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Celebrate diverse books, authors through Read Across America

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The National Education Association’s yearly celebration of reading, Read Across America, is focusing on celebrating a nation of diverse readers.

The event has shifted its focus from March 2 to celebrating reading all year long and celebrating the diversity of our country’s students and authors.

The NEA has resources, ideas and artwork available online to create a reading event anytime throughout the year. Go to www.readacrossamerica.org to learn more.

The American Federation of Teachers also has resources for bringing more diverse books and authors into the classroom. The AFT’s Share My Lesson site has numerous resources for educators.

Sites to find diverse books

From Caitlin Reid, former St. Paul elementary teacher
“Black Boy Joy: 30 Books Featuring Black Male Protagonists”  
“Children’s Books that Tackle Race,” New York Times
“10 Books to Help Your Child Learn About the Refugee Experience” 

From Debbie Reese, former elementary teacher and author of “When Worlds Collide: Recent Developments in Children’s Literature” 
American Indians in Children’s Literature
DeColores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children
Disability in Kidlit 
Latinxs in Kidlit: Exploring the World of Latinx YA, MG, and Children’s Literature
Reading While White: Working for Racial Diversity & Inclusion in Books for Children & Teens
Rich in Color

Elementary recommendations from Jackie Chitwood and Patty Thiets, librarians in St. Paul Public Schools

Favorite titles from teachers

Middle and high school books
“I am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai (YA and adult versions)
“City of Djinns” by William Dalrymple
“Beyond the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo 
“In the Country of Men” by Hisham Matar
“American Smooth” by Rita Dove
“The Bean Trees” by Barbara Kingsolver
“The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini 
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston
“Kindred” by Octavia Butler
“Fences” and “The Piano Lesson” by August Wilson
“Americanah,” “Half A Yellow Sun” and “Purple Hibiscus” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“The Latehomecomer” by Kao Kalia Yang
“The Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka
“A Different Pond” by Bao Phi
“American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang
“Beloved” by Toni Morrison
“The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Alex Haley and Malcolm X
“The Arrival” by Shaun Tan
“Native Son” by Richard Wright
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
“In the Language of Miracles” by Rajia Hassib
“The Undergrown Railroad” by Colson Whitehead
“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi
“Paradise of the Blind” by Dương Thu Hương
“A Long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah
“The Farming of Bones” by Edwidge Danticat
“Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel
“A Place Where the Sea Remembers” by Sandra Benitez
“Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah
“Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng
“LaRose” by Louise Erdrich

Nonfiction with great historical background
“The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson
“The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
“Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly
“The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anna Fadiman
“The Beautiful Struggle,” “Between the World and Me” and “We Were Eight Years in Power” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond” by Marc Lamont Hill 

Langston Hughes
Martín Espada 
Ed Bok Lee
Bao Phi

Elementary books 
“Flying Lessons & Other Stories,” by Ellen Oh
“Unidentified Suburban Object” by Mike Jung
“Clayton Byrd Goes Underground” by Rita Williams-Garcia
“Forget Me Not” by Ellie Terry
“Talking Leaves” by Joseph Bruchac
“Makoons” by Louise Erdrich
“Lola Levine is Not Mean!” by Monica Brown
“Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom” by Booki Vivat
“Hello, Universe” by Erin Entrada Kelly
“Garvey’s Choice” by Nikki Grimes
“The Gauntlet” by Karuna Riazi
“Ghost” by Jason Reynolds
“Armstrong and Charlie” by Steven Frank
“A Long Pitch Home” by Natalie Dias Lorenzi
“Stef Soto, Taco Queen” by Jennifer Torres
“Save Me a Seat” by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
“A Boy Called Bat” by Elana K. Arnold
“When the Sea Turned to Silver” by Grace Lin
“The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora” by Pablo Cartaya
“Dear Molly, Dear Olive: Olive Finds Treasure (of the Most Precious Kind)” by Megan Atwood
“Lily’s New Home” by Paula Yoo
“Springtime Blossoms” by Jerdine Nolen
“Get A Hit, Mo!” by David A. Adler
“The Someday Birds” by Sally Pla
“Towers Falling” by Jewell Parker Rhodes
“The Only Road” by Alexandra Diaz
“King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats” by Dori Butler
“Juana and Lucas” by Juana Medina
“My Life in Pictures” by Deborah Zemke
“Calling the Water Drum” by LaTisha Redding
“Lola Gets a Cat” by Anna McQuinn
“The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read” by Curtis Manley
“The Quickest Kid in Clarksville” by Pat Zietlow Miller
“A Piece of Home” by Jeri Watts
“Up” by Joe Cepeda
“New Year” by Rich Lo
“A Morning with Grandpa” by Sylvia Liu
“Every Color” by Erin Eitter Kono
“The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head” by Daisy Hirst
“City Shapes” by Diana Murray
“Freedom in Congo Square” by Carole Weatherford
“Hank’s Big Day” by Evan Kuhlman
“In Plain Sight” by Richard Jackson
“Looking for Bongo” by Eric Velasquez
“Marta! Big and Small” by Jen Arena
“Maybe Something Beautiful” by Isabel Campoy
“Over the Ocean” by Taro Gomi
“The Sound of All Things” by Myron Uhlberg
“Steamboat School” by Deborah Hopkinson
“Thunder Boy Jr.” by Sherman Alexie
“What Are You Doing?” by Elisa Amado and Manuel Monroy
“Jabari Jumps” by Gaia Cornwall
“The Rooster Who Would Not be Quiet!” by Carmen Agra Deedy
“Princess and the Peas” by Rachel Himes
“Hand Over Hand” by Alma Fullerton
“My Name is Zedonk” by Jia Han
“Jamal’s Journey” by Michael Foreman
“Rudas: Niño’s Horrendous Hermanitas” by Yuyi Morales
“Lotus and Feather” by Ji-li Jiang

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