Skip Navigation
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, provide ads, analyze site traffic, and personalize content. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.
Press Release

It’s that time of year again—NEA’s Read Across America Day!

Let’s celebrate the power of diverse and inclusive books on March 2nd and beyond
Published: March 2, 2021

Washington – Virtual or in-person, it’s time to celebrate NEA’s Read Across America – the biggest celebration of reading in the country! Books and stories provide points of access for understanding other people's lives, to walk in someone else’s shoes—or to try on a different hat! NEA’s Read Across America annually brings the joys of reading to students of all ages and make children valued and welcome. The major thrust of the year-round program is the nationwide reading celebration that takes place each year on or near March 2. 

“When we make time to read with kids, whether on NEA’s Read Across America Day or any other day – children get the message that reading is important. When we read books that have characters of all races, genders, and backgrounds, students discover their own voices and learn from the voices of others,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. “If we are going to create more readers, more writers, people who feel included and recognized, and people who understand that the world is far richer than just their experiences alone, kids need books that are as diverse and complex as the society in which we live.” 

The centerpiece of this year’s reading celebration features Tiara’s Hat Parade, an engaging story that shows students how they can put their compassion into action. Author Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrator Nicole Tadgell speak with advocate, activist and NEA’s Read Across America Ambassador Marley Dias about hats, history, diverse books and making dreams come true. Watch their insightful and engaging conversation here. You also can read an interview by NEA Today with author Kelly Starling about what inspired her to write Tiara’s Hat Parade and why it’s important for her to write about the African American experience.

Whichever books readers chose to enjoy on March 2 and beyond, educators, parents, and other caring adults are planning to foster reading fun with exciting virtual and appropriately physically distanced experiences around books. Inspired by Tiara’s Hat Parade, many students will design their own Reading Hat—embellishing an existing hat or creating a paper one decorated with pictures they draw of their favorite book or character—then join the virtual #readinghatparade with a photo share of their Reading Hat on social media.

Tiara’s Hat Parade is the month of March pick for NEA’s digital Read Across America calendar; the theme for March is “Cultivate Compassion.” Each month, the calendar features three books—for young, middle grade and young adult readers—that explore a topic related to diversity and inclusion. Each Tiny Spark is March's middle grade novel. They Called Us Enemy is the Young Adult novel for the month.

“Let’s celebrate a nation of diverse readers not only on Read Across America Day but all year long,” continued Becky Pringle. “Together, we can make lifelong readers of kids in your lives by continuing to read diverse and inclusive books in the months to come.” 

RAA Promotional Toolkit

NEA put together this toolkit to promote NEA’s Read Across America events and activities. The toolkit includes sample social media posts, hashtags and accounts to follow, virtual graphics, and other resources and templates to generate interest in events across the country. 

About NEA’s Read Across America

Since 1998, NEA’s Read Across America has generated enthusiasm for reading nationwide, encouraging adults to spend more time reading with children and sharing stories that raise up the many voices that need to be amplified and heard. With your help as our Read Across America Ambassador, we can do even more to connect kids with books that help them discover their own voices and learn from the voices of others.


Follow on Twitter at @NEAmedia and @BeckyPringle 


Keep up with the conversation: ReadAcrossAmerica #ReadingHatParade


# # # 


The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at 


National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.