I’m so excited to share 4 ways to make Read Across America more diverse! Can you believe that it is almost March? March means a few special events; one of those being Read Across America! March 2nd is the day that we typically celebrate the writings and musings of one, Theodore Seuss Geisel. His stories are fun and countless children, including my own, have learned to read through his stories.
So, learning that he was not someone who appreciated and valued other cultures (putting this very politely) was heartbreaking! I’ll share Instagram posts with you below so you can read more for yourself. I love the idea of making Read Across America more diverse! What a great opportunity to highlight the beauty that comes from learning about others from all walks of life.
Read Across America: A New Way
In light of discovering Theodore Geisel’s beliefs about Black, Asian, and Jewish people, the National Education Association (NEA) chose to move this movement in a new direction. You can learn more about it here. Now, the NEA focuses on diversity and embracing others as the inspiration for Read Across America day. Actually, they have listed a calendar and recommendations for celebrating diversity and diverse cultures throughout the entire year! Here is a post that I shared that has other suggestions for honoring this literacy-centered event.
So, instead of focusing on Dr. Seuss, I would love to challenge you to add a splash of diversity to your celebration. Let’s use these 4 ways to make Read Across America more diverse this year.
We can think of Reading “Across America” in a more literal sense. How fun to spend time reading books that represent different cultures, traditions, languages, and customs. Doesn’t that sound fun? Learning about other cultures is one thing that I truly enjoy and that I love to share with my students. These 4 ways to make Read Across America more culturally diverse may spark an even deeper love for reading in your students.
4 Ways to Make Read Across America More Diverse:
Find authors that live in each state and share their books with students!
The BookWrangler on Instagram created and shared this post. Now, this post is two-fold in that it plays double-duty for Women’s History Month, too.
Who else can we add on the list? I would love for you to share in the comments!
Find local authors that would be willing to share their work. They can create a pre-recorded video or do a live Zoom session with your class. The author would likely love more opportunities to have their work seen. Perhaps you could commit to sharing their story time via social media. The local author could also offer autographed books to the students. Arrange this with them and share the information with parents in advance.
Have a parent or other stakeholder read a beloved story in another language. If you have access to someone that speaks another language fluently, have them share a story in their native tongue. Choose a book that your students know well, like Little Red Riding Hood. This way, students would still have a sense of the action in the story.
Find stories with main characters from diverse backgrounds, religions, regions, or cultures.
Diverse Books You May Love
Here are a few that you may like:
Native American Characters
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard
The Rough-Faced Girl by Rafe Martin
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
Islandborn by Junot Diaz
Dreamers by Yuri Morales
African/Black/ African American Characters
One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul
Sulwe’ by Lupita Nyong’o
Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs by Sharon M. Draper
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho
Drawn Together by Minh Le’
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China by Ai-Ling Louie
My Day With Gong Gong by Sennah Yee
The Story of Malalah Yousafzai: A Biography Book for New Readers by Joan Marie Galat
Malalah Yousafzai: Warrior with Words
Under My Hijab by Hena Khan
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad
Resources on Dr. Seuss and Racism
Here are a few posts that will share more information on Dr. Seuss:
These links share additional perspectives on the controversy of electing to or not to celebrate Theodore Seuss Geisel.
This link shares more details about the concern regarding celebrating Dr. Seuss.
- “Dr. Seuss Anti-Black Published Work” by the Conscious Kid on Instagram
If you are working to advocate for a Non-Dr. Seuss-based Read Across America Day and you need a little guidance, this resource may be just what you need.
- “Caregiver and Parent Guide: Advocating for a Culture-Centered, Inclusive, and Anti-Racist Focused Education” by Read Like a Rockstar on Instagram.
I hope that your students love every second of hearing more diverse texts!
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