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Read Across America in May!

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and a time to pay tribute to the generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans who have enriched America. Celebrate the stories, culture, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

For Younger Readers

LOTUS AND FEATHER by Ji-li Jiang, illustrated by Julie Downing (Disney-Hyperion, 2016)

Feather, a wounded crane nursed back to health by a silent and lonely girl named Lotus, helps to save Lotus and the people of her village from floodwaters.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Explore human attitudes about animals across cultures. Picture books like Lotus & Feather by Ji-li Jang and Tenzin's Deer by Barbara Soros are great launching points. Have students dig into research to look at the role of animals in the development of our history and culture and how it compares and contrasts with the role animals play in Chinese history and culture. Ask them to use what they learn to create a piece of art or writing to help advance animal welfare around the world.

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For Middle Grade Readers

WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER by Grace Lin (Little, Brown, 2016)
The evil Tiger Emperor has kidnapped Pinmeithe Luminous Stone That Lights the Night to trade for her freedom.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Stories provide a key means for students to understand the world around them as well as other people. After reading When the Sea Turned to Silver, have students think about where they get their stories and who are the storytellers in their lives. What makes those stories memorable? Have students try turning a vivid memory into a story they can share. Get them to think of a memory and connect it to the emotion it makes them feel. Ask them to craft their memory into a story or drawing that would evoke that emotion in others. What can they share that will help connect others to their story?

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For Young Adult Readers

FLAME IN THE MIST by Renee Ahdieh (G.P. Putnam2017)
Mariko, the daughter of a prominent samurai, is on her way to marry the second son of the emperor when her procession is ambushed. Determined to find out who tried to kill her, Mariko disguises herself as a boy and infiltrates the likeliest suspect

Read, Discuss and Explore:

As a girl, Mariko has had a restrictive upbringing and constantly questioned why she couldnconsider Mariko as a feminist heroine. What are her reasons for defying gender and class to live life on her own terms? Discuss other gender roles in the book and ask students to research gender roles in feudal Japan. What would have been the reaction to those who challenged gender norms during that period in history? Discuss what role that history may plays in gender norms in Japan today.

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Additional Resources

Read Across America Featured Partner

This May, The Heart of America Foundation celebrates 20 years of service to students through transforming school spaces into modern learning environments so that students and communities can learn and grow. Over the past 20 years, Heart of America has transformed nearly 400 educational spaces and provided students in need with over 4 million library and take-home books. The national nonprofit has engaged more than 500,000 volunteers in millions of service hours in communities nationwide.

Edcommunities Groups

Collaborate with educators on this topic in the groups below.

Illinois Education Matters
Illinois Education Matters is a network for all practitioners in education - IEA members and non-members. This effort is designed to serve as a repository for professional development, tools, resources, and information on grants, conferences / workshops, etc. Imagine this as your one stop for all connections. If you have joined our group, please message me - letting me know that you joined. I do not get any information telling me you joined. Our membership is so large, it takes me forever to go through and see our new members. Thanks for your help. You can also join other active groups on edCommunities. Several IEA members are facilitators for edCommunities. Check out and join their groups, if interested. Mary Ann Rivera - Illinois ESPs Mary Jane Morris - Illinois Education Matters IEA Jillian Huber - Integrating Reading and Writing 9th-12th Jim Grimes - Higher Education Amy Kappele - Early Childhood Development & Education

Secondary Literacy
Do you want to inspire your students to think critically, to analyze works, and to use their imaginations on a daily basis? Do you want to explore ways you can integrate reading into writing curricula and writing into reading curricula in your high school classroom? Join us at the Integrating Reading and Writing 9th-12th group to share, explore, and discuss ways for teachers of all content areas to link these two important life skills together in order to help students get the most out of themselves every day.

School Integrated Pest Management
This group will provide information and resources for integrated pest management training and advice for all educators and school districts . Pest management is important, but often overlooked, part of school safety. Pests can cause stings and bites, and can trigger allergies. In addition, some pests pose health threats by spreading germs and filth. Un-managed pest problems can result in damage to school property, unsightly landscapes, and other unsafe conditions.

Our Read Across America Online Store is Open!

Visit to purchase stickers, bookmarks, pencils, mugs, hats & more. We have all you need to create a memorable RAA celebration.


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Download the Read Across America 2017 Recommended Books Poster here (PDF).

Click here to download the 2018-19 Read Across America Resource Calendar and Poster!

NEA's Read Across America: Building a Nation of Readers

Reading Rockets offers a wealth of research-based resources designed to launch young readers. It's for parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Coming in 2019...

National Teacher Day
May 7, 2019

National Teacher Appreciation Week
May 6-10, 2019

American Education Week
November 11-15, 2019

Coming in 2020...

NEA's Read Across America Day
Monday, March 2, 2020