Make Read Across America More Diverse

Make Read Across America More Diverse

Excitement bubbles up as March approaches, bringing with it a special event: Read Across America! March 2nd traditionally marks a day dedicated to celebrating the whimsical tales spun by Theodore Seuss Geisel, fondly known as Dr. Seuss. His stories have charmed countless children, my own included, and many have taken their first steps into the world of reading through his colorful pages.

However, my heart sank upon learning about Dr. Seuss’s less-than-inclusive views towards Black, Asian, and Jewish communities. It’s a disappointing revelation, to say the least. But rather than dwell on the negatives, let’s seize this opportunity to steer Read Across America in a more diverse direction.

In response to these revelations, the National Education Association (NEA) has opted to pivot towards a more inclusive approach for Read Across America. Instead of solely focusing on Dr. Seuss, the NEA now champions diversity and the celebration of all cultures as the driving force behind this literacy-centered event. They’ve even curated a calendar with recommendations for celebrating diversity and diverse cultures throughout the entire year!

So, let’s embrace this new direction and make Read Across America truly diverse this year. Here are four innovative ways to do just that:

Explore Literally Reading “Across America”:

Delve into literature that reflects the rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, languages, and customs across different states. It’s a delightful journey that not only expands horizons but also fosters a deeper appreciation for diversity among students.

Spotlight Local Talent:

Reach out to local authors who can share their stories directly with your class, either through pre-recorded videos or live Zoom sessions. This not only supports local talent but also provides students with a personal connection to the stories they’re reading.

Make Read Across America More Diverse
Authors Meeting

Embrace Multilingual Storytelling:

Invite parents or community members fluent in another language to share beloved stories in their native tongue. This offers students a unique and immersive experience, allowing them to appreciate familiar tales from a new perspective.

Celebrate Diverse Narratives:

Seek out stories featuring protagonists from diverse backgrounds, religions, regions, or cultures. By centering these narratives, you can help students see themselves reflected in the stories they read and foster empathy and understanding for others.

Diverse Books You Might Enjoy:

Here are a few recommendations to get you started:

  • A Big Mooncake For Little Star _ Grace Lin
  • Papa, Daddy & Riley _ Semust Kirst
  • My Papi Has A Motorcycle _ Isabel Quintero
Make Read Across America More Diverse
Family Books
  • Laxmi’s Mooch _ Shelly Anand
  • What’s Happened to YOU? _ James Catchpole
  • The Grandmaster’s Daughter _ Dan-Ah Kim
Make Read Across America More Diverse
Own Voice Books
  • Eyes that Speak To Star _ Joanna Ho
  • Your Name Is A Song _ Jamilah Thompkins Bigelow
  • My Rainbow _ Trinity and DeShanna Neal
Make Read Across America More Diverse
Self Love Books
  • Saturday At The Food Pantry _ Diane O’Neill
  • Paletero Man _ Lucky Diaz
  • Thank you, Omu! _ Oge Mora
Make Read Across America More Diverse
Community Books
  • Bedtime For Sweet Creatures _ Nikki Grimes
  • A Story About Afiya _ James Berry
  • ‘Ohana Means Family _ Ilima Loomis
Make Read Across America More Diverse
Poetry Books

Let’s celebrate the richness and diversity of the world through the pages of our books. Together, we can make reading a truly transformative and inclusive experience for all students.

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