The Many States of Teaching

Reading is the Foundation of Learning

Since 1998, the National Education Association has celebrated Read Across America to raise awareness about the importance of reading. In 2013, CTA launched the California Reads program. 

Rather than celebrate reading on just one day, California Reads promotes reading year-round with teacher-approved quarterly book recommendations for multiple age groups, including adults. California Reads promotes reading through a yearly list of 20 teacher-recommended books in five age categories: Pre K/TK/K, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12.

 

Participate in California Reads 

Toby Boyd sits in a classroom reading a book to a group of students

Submit a book recommendation, download posters for the classroom, create certificates for your students, print out bookmarks and more. Share what your school is doing by using #CaliforniaReads on social media. 

Winter 2020 Recommendations

The California Reads Committee offers teacher-approved quarterly book recommendations for multiple age groups.

Pre K / TK / K

Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children, written by Sandra L. Pinkney, Illustrated by Myles C. Pinkney: I am Black / I am Unique / I am the creamy white frost in vanilla ice cream / and the milky smooth brown in a chocolate bar… Using simple poetic language and stunning photographs, Sandra and Myles Pinkney have created a remarkable book of affirmation for African-American children. Photographic portraits and striking descriptions of varied skin tones, hair texture, and eye color convey a strong sense of pride in a unique heritage. A joyous celebration of the rich diversity among African Americans.

Publish date: 2000

Grades 1-2

When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana, written by Michael Mahin , illustrated by Jose Ramirez: Carlos Santana loved to listen to his father play el violín. It was a sound that filled the world with magic and love and feeling and healing–a sound that made angels real. Carlos wanted to make angels real, too. So, he started playing music. Carlos tried el clarinete and el violín, but there were no angels. Then he picked up la guitarra. He took the soul of the Blues, the brains of Jazz, and the energy of Rock and Roll, and added the slow heat of Afro-Cuban drums and the cilantro-scented sway of the music he’d grown up with in Mexico. There were a lot of bands in San Francisco but none of them sounded like this. Had Carlos finally found the music that would make his angels real?

Publish date: September 4, 2018

Grades 3-5

Lola (En Español), written by Junot Díaz , illustrated by Leo Espinosa: Del exitoso autor en ventas según el New York Times y ganador del Premio Pulitzer, Junot Díaz, nos llega su primer álbum ilustrado acerca de la magia de los recuerdos y el poder infinito de la imaginación, ¡ahora en español!

Todos los niños en la escuela de Lola venían de otra parte. Era una escuela de lugares lejanos.

Así que cuando la maestra de Lola pide a sus alumnos que hagan un dibujo del lugar del que emigraron sus familias, todos los niños se entusiasman. Todos, menos Lola. Ella no recuerda la Isla: se fue cuando era apenas un bebé. Pero con la ayuda de su familia y de sus amigos, todos ellos con sus recuerdos —felices, maravillosos, tristes, aterradores—, la imaginación de Lola la lleva en un extraordinario viaje de regreso a la Isla. Cuando finalmente se acerca al corazón de la historia de su familia, Lola llega a entender el sentido de las palabras de su abuela: «Que no recuerdes un lugar, no significa que no sea parte de ti.

Publish Date: March 13, 2018

Grades 6-8

The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition, written by Reyna Grande:

Award-winning author Reyna Grande shares her personal experience of crossing borders and cultures in this middle grade adaptation of her memoir, The Distance Between Us—“an important account of the many ways immigration impacts children” (Booklist, starred review).

When her parents make the dangerous and illegal trek across the Mexican border in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced to live with their stern grandmother, as they wait for their parents to build the foundation of a new life.

But when things don’t go quite as planned, Reyna finds herself preparing for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years: her long-absent father. Both funny and heartbreaking, The Distance Between Us sheds light on the immigrant experience beautifully capturing the struggle that Reyna and her siblings endured while trying to assimilate to a different culture, language, and family life in El Otro Lado (The Other Side).

Publish date: September 6, 2016

Grades 9-12

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives, written by Dashka Slater:

The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as seven other awards, The Sympathizer is the breakthrough novel of the year. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and Saul Bellow, The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping espionage novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.

Publish Date: October 17, 2017

This Year’s Read Across America — 2020

California’s public school educators joined a nationwide celebration of reading this year as they met up with parents, local and state officials, firefighters, and TV and movie actors at events statewide for NEA’s 23rd annual Read Across America extravaganza.

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