Skip to Content

Read Across America in August!

Help students understand that their voices help make up our diverse world.

Use books to start the conversation about the strengths and challenges of living in a culturally diverse society and to inspire students to support multiculturalism by raising their own voices or amplifying those voices that need help to be heard.

For Younger Readers

In The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy; illustrated by Eugene Yelchin (Scholastic, 2017) the happy, but noisy village of La Paz becomes silent when bossy Don Pepe becomes mayor. But one rooster refuses to be quiet, giving the villagers the courage to sing again.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

In her Author The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!, Carmen Agra Deedy encourages readers to make their own voices heard. Children need opportunities to talk about issues that concern them and to be involved in broader issues that affect them locally. Talk to your students about what it means to speak up for something you believe in. Does freedom of speech include the right to be listened to? Encourage discussion about issues that affect them and let students brainstorm ways they can effectively share their insights and ideas and use their voices to be heard.

Learn More About:

  • Giving children a voice in these Scholastic Reads podcast conversations with Carmen Agra Deedy and second grade teacher Dana McDonough
  • The story behind the story of The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! and creation of the illustrations in this Horn Book Talks with Roger interview with Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrator Eugene Yelchin

For Middle Grade Readers

This Is Just a Test by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg (Scholastic, 2017) shares the woes and fortunes of 12-year-old David who has to deal with both his fear of nuclear war during the Reagan-era 80s and the cultural battle that wages at home between his Chinese and Jewish grandmothers.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Like 12-year-old David in This Is Just a Test, many kids are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. Help them explore their identities and address the challenges they face associated with issues of identity and culture. Ask them to look at all the components that make up David identity, including the varied roles he plays, by creating an identity map for his character. Then have students create identity maps for themselves that include their relationship to their culture and community. Have them share maps with the class and discuss how their roles and relationships fit together

Learn More About:

For Young Adult Readers

Produced in collaboration with the 2013 documentary, Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time by Tanya Lee Stone (Wendy Lamb Books, 2017) illuminates the barriers that prevent girls in developing countries from getting an education and issues a call to action to end gender discrimination, child marriage, sex trafficking, slavery, and poverty around the world.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Millions of girls around the world face barriers to education. These true stories of the girls offer students opportunities to engage in thinking about these global challenges and what kind of solutions and support are needed. After reading, ask students to think about the issues of child marriage, forced labor, gender violence, and educational inequity and write a letter to their future daughter about these issues and how they hope to effect change. Have students share their letters and use ideas in them to brainstorm concrete ways students could get involved locally and globally.

Learn More About:

  • Empowering and activating young people using ideas and activities inspired by Girl Rising from the Random House ChildrenEducators Guide
  • Taking action and speaking up for girls with the Girls Rising Take Action Guide

Additional Resources

Additional books on this theme in Books That Empower Kids to Stand Up and Speak Out from Brightly

Foster student voice with low-stakes writing assignments from Edutopia

Learn about Student Voice, the student-led movement for equitable schools

Edutopia: Preparing for Cultural Diversity

NEAs Diversity Toolkit, an introduction to the multiple facets of diversity

Read Across America Featured Partner

Youth Service America (YSA) is a leading global nonprofit that activates young people, ages 5-25, to #LeadASAP by finding their voice, taking action, and making an impact on vital community issues. Youth #LeadASAP through Awareness, Service, Advocacy, and Philanthropy (ASAP) projects. Research shows that youth who engage in quality, youth-led projects develop the 21st Century Skills they need to be successful in school, work, and life.

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.


Pinterest icon facebook icon Twitter Icon Instagram Icon Flickr  icon


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!



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...

NEA's Read Across America Day
Friday, March 1, 2019

National Teacher Day
May 7, 2019

National Teacher Appreciation Week
May 6-10, 2019

American Education Week
November 11-15, 2019