Read Aloud of the Day!

June 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. 

The One and Only Bob

BY KATHERINE APPLEGATE                         June 26

Grade 3-7
Harper Collins                       2020            352 pages

The One and Only Bob is a sequel to Katherine Applegate’s Newbery Award winner, The One and Only Ivan. Bob was a scrappy stray until he was adopted by Julia and her family. He now has a cozy bed, food to eat, and a forever home. Bob is also able to continue his friendship with Ivan, the silverback gorilla and Ruby, the baby elephant, who now reside at an animal sanctuary. But the precocious pup still relives the horror of being thrown out of a moving truck onto the highway and is haunted by the cries of his siblings, especially his sister Boss. Bob’s life as a domesticated pet is going well until tragedy strikes and he must fight for the lives of his friends and himself. The first person narrative, humorous perspective, and compassion for others will certainly engage children in discussion about the power of friendship and family.

All Because You Matter

BY TAMI CHARLES     BRYAN COLLIER    IL.    June 25

Grades K-up
Scholastic Books           2020        40 pages

I usually don’t post a #ReadAloudoftheDay that isn’t published yet, but today I’m going to make an exception. Yesterday, I listened to author Tami Charles and illustrator Bryan Collier talk about their upcoming book, All Because You Matter. Tami shared that this book was written for her son. That is actually an illustration of him on the cover! The lyrical text reassures children that they matter and that their worth is never diminished. Bryan shared how he created and layered petals that appear on the endpapers and in various ways through the book. I have been a fan of Bryan’s collage illustrations after I served on the 2002 Caldecott Medal committee that recognized his Martin’s Big Words as an Honor book. All Because You Matter will be published on October 6. This will be one to read aloud and discuss with children.

Here and Now

BY JULIA DENOS        E.B. GOODALE    IL. 

Grades K-up              June 22
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt      2019    40 pages

Here and Now by Julia Denos is a book that you will want to read aloud and revisit often. Denos states in her author’s note that this book grew out of a poem that was part of her meditation practice. “But instead of using the traditional in-and-out breath, I used words and page turns to help ground readers in their own moment—in that way, the book is a real-time meditation.” So as you are reading this book, there are so many things happening around you and it’s important to pause and notice while keeping your senses “wide”. “Like this moment, you are full of every possibility. What will your story be as it grows right from this spot, right where you are?” This remarkable picture book contains equally thought-provoking illustrations by E.B. Goodale. After months of slowing down, what have you noticed?

The Undefeated

BY KADIR NELSON        KWAME ALEXANDER    IL.

Grades 1-4                 June 19

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt        2019      40 pages

Today is a good day to post, once again, this incredible book that is the recipient of both the 2020 Caldecott Medal for illustrator Kadir Nelson and the 2020 Newbery Honor book award for author Kwame Alexander. The Undefeated, is a poetic love letter to black life in the United States. It illumines the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes, both past and present. Back matter offers historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more about the individuals featured in the poem and illustrations. Nelson has created some striking paintings recently that have been featured on Rolling Stone magazine and The New Yorker. If you aren’t familiar with this award winning book, please seek it out and read it aloud to children of all ages.

Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!

BY SARAH KAPIT                 June 17

Grades 3-6
Dial Books               2020     330 pages

Vivian Jane Cohen loves baseball. After meeting knuckleball pitcher VJ Capello, she is determined to master the difficult grip. When she is assigned to write a letter to someone for her social skills group, Vivy decides to begin a correspondence with the famous pitcher. In her letters, she expresses to VJ her admiration for his pitching while sharing her interest in baseball and challenges related to being autistic. Eventually, VJ writes back to the budding pitcher with well wishes, and advice, for being the only girl on a boys’ baseball team. The back and forth letters between Vivy and VJ reveal struggles they both face--Vivy has to deal with a lack of self-confidence, an overprotective mother, and a belligerent bully, while VJ is attempting to overcome a disastrous finish to last year’s World Series as he begins a new season. Author Sarah Kapit delivers a story that is pitch perfect in how characters are portrayed, relationships evolve, and issues are addressed. Lots to discuss, and cheer, in this feel-good chapter book about skill, determination and love for the game of baseball.

Snail Crossing

#ReadAloudDaily

BY COREY R. TABOR                June 16

Grads PreSchool-2

Balzer & Bray                 2020     40 pages      

Looking for a story about determination and perseverance as well as unexpected friendship? While scooting around one day, a snail spies a field of plump, crisp cabbage. Unfortunately it’s across the road. “Well you won’t stop me!” the Snail shouted and off he went. Along the way a car narrowly misses him and a troop of rowdy, antsy ants dash around him, but nothing is going to stand in his way. When it begins to rain, the ants need to find shelter and Snail accommodates them. Soon a tea party ensues as Snail tells the ants about his desire to reach the cabbage. When the rain stops, the ants go on their way and the Snail begins his quest once again. Unfortunately, an encounter with a hungry crow leaves him dizzy and disoriented and soon he has returned to the side of the road where he first began. But wait! What is that coming toward him? It’s the cabbage he coveted being delivered by his new ant friends. Corey R. Tabor’s humorous tale of kindness is perfectly paired with engaging illustrations that offer Snail’s perspective of the world and his willingness to help others.

Layla's Happiness

BY MARIAHADESS EKERE TALLIE      ASHLEIGH CORRIN    IL.

Grades PreSchool-2                   June 15

Mariahadess Ekere Tallie              2019            48 pages

Layla is seven years old and has quite the list of things that make her happy like climbing a tree, wearing purple, or eating spaghetti without a fork. She is also happy when her dad tells her stories about growing up in South Carolina or when her mother reads her poetry. Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie’s poetic text celebrates finding happiness in the people and seemingly simple aspects of our lives. Boldly colorful and expressive illustrations by Ashleigh Corrin capture all that is special in Layla’s life. What makes you happy? Reading aloud this delightful picture book to a child should be added to your list.

The Parker Inheritance

BY VARIAN JOHNSON                 June 12

Grades 5 and up

Scholastic                 2018         352 pages

This is one of my favorite chapter books from a couple of years ago. Candice Miller discovers a letter in a book, in a box, in the attic of her late grandmother’s house in Lambert, South Carolina. The letter is not addressed to Candice but rather to her grandmother, Abigail Caldwell, who left the small southern town in a cloud of shame. What follows is a story laden with an unsolved mystery, intricate puzzles, engaging characters, and a range of social issues such as racism, segregation, gender and racial identity, friendship, and divorce. The well-written narrative alters between past and present and is filled with twists and turns that perplex Candice and her neighborhood peer, Brandon Jones. There is much to discuss as the story unfolds. Following multiple stories might be a bit challenging, but definitely well worth it.

I Walk with Vanessa

BY KERASCOET                             June 11

Grades Pre-school to 3

Schwartz and Wade          2018      40 pages

At times, a wordless book can be more powerful in conveying a message than a book with text. Such is the case with I Walk with Vanessa. A young girl is the newest student in her class. On the way home, she is bullied while other children stand by and do nothing. One of the girls is visibly upset and agonizes all night about not doing anything. The next day, she knocks on the door of her new classmate and walks with her to school. Soon other children join them, creating a unified group. This book offers children an opportunity to talk about bullying as well as discussing ideas for supporting others through acts of kindness.

You Matter

BY CHRISTIAN ROBINSON            June 9

Grades Pre-school-up

Atheneum Books                    2020        40 pages

Brightly colored, textured illustrations accompany lyrical text assures readers that miniscule or gigantic, first or last, old or young, You Matter. Author and illustrator Christian Robinson says about his newest book: “You Matter is a response to a question, ‘What do I most want to say to young readers, to anyone?’ You Matter is also the result of a deeply felt concern that not every child receive that message, or is treated as if they or their life matters”. Christian reads aloud this heartfelt book and offers insight about his writing and art on the PBS Kids link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltOaIsWXpHA

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You

BY JASON REYNOLDS & IBRAM X. KENDI                 June 4
Grades 7-up
Little, Brown Books                   2020                   320 pages

Over the past few days, I have been rereading Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi's, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. This is an extremely powerful book for young adults that is a remix of Kendi's book for adults. In the opening pages, Reynolds contends that this isn't a history book but rather one that contains history . . . "A book that hopefully will help us better understand where we are as Americans, specificaly as our identify pertains to race. Read and discuss this book with your teenager or your students. This book is backordered on some websites but check and support your local bookstore or access it as an ebook. Reynolds and Kendi have been interviewed quite a lot recently including on the Today Show as well as by School Library Journal. Here is the link for the interview https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=jason-reynolds-ibram-kendi-in-conversation-slj-day-of-dialog-2020-antiracism

Where Are You From?

BY YAMILE SAIED MENDEZ        JAIME KIM    IL.

Grade K-4               June 2

HarperCollins             2019        40 pages   

What occurs when you don’t look like others around you? A young girl is asked, “Where are you from?” When she replies that she is “from here, from today, same as everyone else”, she is questioned again, “No, where are you REALLY from?” So she turns to her Abuelo because he knows everything. Also, just like her, she feels he doesn’t look like he belongs. His response isn’t quite what she expects when he tells her that she is from hurricanes and dark storms, from mountains and blue oceans, from the Pampas and the gaucho. She is also from his heart. This beautifully illustrated, lyrical picture book will prompt conversations with children about identity, race, acceptance, and belonging. When I have read “Where Are You From?”,aloud, it has sparked powerful responses from both children and adults.

Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice

BY MAHOGANY L. BROWNE, ELIZABETH ACEVEDO, OLIVIA GATWOOD     THEODORE TAYLOR III     IL.

Grades 1-8                                    June 1

Roaring Book Press                         2020      56 pages

In her author’s note, Mahogany L. Browne writes, “To be WOKE is to understand that equality and justice for some is not equality and justice at all. We must stay alert. We must ask hard questions. We must stand for what is right—even when it is difficult and scary.” Right now, hard questions are being asked, especially by children. And it might be difficult or we might feel uncomfortable in answering those questions. This powerful and expressive collection of poems offers a range of topics that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice. Read them aloud to kids and then provide them with the space and opportunity to share their thoughts, their questions, their concerns, and their ideas.