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Read Across America 2018-19 Calendar of Monthly Observances

Use this digital calendar to save the date and plan ahead for special celebrations and observances throughout the school year. Each month, we offer suggested books, activities, and resources to engage and motivate your students!

On the Calendar - September

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Themes: anxiety, depression, grief, identity, immigration, Mexican-American community, family


Erika L. Sanchez's website

Library Card Sign-Up Month

September 1: National Book Festival

September 2: Margarita Engle

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:

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

September 3: Labor Day

September 8: International Literacy Day

September 11: National Day of Service and Remembrance

September 15: Tomie dePaola

September 17: Constitution Day

Learn more about the Constitution and how to uphold its principles from a citizen who is passionate about his adopted country.

Themes: American history, U.S. Constitution, civics, social justice, immigrants

Meet the author:
KidsReads: Khizr Khan biography
PBS News Hour: Khizr Khan's Brief But Spectacular take on dignity and patriotism
Random House Off the Page: Khizr Khan in conversation with Ben Greenberg

Discussion tools:
National Archives: Teaching Six Big Ideas in the Constitution
Constitution USA with Peter Sagal from PBS
Resources to engage students in meaningful civic learning from iCivics

September 21: International Day of Peace
On the International Day of Peace, explore the themes of community, tolerance, and citizenship with these books suggested by Reading Rockets

September 23-29: Banned Books Week

September 25: James E. Ransome

On the Calendar - October

National Arts and Humanities Month

National Bullying Prevention Month

Themes: immigrant experience, English as a second language, friendship, bullying

Meet the author:
Angela Dominguez website
Ready Set Draw! Author/Illustrator Angela Dominguez Draws! from KidLit TV
Chicago Public Library: Author of the Month Angela Dominguez

Discussion tools:
Let the Hot Air Out of Bullies!: An Activity for Kids from Teaching Tolerance
Identity-Based Bullying: Lesson Plan from the Anti-Defamation League

October 7-13 Teen Read Week


October 8 Indigenous Peoples Day

October 17 Christopher Myers

October 20 National Day on Writing

October 24 Monica Brown

October 25 Read for the Record  Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael Lopez, is shared through the eyes of a young girl but based on the work of artists Rafael and Candice Lopez, who brought their neighbors together to turn community spaces into a canvas for creative collaboration.

HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016.

October 31 Katherine Paterson

On the Calendar -- November

Native American Heritage Month

Themes: First Nations; Native Peoples; girls and women; biography; multicultural; stereotyping; acceptance; community; prejudice; self-esteem; tolerance

Co-editors Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale on Dreaming In Indian video from Annick Press
Native American Cultures Across the U.S. lessons and resources from EDSITEment

National Picture Book Month

National Novel Writing Month

November 1 Author

November 9 Lois Elhert

November 11 Veterans Day

November 12-16 American Education Week

November 14 Education Support Professionals Day

November 16 Substitute Educator

November 22 Thanksgiving

November 24 Tim Tingle's birthday

On the Calendar -- December

Human Rights Month

December 3-7 Inclusive Schools Week

December 6 Jason Reynold

For Every One by Jason Reynolds (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum)
Everyone has a dream--and this poem is a reminder to all the dreamers that their dreams matter.

Themes: poetry, frustration, courage, compassion, call to action


Jason Reynolds' website
Interview with Jason Reynolds on Sirius XM Make It Plain

December 8 Henry Cole

December 10 Human Rights Day

December 15 Bill of Rights Day

December 20 Lulu Delacre

Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos by Lulu Delacre (HarperCollins)
Short stories drawn from true accounts offer moving portraits of the hardships and victories of the diverse Latinos who live in the United States.

Themes: Latino experience, short stories, identity, immigration, bullying, family, religion

Meet the author:
Lulu Delacre website
A video interview with Lulu Delacre from Reading Rockets

Discussion tools:

T.A.P. in to the Book: Story connections for each story in US, in Progress
Tougher Times For Latino Students? History Says They've Never Had It Easy from NPR
Latino Americans from PBS Learning Media

On the Calendar -- January

National Mentoring Month

National Braille Literacy Month

  • The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped: About Braille

January 1 New Year

January 4 World Braille Day and Birthday of Louis Braille

January 5 Lynne Cherry

January 21 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Themes: activism, reading and literacy, making a difference


Meet the author:

Marley Dias by Jacqueline Woodson
Teen activist and author Marley Dias on CBS This Morning

Discussion tools:
1000 Black Girl Books Resource Guide created from the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign led by Marley Dias
Marley Dias: The 13-Year-Old Activist & Author: article, paired texts, related media and guides from CommonLit

January 19 Pat Mora

January 31 Brian Collier

On the Calendar - February

Black History Month

Themes: racism, police brutality, grief, forgiveness, friendship

Meet the author:

Jewell Parker Rhodes' website
Q & A with Jewell Parker Rhodes from Publishers Weekly
Meet Jewell Parker Rhodes video from Little, Brown Young Readers

Discussion tools:

Book Club Guide from Little, Brown Young Readers
Author Jewell Parker Rhodes: My Personal Connection to Ghost Boys
Talking points for Ghost Boys from the author

National African American Read-In

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt/Macmillan): While ruthlessly pursued by Prince Inan, Zelie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue Princess Amari, fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi.

Themes: colorism, oppression, prejudice, magic, siblings, resistance


Tomi Adeyemi's website
Teacher for Children of Blood and Bone from Macmillan

February 9 Matt de la Pena's Birthday

February 12 Jacqueline Woodson's birthday

February 13 Carole Boston Weatherford's Birthday

  • Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Little Bee Books, 2016) describes the lives of slaves who labor daily from sun up to sundown, but on Sunday afternoon gather in Congo Square in New Orleans to share music.

Discuss and explore:

Though the couplets evoke nursery rhymes, this title can be enjoyed by all ages and is especially important in a discussion of slavery in America. A discussion guide by the publisher can help facilitate that conversation and the educator resources from Music Rising at Tulane open a line of inquiry for all grade levels.

February 18 Presidents Day

On the Calendar - March

National Reading Month

National Women's HIstory Month

Themes: women, biography, defiance, doing your own thing

Interview with The Beat: Penelope Bagieu on Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World

Using Young Adult Graphic Novels in the Classroom from First Second includes discussion questions, teaching recommendations, and CCSS alignment for Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World

Music in Our Schools Month

Themes: loss, grief, love, friendship, family, music


Ashley Woodfolk's website
Spotify playlist for The Beauty That Remains

March 1 NEA's Read Across America Day

March 1 Tonya Bolden

March 8 International Women's Day

March 12 Naomi Shihab Nye's Birthday

March 21 World Poetry Day

Themes: misconceptions, self-awareness, coming of age, injustice, empowerment

Meet the authors:

Irene Latham's website
Charles Waters's website

Author Q & A with Irene Latham and Charles Waters
Irene Latham and Charles Waters on The Children's Book Podcast

Discussion tools:

Teacher created by Berry and Company Educational Experiences
Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics With Students from Teaching Tolerance
Promoting Social Imagination Through Interior Monologues from Zinn Education Project

March 25 Kate DiCamillo's birthday

On the Calendar -- April

Arab American Heritage Month

Themes: war, refugees, survival, families, grief, trauma


Atia Abawi's website
Teacher from Unleashing Readers

National Poetry Month

  • Poetry in the Classroom Calendar from the American Academy of Poets
  • Poetry Booklists from Reading Rockets: Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth; illustrated by Ekua Holmes (Candlewick, 2017) These original poems--written in thr style of Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams and other famous poets-introduce and celebrate great poets and are models of experimentation for young writers.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets introduces students to the idea of creating original art or poetry in honor, celebration, or appreciation of another writer, poet, or artist. Have students consider the poems and poets presented in the book. Which poems make them curious to explore more about the poet being celebrated? Encourage students to research and read more about that poet and the poetry he or she created. Have them think about how the poem in Out of Wonder pays homage to the original poet. Ask them to write their own poems celebrating the poet they've researched or another favorite poet of their own.

Learn More About:

School Library Month

Reading Without Walls Month

Themes: memoir, character, achievement, setbacks, football, NASA

Meet the author:

Leland Melvin's website
Science Friday: Chasing Space: Astronaut Leland Melvin

Discussion tools:

CSPAN BookTV interview with Leland Melvin
NASA's African-American Astronauts Fact Sheet
Leland Melvin at the 2017 National Book Festival

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins (Farrar, Straus and Giroux): Three generations of women in the Das family struggle to find their places in the world and to accept one another and their life choices.

Themes: families, immigrant life, love, friendship, identity, coming of age


Mitali Perkins' website
Discussion Questions for You Bring the Distant Near from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

April 2 International Children

April 7 National Library Week

April 12 Beverly Cleary

April 13 Rita Williams-Garcia

April 22 Earth Day

April 24 Loren Long

April 29 Children's Book Week

April 30 El día de los libros

On the Calendar -- May

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Themes: Indian mythology, peer pressure, girl power, identity, heroes

Meet the author:
Roshani Chokshiwebsite
Rick Riordan Interviews Roshani Chokshi


Discussion tools:
Educator from Disney Hyperion
The Mahabharata: An introduction to the epic poem of ancient India from Asia Society Kids
Crash Course World Mythology: Indian Pantheons

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee (Amulet Books):Harvard-hopeful Genie meets Quentin and is distracted by his good looks and his insistence that she has supernatural powers that she must use to help him fight demons.

Themes: magic, adventure, friendship, Chinese folklore, family life

USA Today Happy Every After interview with F.C. Yee
Monkey by Cheng'en Wu; translated by Arthur Waley
The Journey to the West translated and edited by Anthony C. Yu

Mental Health Month

May 2 Holocaust Remembrance Day

May 5-11 Teacher Appreciation Week

May 7 National Teacher Day

May 10 Christopher Paul Curtis's Birthday

May 17 Grace Lin's Birthday

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin (Little, Brown, 2016)
The evil Tiger Emperor has kidnapped Pinmeithe Luminous Stone That Lights the Night to trade for her freedom.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Stories provide a key means for students to understand the world around them as well as other people. After reading When the Sea Turned to Silver, have students think about where they get their stories and who are the storytellers in their lives. What makes those stories memorable? Have students try turning a vivid memory into a story they can share. Get them to think of a memory and connect it to the emotion it makes them feel. Ask them to craft their memory into a story or drawing that would evoke that emotion in others. What can they share that will help connect others to their story?

Learn More About:

May 19 Arthur Dorros's Birthday

May 27 Memorial Day

On the Calendar -- June

LGBT Pride Month

Themes: gender fluidity, misfits, acceptance, friendship, fairy tales

Jen Wang's website
Using Young Adult Graphic Novels in the Classroom from First Second includes discussion questions, teaching recommendations, and CCSS alignment for The Prince and the Dressmaker

GLBT Book Month

Themes: gender identity, community, crime, justice, penal racism, tolerance, forgiveness

Dashka Slater's website
KQED Forum podcast: A Tale of Two Oaklands Colliding on 'The 57 Bus'
The 57 Bus Discussion Guide from Macmillan

National Audiobook Month

June 7 Louise Erdrich's birthday

June 14 Flag Day

June 18 Angela Johnson

June 19 Juneteenth

June 20 World Refugee Day

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Dial): In her diary, Nisha writes letters to her late mother about having to leave their home after the partition of India creates the country of Pakistan.

Themes: refugees, families, religion, bravery, identity

Meet the author:
Veera Hiranandani's website
An in-depth interview with Veera Hiranandani and her editor Namrata Tripathi from Penguin Middle School

Discussion tools:
Penguin School & Library Marketing Educator
Partition of India: My memories from Witness, a World Service radio programme
The Religions of South Asia from The Asia Society

June 25 Eric Carle

On the Calendar -- July

Park and Recreation Month

Themes: memoir, fitting in, navigating cultural differences, resilience, being yourself, friendship

Meet the author:
Vera Brosgol's website
Camping Out with Vera Brosgol: Kirkus interview with Julie Danielson
Off Panel #160: In the Summertime with Vera Brosgol podcast

Discussion tools:
Be Prepared excerpt
A Guide to Using Graphic Novels With Children and Teens from Scholastic
How to Teach Memoir in the Middle Grades from Middle Web

July 2 Cynthia Kadohata

  • Checked by Cynthia Kadohata (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum) When his Doberman Sinbad is diagnosed with cancer, Conor gives up some of his hockey lessons to help pay for Sinbad's treatment.

Themes: hockey, family, relationships, pets, friendship, sacrifice



Meet the author:
Cynthia Kadohata's website
The Amazon Book Review: Talking to National-Book-Award Winner Cynthia Kadohata About "Checked"

Discussion tools:
Simon & SchusterCurriculum Guide
Passion & Purpose: Activities and Resources from InspirED
The Hockey Writers: Hockey 101: A Beginner

July 4 Independence Day

Themes: immigration, family, coming of age, memoir, cultural identity

Sara Saedi's website
Americanized Discussion Guide from Random House Teachers and Librarians

July 11 National Summer Learning Day

July 12 Lesa Cline-Ransome

July 13 Ashley Bryan's Birthday



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.

NEA's Read Across America: Building a Nation of Readers

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