Global Read Aloud Choices 2020 #GRA20

The past few weeks have been surreal, living in a time of a global pandemic and hardly ever leaving our house in order to safeguard ourselves and the world from a silent virus have shaken us to the core.  I have found myself reaching toward books now more than ever; finding solace within the pages of different worlds, reaching for picture books to pull my own children together after yet another day at home.  Reading aloud to my 7th graders as a way to extend our community and, of course, recommending and sharing more books, urging all of us to support our independent book stores, to support the creators that continue to make our world more beautiful whose appearances have been canceled.

We don’t know all the future will hold, but the need for connection and for finding each other in this time is a great as ever.   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.  This year it feels more urgent than ever.  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.  That we will connect through the pages of these books and find ourselves more than we were before.  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 based on gut instinct.  The project kicks off October 5th, 2020, to sign up go here.

Please consider ordering the books from– an independent bookstore that partners with local independent bookstores to sell books. You can see the winner list here and support The Global Read Aloud at the same time.


Juana Martinez-Neal - The Author Village

This year’s chosen creator is Juana Martinez-Neal!

Juana Martinez-Neal is the recipient of the 2019 Caldecott Honor for Alma and How She Got Her Name, her debut picture book as author-illustrator, which was simultaneously released in Spanish as Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre. She was also awarded the 2018 Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration for La Princesa and the Pea, written by Susan Middleton Elya.

Juana is the illustrator of La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for los Niños, Babymoon, Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, and Swashby and the Sea. She was named to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honor list in 2014, and was awarded the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Grand Prize in 2012.

Juana was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She is the daughter and granddaughter of artists. She now lives in Arizona, with her husband, three children and two dogs.

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Your Choice


Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by [Mian, Zanib]

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian and illustrated by Nasaya Mafardik!

Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar!

Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?!

But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country . . . Could that possibly be true?

Luckily, Omar’s enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life’s ups and downs.


Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorell!

Regina Petit’s family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says Regina’s tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes “Indian no more” overnight–even though she was given a number by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that counted her as Indian, even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

With no good jobs available in Oregon, Regina’s father signs the family up for the Indian Relocation program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She’s never met kids of other races, and they’ve never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.

Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it’s not that easy. It’s 1957 during the Civil Rights Era. The family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis’s own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian? Is she American? And will she and her family ever be okay?


Prairie Lotus by [Park, Linda Sue]

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park!

Prairie Lotus is a book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father’s shop, and making at least one friend. Hanna, a half-Asian girl in a small town in America’s heartland, lives in 1880. Hanna’s adjustment to her new surroundings, and the townspeople’s prejudice against Asians, is at the heart of the story.


Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi!

This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.

The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

To order your books:

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.

Please consider ordering the books from– an independent bookstore that partners with local independent bookstores to sell books. You can see the winner list here and support The Global Read Aloud at the same time.

If you need to order through Amazon, please order it through this affiliate link, the cents earned from it goes to purchasing and shipping books to those who cannot get them.

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

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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 Winner is…

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery.

After our discussion yesterday, I agree with the comments that this book is a universally appealing and accessible book that many different age levels can read and discuss.

So now the planning begins; I will continue to share resources but please make this a forum to share your ideas. How do you plan on using this book in your room and more importantly how will you share and connect?

The chapters are deliciously short so I think we will be able to do 2 or 3 chapters a week, what do you think? There are 27 altogether.

I am very excited as we choose this first global read aloud book.