April 12 is D.E.A.R. Day (Drop Everything and Read), and April is School Library Month. CTA’s California Reads offers educator-recommended books by grade level. Here are a few; visit cta.org/californiareads for the full list.
In 1994, Yuyi Morales and her infant son left Mexico for the United States. Her picture book Dreamers (pre-K, kindergarten) is about their experience. Facing enormous challenges, they found an unexpected refuge: the public library. There, book by book, they untangled the language of this strange new land, and learned to make a home within it. A Spanish-language edition, Soñadores, is also available.
In The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (grades 6-8), 15-year-old Afro Latina Xiomara feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. She pours her frustrations and passions into a notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers. When she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she knows her strict, religious mother would not allow it. But Xiomara can’t be silenced. A story about acceptance, rebellion and identity, told in verse.
On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a haven for the LGBTQ+ community, was raided by police in New York City — not for the first time. But that night, empowered members of the community protested and fought back. Young readers (grades 1-2) can discover how the incident became a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights in Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution, written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Jamey Christoph.