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Read Aloud of the Day!

March 2020

An essential element in reading aloud is what you choose to read. Not everyone is familiar with children's literature, either classic or contemporary. These are read aloud titles which eliminates some books that are difficult to read aloud or, because of the subject matter, are best read silently to oneself.

For more book recommendations, check out Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook, 8th Edition, of which I revised and updated and including a Giant Treasury of Great Read-Aloud Books with a multitude of new selections.

Additional Read Aloud of the Day Recommendations can be found at:
January Read Alouds of the Day

February Read Alouds of the Day

Kate Messner books

March 19
Our #ReadAloudoftheDay features author Kate Messner’s website. She is reading aloud one of her books and has compiled a wealth of other resources and author readings. Check it out!!…/
In addition, I created a curriculum guide for Chronicle Books for some of Kate’s picture books.


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Ghost Boys

BY JEWELL PARKER RHODES               March 18

Grades 4-up

Little, Brown            2018               224 pages

Jerome has been wrongly killed by a police officer. From that point, Jerome narrates this powerful story from the perspective as a ghost who views the grief of his family, the conflict of emotions felt by the daughter of the police officer, and his relationship with the ghost of Emmett Till. Ghost Boys offers opportunities to discuss the unfairness of racism and racial violence and the impact that is felt by so many because of it. The publisher has compiled study guides and links to videos that support the reading of Ghost Boys and other books by the amazing Jewell Parker Rhodes.

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        Let Your Imagination Run Wild

With Books &Games From Hervé Tullet


March 17 Today’s #ReadAloudoftheDay features the fun and highly interactive books by author and illustrator Herve Tullet. These titles includes Press Here, Mix It Up!, Let’s Play!, Say Zoop!, and I Have an Idea!. There are videos, an activity guide, as well as a curriculum guide that I created for the first four books that is available on

         Kid Lit Authors Step Up To Help

Educators, Students, and Parents -

Good article on what authors are doing to provide their books and other resources online. I'll be providing some links to a variety of websites as well over the next few days.


Dictionary for a Better World



Grades 4-up                           March 15

Carolrhoda Books     2020    120 pages

In these difficult and uncertain times, this book for middle grade readers and up offers poetic forms, powerful quotes, personal anecdotes, and suggestions for how to make the world a better place. For example, a poem about acceptance is written as a persona with a quote by Pablo Casals, an anecdote by author Irene Latham, and a “Try It!” to “Allow everyone to be where they are.” As we face one day at a time, this is a terrific book companion to join us on the journey.

#ReadAloudToday        #MustRead

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Fry Bread              Saffron Ice Cream

Octopus Stew      Thank you, Omu!



Grades 1-4                                   March 14

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     #LoveToRead    #ReadAloudHandbook

     #BooksForKids      #AlwaysReading

I was looking forward to moderating a panel today called Food! Glorious Food! A Celebration of Culture, during the Tucson Festival of Books. Unfortunately, the festival was cancelled. So today's #ReadAloudoftheDay are the four books that would have been featured in this session.

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal received the 2020 Robert F Sibert Informational Book Award. Maillard’s verse tells all the things fry bread is, like shape, color, flavor, and time, while his author’s notes expand on each aspect of this staple rooted in Native culture.

Rashin Kheiriyeh’s bright-oil-and-acrylic paints on handmade paper gives energy to a young girl’s visit to the beach in Saffron Ice Cream. As the girl and her family ride the train to Coney Island, she reflects on what the beach experience is in her homeland of Iran.

Octopus Stew by Eric Velasquez speaks to the power of storytelling through text and lush oil paintings. An author’s note, glossary, and a recipe for Octopus Stew conclude this tall tale.

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora is also about stew but this time it’s red stew from Nigeria. Everyone in Omu’s neighborhood can smell the delicious stew Omu is making. However, because of her generosity in sharing the scrumptious stew with others, she is soon left with an empty pot and nothing to eat. Or maybe not!

When You Need Wings

BY LITA JUDGE                 March 13

Grades PreS-2

Atheneum         2020        32 pages


“On a day when you feel / like no one is listening / and you wish you could just disappear”, that is the time you need to listen to the “sound of your very own wings.” This beautifully written and illustrated picture book by Lita Judge encourages children to discover the power from within and soar with their own imagination. The first few wordless illustrations set the story into motion and emotion as a young girl is reluctant to go to preschool. The hardcover casing under the book jacket offers yet another perspective of those who soar with wings. This is my new favorite book for empowering young children to discover the wonder and courage that they possess. #ReadAloudoftheDay    #ReadingMatters

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My Best Friend

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Grades PreS-2                                      March 12

Atheneum          2020          32 pages

A young girl has never had a best friend, but still recognizes the bonds of friendship with someone she has just met. In this captivating picture book by Julie Fogliano, these two new best friends find joy and laughter in the little things and understand that it’s okay if they don’t like the same things—like strawberry ice cream. The evocative text is complemented beautifully by Jillian Tamaki’s rust and olive toned illustrations that exhibits the exuberance and boundless energy of true friendship. Be sure to peek under the book jacket and view the initial illustration of one of the girls.     #ReadAloudoftheDay

The Bear in My Family

BY MAYA TATSUKAWA             March 11

Grades PreS-2

Dial Books          2020          32 pages

A little boy insists he lives with a bear that is loud, bossy, and always hungry. However, his parents disagree and suggest that he go play outside. At the park, the boy is bullied by other kids when suddenly the bear appears and scares them away. Maybe having a bear in the family isn’t such a bad thing at all—especially when that bear is an older sibling. Digital art with handmade textures by Maya Tatsukawa and good use of space offsets both the boy and his sibling to show actions and behavior. #ReadAloudoftheDay    #WritersCommunity

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Follow the Recipe: Poems About Imagination, Celebration, and Cake


Grades 1-7                  March 10

Dial Books        2020         48 pages

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This yummy collection of poems by Marilyn Singer offers various recipes such as those for enjoying the seasons, for love, for adventure, and for patience, along with a recipe for fairy tales and one for reading. Marjorie Priceman’s delectable collage illustrations are the perfect complement for younger and older kids to think about recipes in a completely different way. Poetry is meant to be read aloud and these poems about imagination, celebration, and cake will engage listeners’ ears and possibly prompt them to write their own delicious poem.  #ReadAloud    #ILoveBooks  #Literacy

Prairie Lotus

Do you recall a book that created a lump in your throat, tears in your eyes, and heartfelt compassion for the character? Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park is that book. It’s April 1880 as 14-year-old Hanna and her father travel by wagon to LaForge, a railroad town in Dakota Territory. Hoping to fulfill a wish of her late mother to obtain a diploma, Hanna persuades her father to allow her to attend school. When the townspeople realize that Hanna is half-Asian, they begin keeping their children at home. The unfounded beliefs and fears about “a Chinaman” in their community fuels additional conflicts. This powerful and captivating novel will prompt rich discussion about ill-conceived perceptions and biases toward others. Don’t miss the compelling author’s note.   #ReadAloudoftheDay  #LoveReading

BY LINDA SUE PARK                  March 9

Grades 4-7

Houghton Mifflin      2020      272 pages

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 Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Grades 1-5                                  March 7

Disney Hyperion    2020    48 pages

As we celebrate #InternationalWomensDay the #ReadAloudoftheDay pays tribute to Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Doreen Rappaport highlights Ginsburg’s personal and professional life through informative text and stirring quotes. Eric Velasquez’s stunning portrait of Ginsburg on the cover and vibrant interior illustrations depict an independent, determined, and diligent champion for fairness and equal treatment under the law. Who better to recognize and honor today than this amazing sharp-witted and bold woman whose compelling arguments and commitment to justice has earned her the respect and admiration of young and old alike.



Grades PreS-2                                      March 6    

Candlewick    2019    32 pages

Duck frantically runs around the farm shouting DUCK! The other animals think Duck is calling them by the wrong name so they try to explain to the feathered fowl that they are a pig, a horse, and a cow. As things begin to fall from the sky, Duck realizes he should have said RUN! Those familiar with Chicken Little will notice some similarities which would make this a fun compare and contrast activity. Also, kids will notice great use of font and engaging illustrations. #ReadAloudoftheDay


What Do You Do With a Voice Like That?


Grades PreS-3                         March 6

Beach Lane Books    2018    48 pages

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In honor of Women’s History Month, today’s #ReadAloudoftheDay is a tribute to Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Jordan grew up in Houston, Texas and had a “big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice. She used that voice to become a lawyer and later entered into politics. Jordan served as a Texas state senator and in 1972, was elected to Congress. In 1974, her televised speech to the nation addressed how, then-President Nixon’s actions, had violated the Constitution. What do we do with a voice like that? “We remember it, and we honor it by making our own voices heard.” Chris Barton’s narrative and inspiring text is coupled with Ekua Holmes bold and vibrant mix-media illustrations. This is an impressive picture book biography that conveys to children the importance of standing up and being heard.

A Map Into the World


Grades K-3                               March 5

Carolrhoda Books    2019    32 pages

Paj Ntaub and her family move into their new house in the summer when her mother is pregnant with twins. Across the street an elderly couple, Ruth and Bob, wave to their new neighbors—something they continue to do throughout the warm summer months. Soon the twins are born and winter arrives. When the seasons change, Bob once again sits outside but this time alone as Ruth has passed away. To comfort Bob, Paj Ntaub asks if she can create a chalk drawing on his driveway which contains items such as leaves, snow, lilac flowers, and a smiling worm named Annette. She tells Bob that it is a map into the world, “Just in case you need it.” A Hmong story cloth is featured on the endpapers and also hung on the wall in Paj Ntaub home which may prompt listeners to realize that the young girl has created her own version of a story cloth. The pastel, graphite, watercolor, and textured illustrations display loving relationships and the colors of the changing seasons.

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Everyone's Awake


Grades K-3

Chronicle Books    2020    48 pages  

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It’s immediately evident that this #ReadAloudoftheDay is written by an author with musical roots. Colin Meloy is the lead singer and songwriter of The Decemberists, “a highly celebrated and uncommonly literary band that has sold in excess of one million records.” As night falls, a child is snuggled into bed but realizes that everyone else in the household is wide awake. Grandma’s doing needlework, Dad is baking bread, sister is flossing her braces while reciting Baudelaire, and even the cat is wide awake running circles. The rhyming text will make reading aloud this wildly humorous story an exuberant experience. Illustrations by Shawn Harris add to the madcap scenario depicting this frenetic family. Enjoy!


BY PAM MUNOZ RYAN            March 3

Grades 3-7 
Scholastic Press    2020    256 pages

Happy #bookbirthday to Pam Muñoz Ryan’s richly layered story, Mañanaland. This is an excellent choice for the #ReadAloudoftheDay because it presents thought-provoking topics that will pique listeners’ and readers’ interest and keep them engaged from beginning to end. Ryan weaves fantasy elements with realistic scenarios in this story of a soccer-loving boy who is forced to face the struggles of refugee immigrants. There is so much that will resonant with kids and prompt rich discussion. This one is not to be missed.


The Bug Girl: A True Story


Grades PreS-3              March 1

Schwartz & Wade    2020    44 pages

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The Bug Girl: A True Story will inspire kids to discover their passion and not let anyone discourage them from pursuing it. Sophia Spencer began to love bugs as a two-and-a-half year old when a butterfly landed on her shoulder. Other children were excited to hear Sophia share her knowledge about bugs—that is, until she went to first grade. Soon, Sophia stopped talking about bugs altogether. Concerned, her mother reached out to entomologists to inquire if someone would be interested in being Sophia's “bug pal”. When a bug scientist emailed back and asked to post the request online, soon other bug scientists from around the world shared their own enthusiasm about the work they did. Sophia also gained recognition from the media and even appeared on Good Morning, America. The book concludes with Sophia’s Big Book of Bugs. Watercolor illustrations by Kerascoët shows Sophia’s pure bug joy. A great book for kids to see that exploring what interests them is more important than what others’ think. #ReadingIsFun

Trio of "Rollicking Read-Alouds"!


On Friday, Nov. 15, I am presenting a session on Rollicking Read Alouds at the American Association of School Librarians in Louisville, KY. I will be joined by Laura Murray, Tracey Hecht, and Brendan Wenzel. Laura has a picture book series of "Gingerbread Man" books that provide rhyming, rollicking fun. Tracey's "Nocturnals" books are good for middle-grade readers and reading aloud because of the interesting characters and lots of dialogue that engages listeners. And of course, Brendan Wenzel's picture books are artistically stunning. Not sure if A Stone Sat Still would be considered a "rollicking read aloud" but it is definitely a must for reading aloud and discussing with kids.

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Feed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson


Grades 1-4 

Abrams Books for Young Readers 2019    48 pages 


This week, my undergraduate children's literature class is exploring picture book biographies. I think some of the best biographies are published in this format. One author that does an amazing job in writing about the life of individuals is Jen Bryant. Whether the focus is on artists such as Georgia O'Keefe or Horace Pippin, word wizard Peter Mark Roget, or poet William Carlos Williams, each one is unique in how the information is presented. One week from today, Jen's newest book, Feed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson, will be available. I can't wait to read this newest gem by Jen.

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Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks


Grades 5 and up 

Atheneum, 2019    194 pages

Jason Reynolds is a masterful storyteller and Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks doesn’t disappoint. Ten short stories, featuring characters in middle school, are cleverly woven together in both humorous and poignant ways. But all of them are sure to engage kids. Each chapter averages around 15 pages (perfect for reading aloud) and tackles a topic not far removed from experiences kids encounter in middle grades. And these topics will definitely prompt discussion starting with the first chapter on boogers and others focusing on bullying, parental illness, and homophobia. I haven’t had an opportunity to share this with kids but would love to hear about their reactions if you have some to share.

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I Wonder

Grades Preschool-2
Random House Books for Young Readers    2019    40 pages                      

Questions such as, "I wonder if sandwiches get made when you bite them?" or "Do windmills ever get tired?" or "I wonder if books read us, too?" will certainly prompt other questions and motivate kids to conduct their own inquiry into the world around them. K.A. Holt's whimsical questions are accompanied by Kenard Pak's captivating illustrations in this engaging wonder-ful picture book.

Hands Up!

Grades Preschool-3
Dial Books    2019    32 pages

I'm always on the lookout for books that lend themselves to interactive read alouds. Hands Up by Breanna J. McDaniel is perfect for preschool and kindergarten storytimes. Kids will quickly pick up on the repetitive phrase, “Hands Up” and will join in the fun.  Vibrant and colorful illustrations by Shane W. Evans make excellent use of lines to prompt raising hands up high.

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Bear Came Along

Grades: Preschool-3
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers    2019    40 pages 

"Once there was a river that flowed night and day, but it didn't know it was a river until Bear Came Along". And soon more animals join bear and a grand adventure is had by all. Richard T. Morris's, Bear Came Along, contains a humorous storyline filled with expressive vocabulary such as curious, content, and excited. LeUyen Pham's illustrations are eye-catching and depict each character's emotions as they embark on an adventure that is literally filled with twists and turns. Be sure to remove the dust jacket, view the endpapers, and read the author and illustrator notes at the end.

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Child of the Dream: A Memoir of 1963


Grades 4-8 

Scholastic, 2019 234 pages

At the recent International Literacy Association Conference in New Orleans, I had the pleasure of hearing Sharon Robinson speak about her new book Child of the Dream: A Memoir of 1963. This is a compelling book in which she talks about her thirteen-year-old self and the impact of one of the most important years of the Civil Rights Movement. That year saw the Children’s March in 1963, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in which four young girls were killed. Photos of Sharon and her family (which of course includes baseball legend, Jackie Robinson) are included. Two picture books that could accompany the reading of this book include Let the Children March written by Monica Clark-Robinson and A Place to Land: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein with stunning illustrations by Jerry Pinkney.

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If I Built a School


Grades K-3

Dial, 2019  32 pages

If I Built A School by Chris Van Dusen is perfect for reading aloud. Van Dusen uses rhyming couplets that flow easily and aren’t forced by including words just to create a rhyme. The illustrations have a unique and eye-catching retro look that is Van Dusen’s trademark style. Imaginations will soar with the thought of hover desks with bumpers, a robo-chef named Pete who mixes up tasty, and unique lunches, and a playground with a zip line and water for tubing. Teachers would love this school as well where a stylus can be used to write in the air, hologram guests both past and present can visit the classroom, and specialty buses can dive underwater and blast off the ground. This is the third in Van Dusen’s series which includes If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012). Kids will be motivated and excited to think about all the other things or places that could be built.


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The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation


Grades K-3                                                  

Atheneum, 2017; e-book, audiobook  96 pages

This is book four in the popular Princess in Black series. Our heroine, Princess Magnolia, is exhausted. She has been battling monsters for the fourteenth time in one week. When the masked Goat Avenger suggests she take a vacation, the Princess decides to ride her bicycle to the seashore. When a sea monster begins terrorizing the beach, the Princess in Black knows she needs to spring into action. Dual storylines of Princess Magnolia and

the Goat Avenger keep the pace exciting. Illustrations by LeUyen Pham add to the fun. Other books in the series: The Princess in Black; The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party; The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde; The Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate; The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare; and The Princess in Black Takes a Holiday.

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Dean Hale, Shannon Hale, Marie LeJeune, Cyndi Giorgis at the International Literacy Association Conference in New Orleans, October, 2019

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Marie LeJeune and Cyndi Giorgis preparing for their presentation with Dean and Shannon Hale at ILA by dressing as Princess in Black. 
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Smash!"

A Drop of Hope


Grades 3–8                                                                                                             

Scholastic, 2019; e-book  320 pages


A well. A wish. And a little drop of hope. These three things are expertly woven together in this engaging and thought-provoking read-aloud. The town of Cliffs Donnelly is facing tough times and a few miracles would help its residents. Sixth grader Ernest Wilmette is small in stature, but large with optimism. His classmates, Ryan Hardy and Lizzy MacComber, are not quite as positive in their outlook given their family and personal challenges.  And then there’s bully Tommy Bricks who is feared by all.

At the center of the story is Thompkins Well where, legend has it, a miracle took place generations ago when a significant wish was granted. When Ernest and Ryan discover a hidden tunnel that leads to the bottom of the well, they also unwittingly hear the wishes of people—some whose voices they recognize and others that are unfamiliar. Ernest decides they should find a way to make the wishes come true despite Ryan’s skepticism. Couple Ernest’s genuine wish-granting intent with his task of cleaning his late grandfather’s attic and somehow wishes do come true. Told through various characters’ perspectives, this novel is storytelling at its finest. 


Related books: Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly; The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan; Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo; and Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.

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Grades Preschool-2 Little Brown, 2019 40 pages

Daddy takes pride in his perfect lawn. But then he spies a dandelion. Before he is able to get his clippers to remove it, his daughter, Sweetie, has claimed it and named it Charlotte. Every attempt to remove the weed is unsuccessful because Sweetie doesn’t stray far away from it. Finally, daddy has his chance when Sweetie leaves for swim lessons. As he makes his approach toward the dandelion, he spies a picture Sweetie has drawn of Charlotte and daddy. Unfortunately, his clippers drop and damage Charlotte. The illustrations on the next few pages are hilarious as daddy and his neighbros try to revive the damaged dandelion. If you are looking for a charming book about fathers and daughers, this one will do the trick. Related books: Dad By My Side by Soosh; and My Dad Thinks He’s Funny by Katrina Germein.

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