Sunday, March 1, 2020

Reading Across America with 50 Inclusive Picture Books

You may not be aware yet, but as of last year NEA changed the focus of Read Across America away from Dr. Seuss and to "Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers" - moving away from a singular focus on, and raising up of, one white male author who has a history of racist imagery* and toward a year-long celebration of the diversity that makes our country what it is. Dr. Seuss can be both a beloved author AND ALSO problematic. So it's time to move away from a day celebrating Seuss and into a year-long focus on inclusive choices

Because we cannot let nostalgia guide our decisions. Because we cannot allow racist or stereotyped imagery to be part of what we promote through our read aloud choices. Because we cannot refuse to move on from the past and bypass our responsibility to represent the entirety of what America is about today. 
As we head into Read Across America Day, here is a list of some alternative titles that would all make valuable choices as a replacement for Dr. Seuss in your read alouds this week.

50 Inclusive Picture Books to Celebrate Reading Across America
*You can shop this list, through my Bookshop affiliate link supporting independent bookstores + my work.

Blue Sky White Stars 
by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
31626023. sx318

Grand Canyon 
by Jason Chin
29102876. sx318

Lulu & Rocky in Milwaukee
by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Ren Graef
40584925. sx318

Under My Hijab
by Hena Khan, illustrated by 
39397848. sx318

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James
34144489. sx318

Rolling Thunder
by Kate Messner, illustrated by Greg Ruth
33027825. sx318

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac
36711245. sx318

The President Sang Amazing Grace: A Book About Finding Grace After Unspeakable Tragedy
by Zoe Mulford, illustrated by Jeff Scher
43908835. sx318

Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge
by Rachel Dougherty
39073384. sx318

Undocumented: A Worker's Fight
by Duncan Tonatiuh
38251799. sy475

Going Down Home With Daddy
by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated Daniel Minter
40685673. sx318

What Is Given From the Heart
by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by April Harrison
40640773. sx318

The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh
by Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Alea Marley

Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon
by Kim Chaffee, illustrated by Ellen Rooney
40046007. sx318

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
42642044. sx318

Bilal Cooks Daal
by Aisha Saeed, illustrated by Anoosha Syed
37829324. sx318

My Papi Has a Motorcycle
by Isabel Quintro, illustrated by Zeke Peña
41542761. sx318

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop
by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Frank Morrison
40396142. sx318

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag
by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Steven Salerno

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré
by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paola Escobar

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker's Story
by Joseph Bruchac, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes
36135829. sx318

by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
38256487. sx318

Always Anjali
by Sheetal Sheth, illustrated by Jessica Blank

All Are Welcome
by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
36959643. sx318

by Oge Mora
43269386. sx318

Let the Children March
by Monica Clark-Robinson, illustrated by Frank Morrison
32510367. sx318

Jingle Dancer
by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

Mission to Space
by John Herrington
34834470. sx318

umpling Dreams: How Joyce Chen Brought the Dumpling from Beijing to Cambridge
by Carrie Clickard, illustrated by Katy Wu
34228305. sx318

Her Right Foot
by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris
34523572. sx318

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines
by Jeanne Walker Harvey,  illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

Early Sunday Morning
by Denene Millner, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
31305936. sx318

Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans
by Phil Bildner, illustrated by John Parra

When Penny Met POTUS
by Rachel Ruiz, illustrated by Melissa A. Manwill
29065130. sx318

Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
by Chris Barton, illustrated by Don Tate

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville
by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Frank Morrison
29066447. sx318

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood
by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López 
25897837. sx318

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
by Mordicai Gerstein

Little Humans
by Brandon Stanton

Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
22521973. sx318

Coming Home
by Greg Ruth

by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Wendell Minor

Drawn Together
by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

Baseball Is...
by Louise Borden, illustrated by Raúl Colón

Charlie Takes His Shot: How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf
by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by John Joven
34734189. sx318

Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights
by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Jared Schorr
38522077. sx318

Salamander Sky
by Katy Farber, illustrated by Meg Sodano
36899829. sx318

Enough! 20 Protestors Who Changed America
by Emily Easton, illustrated by Ziyue Chen
41946103. sx318

Just Read!
by Lori Degman, illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov 
40738141. sx318

The Perfect Seat
by Minh Lê, illustrated by Gus Gordon
44075029. sx318

*If you're unaware of the issues with Dr. Seuss, these links will be helpful:
The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss's Children's Books

Is the Cat in the Hat Racist? Read Across America Shifts Away From Dr. Seuss and Toward Diverse Books (School Library Journal)

Thread from The Conscious Kid in the #DisruptTexts slow chat

New Study Published on Racism and Dr. Seuss (School Library Journal)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this timely post. I love your list of diverse books. Looking forward to reading aloud many of the titles on your list this week with our diverse student population at our school.