World Read Aloud Day
Top picks to share with your class or library
The Blue House By Phoebe Wahl
In the tradition of Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House comes a heartfelt story about a father and son learning to accept the new while honoring and celebrating the old.
For as long as he can remember, Leo has lived in the blue house with his dad, but lately the neighborhood is changing. People are leaving, houses are being knocked down, and shiny new buildings are going up in their place. When Leo and his dad are forced to leave, they aren't happy about it. They howl and rage and dance out their feelings. When the time comes, they leave the blue house behind--there was never any choice, not really--but little by little, they find a way to keep its memory alive in their new home.
Digging for Words By Angela Burke Kunkel; illustrated by Paola Escobar
A gorgeous and inspiring picture book based on the life of José Alberto Gutiérrez, a garbage collector in Bogotá, Colombia who started a library with a single discarded book found on his route.
In the city of Bogata, in the barrio of La Nueva Gloria, there live two Joses. One is a boy who dreams of Saturdays-- that's the day he gets to visit Paradise, the library. The second Jose is a garbage collector. From dusk until dawn, he scans the sidewalks as he drives, squinting in the dim light, searching household trash for hidden treasure . . . books! Some are stacked in neat piles, as if waiting for José́. Others take a bit more digging. Ever since he found his first book, Anna Karenina, years earlier, he's been collecting books--thick ones and thin ones, worn ones and almost new ones-- to add to the collection in his home. And on Saturdays, kids like little Jose run to the steps of Paradise to discover a world filled with books and wonder.
With an evocative text by a debut author, and rich, stunning illustrations from an up-and-coming Colombian illustrator, here is a celebration of perseverance, community, and the power of books.
Fern and Otto By Stephanie Graegin
Perfect for fans of Erin Stead and Emily Winfield Martin, here is a charming paperback picture book about two friends who enter a fairy-tale world hoping to find an exciting story to tell.
When best friends Fern, a bear, and Otto, a cat, go searching for an exciting story in the forest, they have different ideas about what that means. Fern thinks they should stop and watch a race between a tortoise and a hare, but Otto worries that a tortoise is too slow to be exciting. Fern thinks listening to the three brothers talking about how to build a house is incredibly interesting, but Otto isn't convinced. Along the way, the two friends meet a little girl in red who is off to visit her grandmother (and a wolf headed the same way!), a cranky girl complaining that her porridge isn't the right temperature, and many others. But it's not until they run into a big scary witch that they can both agree: this is not the kind of excitement they had in mind. With irresistible illustrations and tons of charming details, this is a delightful fantasy that proves the best adventures are the ones you share.
Just Like Me By Vanessa Brantley-Newton
An ode to the girl with scrapes on her knees and flowers in her hair, and every girl in between, this exquisite treasury will appeal to readers of Dear Girl and I Am Enough and have kids poring over it to find a poem that's just for them.
I am a canvas
Being painted on
By the words of my family
From Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the author of Grandma's Purse, comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don't; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa's signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.
"A dynamic, uplifting, and welcoming world of girls."--Kirkus
"Thoughtful, inclusive, and celebratory"--Publishers Weekly
"Bursting with positivity, this would be a great book to use in primary school classrooms when discussing issues of friendship, diversity, and self-esteem."--Booklist
Little Smokey By Robert Neubecker
For a brave firefighting airplane, the sky's the limit! This timeless story of teamwork and determination is perfect for kids who loved The Little Engine That Could and shows how even unlikely heroes can help their community in times of need.
When forest fires blaze, the airplanes at Nif-C spring into action! Some swoop low to spray water on the flames. Others drop bright red fire retardant. Little Smokey hasn't quite figured out her job yet, but she wants to help. . . . And when a fire like no other flares up--a fire that none of the other planes can control--it's Smokey's turn to show what she's made of.
Featuring useful information about wildfires and fire prevention in the back of the book, Little Smokey is a must-have for children growing up in a world where climate change makes natural disasters a common occurrence. Parents looking to teach their kids about how fires spread and what they can do about it will surely want to take flight with Little Smokey.
"Positively cinematic. . . . this book may look like a classic, but with forest fires ever more frequent and intense, it's truly timely." --Kirkus
Little Taco Truck By Tanya Valentine; illustrated by Jorge Martin
Dragons Love Tacos meets Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site in this irresistibly kid-friendly read-aloud about a little taco truck that is having trouble finding a place to park.
Little Taco Truck serves up tasty treats to the hungry workers on Union Street . . . until one day, Miss Falafel shows up with her baked pita bread and crunchy chickpea fritters--and parks in his space. The next day, Miss Falafel is there again, and this time she's brought Gumbo Jumbo and Annie Arepas with her. Little Taco Truck's headlights dim. What if people like Gumbo Jumbo's spicy stew and Annie Arepas's warm cornbread cakes more than they like his tacos? When more trucks arrive the following day and there's no space left for Little Taco Truck, he swishes his wipers to hide his tears and heads home. At last, with some ingenuity and help from new friends, Little Taco Truck wins back his coveted parking spot. And guess what? There is room enough for everyone!
Packed with flavor and savory smells, this irresistible read-aloud about friendship and determination is perfect for even the youngest truck and taco fans.
Nana Akua Goes to School By Tricia Elam Walker; illustrated by April Harrison
Winner of the 2021 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award!
In this moving story that celebrates cultural diversity, a shy girl brings her West African grandmother--whose face bears traditional tribal markings--to meet her classmates. This is a perfect read for back to school!
It is Grandparents Day at Zura's elementary school, and the students are excited to introduce their grandparents and share what makes them special. Aleja's grandfather is a fisherman. Bisou's grandmother is a dentist. But Zura's Nana, who is her favorite person in the world, looks a little different from other grandmas. Nana Akua was raised in Ghana, and, following an old West African tradition, has tribal markings on her face. Worried that her classmates will be scared of Nana--or worse, make fun of her--Zura is hesitant to bring her to school. Nana Akua knows what to do, though. With a quilt of traditional African symbols and a bit of face paint, Nana Akua is able to explain what makes her special, and to make all of Zura's classmates feel special, too.
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read By Rita Lorraine Hubbard; illustrated by Oge Mora
Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! Discover the true story of Mary Walker, the nation's oldest student who did just that, in this picture book from a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and a rising star author.
In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read. From Rita Lorraine Hubbard and rising star Oge More comes the inspirational story of Mary Walker, a woman whose long life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and who--with perseverance and dedication--proved that you're never too old to learn.
Once Upon a Goat By Dan Richards; illustrated by Eric Barclay
A twisted fairy tale about a king and queen who wish for a child of their own . . . and end up with a baby goat. Perfect for readers of Children Make Terrible Pets and Wolfie the Bunny.
"A funny and redemptive fairy tale."--The Wall Street Journal
Once upon a time, a very prim and proper king and queen begged their fairy godmother for a child. They'd prefer a boy, with glowing skin, bright eyes, and two roses for lips . . . but any kid will do. When they find themselves gifted with a baby goat (also known as a kid) instead, they can't imagine how he'll fit into their lives. But of course, it isn't long before he's part of the royal family.
Readers will delight in this story's hilarity, confusion, and celebration of families that come in every shape and size.
"A fresh, amusing, kindhearted picture book."--Booklist, Starred review
"With its gentle morals of acceptance, not judging by appearances, and being open to outcomes different than expectations, this is a lovely family read-aloud."--Kirkus
"The contrast between the royal couple's once-ordered existence and the cheerful mess at book's end is very funny, and the message about acceptance and the expanded definition of family is a bonus."--Horn Book
The Paper Kingdom By Helena Ku Rhee; illustrated by Pascal Campion
An office at night is reimagined as a fantastical kingdom of paper complete with friendly dragons in this own voices picture book.
When the babysitter is unable to come, Daniel is woken out of bed and joins his parents as they head downtown for their jobs as nighttime office cleaners. But the story is about more than brooms, mops, and vacuums. Mama and Papa turn the deserted office building into a magnificent kingdom filled with paper. Then they weave a fantasy of dragons and kings to further engage their reluctant companion--and even encourage him to one day be the king of a paper kingdom.
The Paper Kingdom expresses the joy and spirit of a loving family who turn a routine and ordinary experience into something much grander. Magical art by Pascal Campion shows both the real world and the fantasy through the eyes of the young narrator.
Sweety By Andrea Zuill
An Indie Next List Top 10 Pick!
From the author of WOLF CAMP comes the story of a charming, mushroom-loving, headgear-wearing, totally awkward naked mole rat who is looking for like-minded peeps.
Sweety is awkward, even for a naked mole rat. She has protruding front teeth, thick glasses, and some very unusual hobbies, including interpretive dance and fungus identification. She's intense and passionate--and her peers don't always get her. But surely there are other mushroom lovers out there? As Sweety sets out to find them, she comes to realize--with a little help from her cool Aunt Ruth-- that being Sweety is actually pretty awesome. With heart and humor and a whole lot of charm, Andrea Zuill delivers a story about learning to embrace everything that makes you you--and that's something many kids are going to relate to.
What Is Given from the Heart By Patricia C. McKissack; illustrated by April Harrison
CORETTA SCOTT KING – JOHN STEPTOE ILLUSTRATOR AWARD FOR NEW TALENT WINNER
This final, magnificent picture book from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack is a poignant and uplifting celebration of the joy of giving.
"Misery loves company," Mama says to James Otis. It's been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they're blessed. One Sunday before Valentine's Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service-- the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple's "love box," but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack--with stunning illustrations by Harrison--delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.