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Read Across America in September!

Celebrate the richness of Hispanic culture! Share books and learning opportunities that provide valuable insight into the history of Hispanic heritage and get students thinking about the many contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

For Younger Readers

ALL THE WAY TO HAVANA by Margarita Engle; illustrations by Mike Curato (Henry Holt and Co., 2017) takes readers for a ride in Cara Cara, a beloved family car, to see the sights on the streets of Havana.

Read, Discuss, and Explore:

Ask students to think about what they see when they travel through their own neighborhoods. What’s important, fun, or interesting about where they live? Who are the people who live there? Have students find out more about them. Students can interview family and friends to find out things they like about the neighborhood and what they might like to change. Or encourage students to take a walk on their street and write, draw, or photograph what they see. Have them compile their notes, interviews, illustrations, and photographs with other students into a special book that will help preserve local history in your community.

Learn More About:

  • Margarita Engle, and her relationship with Cuba, in this video interview at Colorín Colorado
  • Cuba and Cuban heritage with these classroom resources from the State Library and Archives of Florida

For Middle Grade Readers

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US Young Readers Edition by Reyna Grande (Aladdin, 2016) is the memoir of Reyna Grande who was left behind in Mexico while her parents worked to establish a new life in the United States and grows up watching her family grow apart. Eventually, Reyna’s father takes her and her siblings to the U.S. where Reyna struggles to understand the language, the culture, and the father she grew up without.

Read, Discuss, and Explore:

Help students use their own personal experiences to expand their understanding of the immigration experience. Guide a discussion about moving to a new place or starting a new school or new activity. Ask students how they felt about being new and to describe a time they felt like an outsider. What would have made them feel welcome and comfortable? Talk about the reasons students had to or wanted to start anew. Find out what students know about immigration. Ask why they think people decide to leave their homes and start their lives anew. What are some reasons why people have immigrated to the United States? How do these reasons compare to reasons students shared about starting anew? To demonstrate that the experience of immigration is not uniform, consider creating a panel of members of your community to talk with your students about their or their family’s immigration experiences.

Learn More About: 

For Young Adult Readers

BURN BABY BURN by Meg Medina (Candlewick, 2016) takes place in 1977 in Flushing, Queens, where 17-year-old Nora López splits her worries between what to do with her life, how to help her family make ends meet, her dangerous brother, and avoiding becoming the next victim of serial killer Son of Sam.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Nora López, the main character of Burn Baby Burn is Latina. But she doesn’t always embrace or claim this heritage or speak up against racist comments. Help students reflect on how Nora’s sense of her own cultural identity colors and shapes the way she views and interacts with the world. Use this discussion to launch students in reflection of their own identities. Pose questions like: In your view, who or what defines your identity? What factors have shaped your identity and affected your daily life and activities? How do these factors affect your relationships with other people? After reflection and discussion, ask students to write an essay that compares the way they define themselves with the ways they perceive that others define them.

Learn More About:

Additional Resources

  • Bring more Latin American content into the classroom with resources from Vamos a Leer! Teaching Latin America Through Literacy
  • Teaching With Historic Places from the National Park Service offers resource that bring historic places into the classroom, including places in the United States that exemplify the contributions of Hispanic culture
  • Share the stories of U.S. Latinos through this collection of lesson plans, videos and classroom resources from PBS LearningMedia 
  • Lesson plans, created by teachers for teachers, to explore the Hispanic American experience using resources from the Library of Congress
  • More great book recommendations for English, Spanish, and bilingual titles with a Hispanic heritage focus from Colorin Colorado

Read Across America Featured Partner

NEA's Read Across America is proud to partner with We Need Diverse Books, the collaborative effort by diverse authors and illustrators and literacy advocates to support diversity in children and young adult literature.

Edcommunities Groups

Collaborate with educators on this topic in the groups below.

Illinois Education Matters
Illinois Education Matters is a network for all practitioners in education - IEA members and non-members. This effort is designed to serve as a repository for professional development, tools, resources, and information on grants, conferences / workshops, etc. Imagine this as your one stop for all connections. If you have joined our group, please message me - letting me know that you joined. I do not get any information telling me you joined. Our membership is so large, it takes me forever to go through and see our new members. Thanks for your help. You can also join other active groups on edCommunities. Several IEA members are facilitators for edCommunities. Check out and join their groups, if interested. Mary Ann Rivera - Illinois ESPs Mary Jane Morris - Illinois Education Matters IEA Jillian Huber - Integrating Reading and Writing 9th-12th Jim Grimes - Higher Education Amy Kappele - Early Childhood Development & Education

Secondary Literacy
Do you want to inspire your students to think critically, to analyze works, and to use their imaginations on a daily basis? Do you want to explore ways you can integrate reading into writing curricula and writing into reading curricula in your high school classroom? Join us at the Integrating Reading and Writing 9th-12th group to share, explore, and discuss ways for teachers of all content areas to link these two important life skills together in order to help students get the most out of themselves every day.

Social Studies K-12
By participating in this group, members will be able to communicate and address common core standards, obtain and contribute resources, discuss educational leadership, and other educational issues in social studies. This group addresses the needs of social studies educators, grades K-12.

Our Read Across America Online Store is Open!

Visit to purchase stickers, bookmarks, pencils, mugs, hats & more. We have all you need to create a memorable RAA celebration.


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Download the Read Across America 2017 Recommended Books Poster here (PDF).

Click here to download the 2018-19 Read Across America Resource Calendar and Poster!



Reading Rockets offers a wealth of research-based resources designed to launch young readers. It's for parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Coming in 2019...

National Arts in Education Week
September 8-14, 2019

American Education Week
November 18-22, 2019

Coming in 2020...

NEA's Read Across America Day
Monday, March 2, 2020

National Teacher Day
May 5, 2020

National Teacher Appreciation Week
May 4 - 8, 2020