the book I read aloud.  With a fear of others, of refugees, of anyone that does not look like us, supposedly does not think like us, I wanted to read a book aloud that will allow deep conversations, connections, and a collaboration between different subject areas.  While this A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is not new, it is still incredibly relevant for the perspective it brings to us as we uncover the story of Salva and the Lost Boys of Sudan.

Young Adult

I have read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness aloud with a small class this year and have been blown away by their conversations.  This book, which has been made into a movie as well, is sure to make kids think, make them share, and also make them reflect on how they treat others.
So there you have it.  I hope you like them, I do, a lot.  This year’s project kicks off October 2nd, you can sign up right here on the website, and remember; the age designations are not set in stone – read the books and select the one you think will work best for your students.

And the Winners Are…Global Read Aloud 2016

Surprise…a few days early, but I had to make the decision.  I have been losing sleep over which books to pick to make this the very best experience it can be for all involved.  Every year it seems to get a little harder, every year I get more nervous.  So although voting should not have closed for another day, I think it is time to reveal the chosen books and author for this year’s Global Read Aloud.

So with all that said, please read all of the books that were contenders and finalists because they truly all deserve to be chosen.  They all deserve to be shared.  They all deserve to be read aloud.  As always, I am so thankful for the incredible authors and illustrators that have created these works of art so that we now can connect on a global scale.

This year’s choices for Global Read Aloud 2016 are….

Picture Book Author/Illustrator:

Lauren Castillo

Lauren Castillo has been a true force to reckon with within the world of picture books.  She not only illustrates incredible books, but also writes them as well and spends a lot of time inspiring children to become artists themselves.  Lauren Castillo’s books are sure to start conversations, inspire kindness, and help us create connections.

Week 1:

Product Details

Nana in the City

Week 2:

Product Details

The Troublemaker

Week 3:

The Reader written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Lauren Castillo 

Week 4:

Product Details

Twenty Yawns written by Jane Smiley and illustrated by Lauren Castillo 

Week 5:

Product Details

Yard Sale written by Eve Bunting illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Week 6:

Your choice!  You decide which on of Lauren’s books you would like to end with.

 

Ages 7 and up (or whichever age group you decide)

Roald Dahl’s The BFG

I first read The BFG as a young child and the story remains  one of my favorite childhood books.  Something about the whimsical nature of the story, as well as how curious the main character was, stayed with me and inspired me to wonder more about the world (where there really giants?)  and also to have a little bit of courage when the world seemed scary.  As I reread it with my 7 year old daughter this year, she quickly told me that The BFG was one of the best books she had ever heard.  Strong praise coming from a child that has had many books read aloud to her through the years.  The BFG as a GRA choice is sure to inspire connections as it is widely available around the world.

Ages 9 and up (Or whichever age you choose)

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

I was told by many to read Pax and yet hesitated, not because I didn’t want to but more because I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book with a fox on the cover.  Yet, Sara Pennypacker has been a household favorite due to her amazing Clementine books (which were also contenders for GRA this year and last) and so I finally cracked the book open only to become wonderfully attached to it.   I have seen how 9 year old’s react to it, I have seen how teens react to it, and I have seen how adults react to it.  It is a book that deserves to be read aloud, to be shared, to be discussed and  I have a feeling it will stay with us all for a very long time.

Ages 12 and up (or whichever age group you choose)

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

This book has turned some of my my most hesitant readers into children who share books with others.  Tattered and torn, our copies have traveled between students and staff; through word of mouth its audience has grown, with all coming back to say how much they love the book.  Orbiting Jupiter was my most favorite book read in 2015, I hope you love it as much as I do.

Ages 15 and up (Or whichever age group you choose)

All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds

This incredible dual perspective story of what happens when a police encounter goes wrong may be hard to read at time but needs to be read, shared, and discussed.  With the state of the world and all of its barriers between human beings, we cannot ever hope to overcome any of them if we do not start to have more hard discussions.  This book is a catalyst for change.

I hope you love the choices.  I know I do.  Happy reading, we kick off October 3rd.

Vote for YA Choice for Global Read Aloud 2016 #GRA16

YA has to be one of my most favorite, and yet hardest, categories to pick contenders for.  There are so many incredible books but not all lend themselves well to be shared in a read aloud format or even in a large group.  Please pick your favorite from the following amazing contenders.

All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds

From Amazon:

In this Coretta Scott King Honor Award–winning novel, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?

There were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

From Amazon:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
 
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
 
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

From Amazon:

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . .  until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.  

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Final Vote for Lower Elementary Choice #GRA16

With many votes cast, it is now time to narrow it down to the final choice; which book (and author) shall be at the center for children ages 6 to 8 (or so)?  All four books here deserve the honor, but there can only be one.

The BFG by Roald Dahl

From Amazon:

The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, or any of the other giants—rather than the BFG—she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

From Amazon:

Clementine is having not so good of a week.

  • On Monday she’s sent to the principal’s office for cutting off Margaret’s hair.
  • Tuesday, Margaret’s mother is mad at her.
  • Wednesday, she’s sent to the principal again.
  • Thursday, Margaret stops speaking to her.
  • Friday starts with yucky eggs and gets worse.
  • And by Saturday, even her mother is mad at her.
Okay, fine. Clementine is having a DISASTROUS week.

Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner

From Amazon:

Ranger has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog, but can’t officially pass the test because he’s always getting distracted by squirrels during exercises. One day, he finds a mysterious first aid kit in the garden and is transported to the year 1850, where he meets a young boy named Sam Abbott. Sam’s family is migrating west on the Oregon Trail, and soon after Ranger arrives he helps the boy save his little sister. Ranger thinks his job is done, but the Oregon Trail can be dangerous, and the Abbotts need Ranger’s help more than they realize!

Weekends with Max and His Dad by Linda Urban

From Amazon:

Max and his dad love their weekends together. Weekends mean pancakes, pizza, spy games, dog-walking, school projects, and surprising neighbors! Every weekend presents a small adventure as Max gets to know his dad’s new neighborhood—and learns some new ways of thinking about home.

Cast your vote here – voting closes April 30th.

Final Vote for Upper Elementary Book Choice #GRA16

With many votes cast, it is now time to narrow it down to the final choice; which book (and author) shall be at the center for children ages 8 to 11 (or so)?  All three books here deserve the honor, but there can only be one.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

From Amazon:

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . .

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

From Amazon:

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Eleven by Tom Rogers

From Amazon:

Alex Douglas always wanted to be a hero. But nothing heroic ever happened to Alex. Nothing, that is, until his eleventh birthday. When Alex rescues a stray dog as a birthday gift to himself, he doesn’t think his life can get much better. Radar, his new dog, pretty much feels the same way. But this day has bigger things in store for both of them. 

This is a story about bullies and heroes. About tragedy and hope. About enemies with two legs and friends with four, and pesky little sisters and cranky old men, and an unexpected lesson in kindness delivered with a slice of pizza. This is Eleven: the journey of a boy turning eleven on 9/11.

Cast your vote here – voting closes April 30th.