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Get Ready: On March 2, classrooms and school libraries all over the country will celebrate reading and literacy with Read Across America, sponsored by CTA and NEA. Educators can involve their community by inviting parents, firefighters, police officers, elected officials, local news anchors and others to read their favorite books to your students. Other ideas: Practice dramatic readings with your students, or ask your local bookstore to host a children’s read-in. For more, go to

Don’t forget that CTA’s California Reads (, #californiareads) offers teacher-vetted book recommendations for students of all ages. (CTA members can go to the site to buy the books at a 20 percent discount.) Some recent selections:

Stella Díaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez (grades 3-5). Shy Stella has two languages in her head. Sometimes she accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English and pronounces words wrong, which makes her turn roja. But she tries to make friends and overcome her fears to give a presentation in front of her class. Simple Spanish vocabulary is integrated within the English text.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone (grades 9-12). African American honor student Justyce McAllister is Ivy League-bound. Though he has left his rough neighborhood behind, he’s scorned by former peers and ridiculed by new classmates. Seeking identity and answers, he starts a journal to Martin Luther King Jr. Then one day while driving, he and his best friend get into an altercation with a white cop, and suddenly Justyce finds himself in police handcuffs.

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang, illustrated by Max Lang (pre-K, kindergarten). Jim the chimp is in a bad mood. Friends tell him to smile and do things that make them happy, but instead Jim has a meltdown. Maybe he needs a day to feel grumpy? A picture book about being allowed to feel your feelings (though taking care not to hurt others).