Washington—As the new school year launches, NEA is unveiling its latest list of recommended children’s and YA books, as well as a 2021-2022 Read Across America digital calendar. Although an estimated 45 million educators, parents, and students nationwide participate in NEA’s Read Across America Day, on March 2, NEA’s year-round efforts to connect students with diverse books and the joys of reading extend well beyond a single-day event.
“There’s always something to learn when you read—and learning is fun,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. “Kids who read for fun outside of school, especially if they read books in which they see themselves and allow them to see a world or character that might be different than them, tend to do well in school. That’s why NEA members, committed to advancing the cause of public education, not only drive home the message but practice that reading is important and fun with Read Across America. The great titles recommended for Read Across America are intended to help motivate students of all ages to read diverse books for pleasure.”
To encourage educators and parents to fill shelves with books, NEA announces the creation of its 2021-2022 Read Across America digital calendar which features 36 recommended titles—12 picture books, 12 middle grade titles, and 12 young adult books—for each month of the year. The recommended books include a wide selection of genres and formats—from graphic novels such as MEASURING UP by Lilly LaMotte to picture book biographies like JUMP AT THE SUN: THE TRUE LIFE TALE OF UNSTOPPABLE STORY CATCHER ZORA NEALE HURSTON by Alicia Williams; illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara to short story collections such as LIVING BEYOND BORDERS: GROWING UP MEXICAN IN AMERICA edited by Margarita Longoria.
All of the recommendations and resources can be found at www.nea.org/readacross along with additional reading lists, reading tips, activity and event ideas, and more.
August book recommendations
Spread Your Wings
Launch the school year with titles that inspire students to confidently seek out new experiences and use their abilities to their full potential:
MY FIRST DAY by Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien (Make Me a World)
An, a young Vietnamese boy who lives on the Mekong Delta, has to paddle his small wooden boat to school all by himself for the very first time.
THE CHANCE TO FLY by Ali Stroker & Stacy Davidowitz (Harry N. Abrams)
New to New Jersey, White 13-year-old musical theater enthusiast Nat Beacon lands a role in a local production of Wicked over the objections of her overprotective parents who want her to continue to focus on wheelchair racing.
WINGS OF EBONY by J. Elle (Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Rue, a Black teen from Houston, learns to use her ancestral magic to protect her sister and her East Row neighborhood and bring the truth about the origins of magic to the people of Ghizon.
Additional recommended reads for NEA’s Read Across America 2021-22 and digital calendar are located here.
With the growing need for schools and libraries to include and promote diverse books, NEA works with a diverse array of organizations and publishers to highlight diverse authors and books to help educators, parents, and students find great stories to read together and celebrate our nation of diverse readers.
Each recommended title comes with suggestions for activities related to the book, questions for discussion or reflective writing, related resources, and recommendations of more titles to try that relate to themes in the featured book.
To help educators and parents make the most of the recommended books and original and curated resources, NEA is also introducing new resources to support the development of book clubs. In addition to “how to” materials, activist, author, and NEA’s Read Across America Ambassador Marley Dias has created video book talks and interviews with featured authors that will help educators and other caring adults connect kids to books and conversation.
In her book talk videos, Dias offers readers a recipe to “Read, Write, and Get Things Done,” encouraging reading and talking about books, reflecting and expressing thoughts about books in writing, and making connections and putting ideas sparked by reading into action.
For more information on NEA’s Read Across America, visit: readacrossamerica.org.
Follow us on twitter @NEAToday and @NEAMedia. #readacrossamerica
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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.