Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of World Read Aloud Day. Founded by LitWorld in 2010, the annual celebration is marked by a day of reading to celebrate new voices and stories in over 170 countries worldwide.
Celebrate the joys and benefits of reading out loud with these book recommendations. Click on the links to discover further resources and educators’ guides for each title. Happy reading!
Books to Read Aloud Today
Black All Around by Patricia Hubbell; illus. by Don Tate – Look high,
look everywhere . . .
The wonderful color black is there!
Join a young girl as she discovers all the wonderful things around her that are black.
The letters that live
on each page of a book.
The hole in the ground
that’s a little mole’s nook.
The gleaming paint on a limousine.
The braided hair of a stately queen.
The fun and excitement never stop in this joyous and playful book. So what are you waiting for? Come celebrate Black All Around!
Cora Cooks Pancit by By Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young; illus. by Kristi Valiant – Cora loves being in the kitchen, but she always gets stuck doing the kid jobs like licking the spoon. One day, however, when her older sisters and brother head out, Cora finally gets the chance to be Mama’s assistant chef. And of all the delicious Filipino dishes that dance through Cora’s head, she and Mama decide to make pancit, her favorite noodle dish.
With Mama’s help, Cora does the grown-up jobs like shredding the chicken and soaking the noodles (perhaps Mama won’t notice if she takes a nibble of chicken or sloshes a little water on the floor). Cora even gets to stir the noodles in the pot—carefully– while Mama supervises. When dinner is finally served, her siblings find out that Cora did all their grown-up tasks, and Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking.
Gracias • Thanks by Pat Mora; illus. by John Parra – There are so many things to be thankful for.
For one young boy, it’s
splashing ocean waves,
a best friend,
Dad’s thick chocolate syrup,
and much more.
Straight from the heart of a child flows this lighthearted bilingual celebration of family, friendship, and fun. Come share the joy, and think about all the things for which you can say, “¡Gracias! Thanks!”
In Daddy’s Arms, I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers by various poets; illus. by Javaka Steptoe – In this intergenerational collection of poetry by new and established African American writers, fatherhood is celebrated with honor, humor, and grace. Folami Abiade, Dinah Johnson, Carole Boston Weatherford, Dakari Hru, Michael Burgess, E. Ethelbert Miller, Lenard D. Moore, David Anderson, Angela Johnson, Sonia Sanchez, and Davida Adedjouma all contribute. Javaka Steptoe, who also offers a poem, employs an inventive range of media to bring each of the poems to life. In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall testifies to the powerful bond between father and child, recognizing family as our greatest gift, and identifying fathers as being among our most influential heroes.
Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk; illus. by Felicia Hoshino – Juna and her best friend, Hector, love to go on adventures in the park, collecting things to put in Juna’s empty kimchi jars. But then one day Hector unexpectedly moves away, and Juna is left wondering who will play with her. With the help of her special jar, Juna searches for her friend the world over. What Juna finds is that adventure—and new friends—can be found in the most unexpected places.
Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Juna’s Jar is a heartwarming and whimsical celebration of friendship and the power of imagination.
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown; illus. by Sara Palacios – Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box. To Marisol, these seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together.
Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol—can’t she just choose one or the other? Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box, Marisol McDonald doesn’t match. And that’s just fine with her.
A mestiza Peruvian American of European, Jewish, and Amerindian heritage, renowned author Monica Brown wrote this lively story to bring her own experience of being mismatched to life. Her buoyant prose is perfectly matched by Sara Palacios’ mixed media illustrations.
A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu; illus. by Christina Forshay – Mei Mei’s grandpa is practicing tai chi in the garden, and Mei Mei is eager to join in. As Gong Gong tries to teach her the slow, graceful movements, Mei Mei enthusiastically does them with her own flair. Then Mei Mei takes a turn, trying to teach Gong Gong the yoga she learned in school. Will Gong Gong be able to master the stretchy, bendy poses?
Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, A Morning with Grandpa celebrates, with lively spirit and humor, the special bond between grandparent and grandchild and the joy of learning new things together. Readers of all ages will want to try out some tai chi and yoga too!
Nibi’s Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco; illus. by Chief Lady Bird – When Nibi, an Indigenous girl, turns the tap in her house, only mucky brown water comes out. That starts her on a search for clean water to drink. Though she must face polluted rivers, unfriendly neighbors, and her own temporary discouragement, Nibi’s joyful energy becomes a catalyst for change and action as her community rallies around her to make clean drinking water available for all.
The hopeful tone and lively read-aloud quality of the text open the door to conversations and action with young children, while the distinctive, delightful artwork conveys the themes of vitality, resistance, and resilience. The word “Nibi” means “water” in the Anishinaabe language, and Nibi’s Water Song is as refreshing and revitalizing as its protagonist’s name.
Ten Blocks to the Big Wok by Ying-Hwa Hu – As Mia and her uncle Eddie travel the ten blocks from their apartment to the Big Wok restaurant, Mia spies one giant panda ride, two lion statues, three swimming turtles, four bonsai trees, five tai chi practitioners … There are so many things to see in Chinatown! And when they reach the Big Wok, they find ten yummy dim sum dishes to eat. But what route should they take back home? This charming bilingual English/Mandarin counting book uses a stroll through Chinatown to introduce readers to the numbers one through ten in Chinese … and will leave you hungry besides!
Where Wonder Grows by Xelena Gonzálex; illus. by Adriana M. Garcia – When Grandma walks to her special garden, her granddaughters know to follow her there. Grandma invites the girls to explore her collection of treasures–magical rocks, crystals, seashells, and meteorites–to see what wonders they reveal. “They are alive with wisdom,” Grandma says. As her granddaughters look closely, the treasures spark the girls’ imaginations. They find stories in the strength of rocks shaped by volcanoes, the cleansing power of beautiful crystals, the mystery of the sea that houses shells and shapes the environment, and the long journey meteorites took to find their way to Earth. This is the power of Grandma’s special garden, where wonder grows and stories blossom.
Also available in Spanish!