In the month of March, we observe Read Across America Day to mark the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as, Dr. Seuss and more importantly to encourage reading in children. Launched in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA), Read Across America is the country’s largest celebration of reading. The theme for this year highlights books that all students can see themselves reflected in, as well as shows readers a world or character that might be different from them or their experiences.
Need some inspiration? Here is a list of favorite book suggestions for children and teens from some of our staff members:
The Word Collector – Peter H. Reynolds
In this extraordinary new tale from Peter H. Reynolds, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him — short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllabic words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower. The Word Collector celebrates finding your own words — and the impact you can have when you share them with the world.
What Do You Do With A Problem? – Kobi Yamada
What Do You Do With a Problem? is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It’s a story to inspire you to look closely at the problem and to find out why it’s here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem… and yourself.
Too Many Mangos – Tammy Paikai
Based on the author’s childhood experiences, Too Many Mangos is the story of two young Hawaiians, Kama and Nani, who help their grandpa pick mangos from the giant mango tree. Along the way, they show young readers the many ways to enjoy the treasured island fruit, and introduce their friendly neighbors around the block. Tammy Paikai’s thoughtful text and Don Robinson’s vibrant illustrations capture the joys of island living while teaching a valuable lesson about friendship and community.
The Name Jar – Xangsook Choi
From acclaimed creator Yangsook Choi, The Name Jar inspires readers to find the courage to be yourself and being proud of your background. Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious about fitting in. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she decides to choose an American name from a glass jar. But while Unhei thinks of being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, nothing feels right. With the help of a new friend, Unhei will learn that the best name is her own.
Ish – Peter H Reynolds
Drawing is what Ramon does. It’s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother, Leon, turns Ramon’s carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.” Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.
Dog Man – Dav Pilkey
From worldwide bestselling author and artist Dav Pilkey comes Dog Man, the canine cop who’s part dog, part man, and all hero! Dav Pilkey’s wildly popular Dog Man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of being true to one’s self.
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky – Kwame Mbalia
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky follows teenager Tristan Strong, who is struggling with guilt after his best friend’s death. Tristan accidentally creates a rift that transports him to Alke, a parallel world where myths are real, and must survive the evil forces that threaten Alke’s people and discover his own abilities. Tristan Strong includes portrayals of African American folktales, West African mythology, and the legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.
Thank you so much to our staff contributors, Sarah Duncan and Jayonna Cox for compiling this list!