Educators know that reading is the foundation of learning, and must be highlighted year-round to make a lasting impression. CTA’s California Reads program offers teacher-recommended book selections for all grade levels, all year long. For the full 2017-18 list, see cta.org/californiareads; #californiareads. Among the books on deck for fall:
Grand Canyon (grades 3-5), written and illustrated by Jason Chin, explores the natural wonder through the eyes of a father and daughter as they hike and discover life present and past. Die cuts, for example, show how a fossil today was a living creature long ago, perhaps in a completely different environment. The book contains a spectacular double gatefold, a detailed map and extensive back matter.
In The Hate U Give (grades 9-12) by Angie Thomas, teen Starr Carter moves between her poor neighborhood and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. She witnesses the fatal shooting of her friend Khalil, who is unarmed, by a police officer. In the aftermath, some say Khalil was a thug and drug dealer; others protest in the streets in his name. Starr is torn between her two worlds as she deals with speaking her truth while trying to stay alive herself.
The hero of The Real Boy (grades 6-8), by Anne Ursu, doesn’t know where he came from; he just knows he’s different. Oscar has deep knowledge of magical herbs and their usage, and when children start falling ill, he and his friend Callie try to solve the mystery. They discover a dark secret that may answer Oscar’s questions about himself.
And They All Saw a Cat (pre-K, kindergarten), by Brendan Wenzel, shows youngsters the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see.