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Read Across America in December!

To reach peace we need to teach peace.

Books help students explore and understand how people can and do find ways to work and live cooperatively and coexist peacefully even though there is war and conflict throughout the world. Share and discuss these and other titles to help students ask questions, make connections, and strive for peace.

For Younger Readers

THE THREE LUCYS by Hayan Charara; illustrated by Sara Kahn (Lee & Low, 2016)
Luli lives in Lebanon with his family and his three beloved cats, one of which doesn’t appear after Luli’s city is bombed.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

War is something children around the world deal with and something that your students may have many questions and concerns about. Sharing books like The Three Lucys by Hayan Charara or Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad by James Rumford offer opportunities for students to share their concerns and questions and for them to hear that adults care too. Explore the issues of war and definitions of peace and talk about ways kids can practice and promote peace at school, home, and in their community.

Learn More About:

  • Teaching about loss, healing, and children experiencing war with the Teacher’s Guide for The Three Lucys from Lee & Low Books.
  • Lebanon from TeachMideast and the BBC and share information to help students build background knowledge about the Middle East.

For Middle Grade Readers

AMINA’S VOICE by Hena Khan (Simon & Schuster, 2017)
Amina is a Pakistani-American Muslim sixth-grader who is a little worried about all the changes that come with being in middle school. But when her community’s mosque is vandalized, she realizes that even though her friends and friendships are changing, they are still there to support her.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

In Amina’s Voice, after the mosque is vandalized, Imam Malik says, “Some people don’t understand Islam or are misled and fear us.” Ask students to brainstorm and discuss what they know about Islam, helping them to identify and dispel stereotypes. Give students time and resources to do research and add to their knowledge about Islam. Encourage them to learn about the differences within the Muslim population and compare Amina and her family with other American Muslims and with Americans with other religious beliefs. Ask students to reflect on what it takes to understand and appreciate the perspective of others and live together with our differences.

Learn More About:

  • How to engage students in discussion about Amina’s Voice with this Reading Group Guide from Simon and Schuster.
  • Promoting understanding about Islam with this toolkit for teachers from PBS and getting to know American Muslims and their faith with this curriculum from the Islamic Networks Group.

For Young Adult Readers

RONIT & JAMIL by Pamela L. Laskin (Katherine Tegen Books, 2017)
In a modern-day Romeo-and-Juliet story set in Israel, Ronit, the daughter of an Israeli pharmacist, meets Jamil, the son of a Palestinian doctor. Ronit and Jamil’s fathers can overlook political differences when it comes to helping sick people, but when their children fall in love, hostilities rise.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Ronit and Jamil are separated by generations of conflict. But what is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict about? Have students research and learn more about the history of the conflict. Ask students to work in small groups to take on the points of view of Ronit, Jamil, Chaim, and Mohammed and use what they learned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to discuss how the world of Ronit and Jamil differs from the world of their parents. What has the older generation experienced that allows them to overlook some things but not others? In what ways do the young lovers adopt the beliefs of the old, and in what ways do they ignore them, forgive them, fight against them, or just move on?

Learn More About:

Additional Resources

Read Across America Featured Partner

The Library of Congress Center for the Book promotes books and libraries, literacy and reading as well as poetry and literature. The Center for the Book incorporates several private-public partnerships designed to implement programs, awards and prizes in order to nurture and expand a culture of literacy and reading. The Library of Congress Center for the Book has established affiliate centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands and more than 80 organizations have been designated Center for the Book reading promotion partners both in the United States and abroad.

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.

School Integrated Pest Management
This group will provide information and resources for integrated pest management training and advice for all educators and school districts . Pest management is important, but often overlooked, part of school safety. Pests can cause stings and bites, and can trigger allergies. In addition, some pests pose health threats by spreading germs and filth. Un-managed pest problems can result in damage to school property, unsightly landscapes, and other unsafe conditions.

Our Read Across America Online Store is Open!

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




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 Teacher Day
May 7, 2019

National Teacher Appreciation Week
May 6-10, 2019

American Education Week
November 11-15, 2019

Coming in 2020...

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