Eleven years ago, I started the Global Read Aloud (GRA) on little more than an idea and a hope: that perhaps through a shared read aloud we could create pathways around the world, expanding our knowledge, shrinking our otherization, growing our curiosity, and diminishing hate. I hoped that by sitting with the same book in our hands and gathering around the act of listening, we could open up a flow of questions that would ultimately lead to a deeper acknowledgment of our own shared humanity and perhaps leave us all with a sense of needing to take care of one another more. It was perhaps a lofty goal, but a goal nonetheless.

And so we read, shared, connected, and sat in awe of the stories and of the power of others as we travelled around the world through technology, played Mystery Skype to figure out where all these new friends were, and as authors took us behind the scenes and told us their secrets as we marvelled at the worlds they had created. We knew it was magical. We knew that the books were not just pages glued together but portals to a world where, with reading at its heart, we saw a path forward for better. We knew that being able to bring the world in through this shared read aloud somehow made the walls disappear, if even for a moment, so that we truly could see the people we all are connected to.

This is the final year of the GRA and I am ready to stand back in awe and marvel at all of the good that this one idea has brought into the world. It will leave a hole in the world of literacy and also in my own life, but I know that in that hole is an opportunity for even further connections and innovation to reside, and that out there are new ideas concocted by someone who sees a way to push our connections even further, to continue to remind us of our debt to each other.

So this year, in a year that seems to have brought so many changes into our lives, we gather one last time around the magnificent books and the creators behind them. We push ourselves extra hard as we run this final mile. We take risks, we open up, we sit in the knowledge that together we are more; that together we can. We hold our breath before we crack open the book and then let the connections happen as we ask our kids to ponder the worlds that authors Juana Martinez-Neal, Traci Sorrell, Charlene Willing McManis, Zanib Mian, Jason Reynolds, and Linda Sue Park have invented for us. We reach out so that we can once again let one book connect the world. And we know that through the shared love of a read aloud and a shared love of our students, we, too, changed the world.

And so in partnership with Skype in the Classroom, I would like to invite you to celebrate these incredible books and authors as we gather one last time. And what better way to do it than asking the very creators themselves to share a glimpse of their world and their work, and to allow the Global Read Aloud to be connected with them as we celebrate these connections and pathways toward a more just world? I don’t have the right words to thank these incredible people for wanting to give any kind of time to this little project I dreamed up 11 years ago. I hope you can help me in expressing our gratitude by sharing their books, reviewing their books, and making these books part of our stories for years to come.

How to participate in the upcoming GRA live events

  • Find more information for each event.
  • There isn’t a registration process and you just need to click on the JOIN link on the day and time of the event.
  • If your students are tuning in remotely, share the join link for them to connect from the comfort of their home! They don’t need to download an app and they can join on the web.
  • Each event has plenty of resources that you can use to organize extra activities with your students.
  • Students can ask their questions via the fully moderated Q&A tool.
  • All events have live captions in seven languages.
  • And if you can’t make it to the live event, don’t worry! All events will be available on-demand.