It’s World Read Aloud Day this Wednesday, February 3.
I hope you’re planning to take some time to read aloud to your favorite kid this week – in person, by Zoom, or in whatever way you can manage. And do the voices – no skimping!
I’d be very honored if you chose one of my picture books, in English or Spanish, but any good book will do.
And just in case you’re rusty, here are some tips on how to up your reading game from Reading Rockets.
The celebration isn’t just for the picture book set. To honor World Read Aloud Day – and give you some ideas for your bookshelves ‑ a few book friends and I will be on Kate Messner’s site this week doing five-minute readings of titles due out in 2021. I’ll be previewing Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, coming soon on April 6. The whole thing runs just under an hour, I think. So, follow #WorldReadAloudDay on twitter and bookmark this link to Kate’s site on Wednesday when the video posts. Thanks, Kate, for the gracious invitation!
Also keeping me busy this week is a school visit with students through Brooklyn Public Library – virtually – of course. (In person visits? Fuggedaboudit for a while.) I’ll also be marking the start of Black History month. I’m always on the fence about these designated months, like Hispanic Heritage Month and Women’s History month. We should be reading inclusively all year long and encouraging those habits in young readers. But, still, since BHM is official, I’m holding up four reads from 2020 that I’m hoping you didn’t miss like I did until now.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. Confession, I’m almost done with this one as I type this. (I have about twenty pages to go.) Latinx and Black identities intersect in this beautiful novel in verse about about two sisters – one in New York, one in the Dominican Republic – who discover they share the same father. As always, the characters are rich and complicated, and the voice is spot on. You can read it or catch her on her award-winning audio version.
Class Act, a graphic novel by Jerry Craft, and the follow-up to his Newbery-winning New Kid. I’ll be doing an in-conversation later this spring at the Kweli conference, so I’m getting ready. (Have you registered?) Jerry came through Richmond not too long ago and was gracious enough to visit me on my deck and gift me a precious copy.
Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by 2021 Newbery-honor winner, Carole Boston Weatherford. I’m admirer of basically everything Carole Boston Weatherford writes – and this title even has connections to my hometown of Richmond, VA. Carole always brings historical picture books to a new level, in my view. Can’t wait to dig in.
What Lane by Torrey Maldonado. This comes highly recommended by my assistant Kerri Poore so I’ve placed it at the very top of my to-be-read pile. I’m excited for this one, especially after having loved his earlier MG book, Tight.
Carole, Torrey and Jerry will participate in the African American Children’s Book Fair this Saturday, February 6th. Registration is FREE.
Happy reading (aloud and, if you must, to yourself), and talk to you next week!