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Valencia Family Resource Library Guide: Read Alouds featuring People of Color

No Mirrors in My Nana's House

  • Written by: Ysaye M. Barnwell
  • Illustrated by: Synthia Sant James
  • Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
  • Read by: Tia & Tamera Mowry
  • Suggested grade level: 2nd - 3rd
  • Run time: 6.5 minutes

There are no mirrors in my Nana's house. No mirrors to reflect the cracks in the wall, the clothes that don't fit, the trash in the hallway. No mirrors. But there is love. The beauty in this child's world is in her Nana's eyes. It's like the rising of the sun...

From Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. All rights reserved by the author. 

Trombone Shorty Read Aloud

  • Written by: Troy Andrews
  • Illustrated by: Bryan Collier
  • Published by: Harry N. Abrams
  • Read by: Angela Bassett
  • Suggested grade level: 2nd - 3rd
  • Run time: 9 minutes

Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.
Along with esteemed illustrator Bryan Collier, Andrews has created a lively picture book autobiography about how he followed his dream of becoming a musician, despite the odds, until he reached international stardom. Trombone Shorty is a celebration of the rich cultural history of New Orleans and the power of music.

From Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. All rights reserved by the author. 

Rent Party Jazz Read Aloud

  • Written by: William Miller
  • Illustrated by: Charlotte Riley-Webb
  • Published by: Lee & Low Books Inc.
  • Read by: Viola Davis
  • Suggested grade level: 2nd - 3rd
  • Run time: 11 minutes

This story is set in New Orleans in the 1930s. Sonny and his mother are scraping by to pay their rent. Mama works in a fish canning factory, and Sonny works for the coal man before school each morning. When Mama loses her job, they no longer have enough money for the rent and fear that the landlord will turn them out. One day Sonny meets Smilin’ Jack, a jazz musician who is playing his trumpet in Jackson Square. Smilin’ Jack offers to play at a party at Sonny’s house to help raise money for the rent. The neighbors all come to sing and dance and before they leave, drop some coins in a bucket. Sonny learns how people can help one another “if they put their minds and hearts to it.”

From Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. All rights reserved by the author. 

To Be a Drum Read Aloud

  • Written by: Evelyn Coleman
  • Illustrated by: Aminah Robinson
  • Published by: Albert Whitman & Company
  • Read by: James Earl Jones
  • Suggested grade level: 2nd - 3rd
  • Run time: 7 minutes

Daddy Wes whispers to his two young listeners one morning the story of the 'drum', the pulse that has moved through the African people and through time and place.

From Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. All rights reserved by the author. 

White Socks Only Read Aloud

  • Written by: Evelyn Coleman
  • Illustrated by: Tyrone Geter
  • Published by: Albert Whitman & Company
  • Read by: Amber Rose Tamblyn
  • Suggested grade level: 3rd
  • Run time: 10 minutes

When Grandma was a little girl in Mississippi, she sneaked into the town one hot summer day. But when she saw the "Whites Only" sign on the water fountain, she had no idea what she would spark when she took off her shoes and - wearing her clean white socks - stepped up to drink.

From Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. All rights reserved by the author. 

Lotus & Feather

  • Written by: Ji-li Jiang
  • Illustrated by: Julie Downing
  • Published by: Disney Hyperion
  • Read by: Michelle Yeoh
  • Suggested grade level: 2nd - 3rd
  • Run time: 13 minutes

A winter illness left Lotus, a little girl, without a voice and without friends. A hunter’s bullet left Feather, a crane, injured and unable to fly. As Lotus nurses Feather back to health, their bond grows. Soon Feather is following Lotus everywhere, even to school! The bird dances to the girl’s reed whistle, much to the delight of the other children. One day, when the village floods, Feather helps raise the alarm as Lotus and her grandfather urge their neighbors to get to high ground. Feather is a true friend to Lotus, but the time comes when Lotus must be a true friend to him--by encouraging him to migrate with the rest of the cranes. The next spring, Feather miraculously returns, and that’s not all . . . he has brought new life to the nearby lake. Inspired by the true story of a crane that rescued a Chinese village, and graced with sensitive watercolor illustrations, this lovely book about respecting nature offers deep emotion and delightful surprises.

From Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. All rights reserved by the author. 

If I Ran for President Read Aloud

  • Written by: Catherine Stier
  • Illustrated by: Lynne Avril Cravath
  • Published by: Albert Whitman & Company
  • Read by: Lonnie Chavis, Parker Bates and Mackenzie Hancsicsak
  • Suggested grade level: 2nd - 3rd
  • Run time: 8 minutes

If you ran for president, you would have to do a lot of hard work. You would study the nation’s problems, tell the American people about your platform, select a running mate, and debate your opponents on live television.

From Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. All rights reserved by the author. 

The Hula-Hoopin' Queen Read Aloud

  • Written by: Thelma Godin
  • Illustrated by: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
  • Published by: Lee & Low Books
  • Read by: Oprah Winfrey
  • Suggested grade level: 2nd - 3rd
  • Run time: 13 minutes

Kameeka is confident that today she will finally beat her rival, Jamara, and become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street. But then Mama reminds her that today is their neighbor Miz Adeline’s birthday, and Kameeka has a ton of chores to do to get ready for the party they are hosting. Kameeka’s disappointed to be stuck at home and can only think about the hoopin’ competition. Distracted, Kameeka accidentally ruins Miz Adeline’s birthday cake, and has to confess to her that there won’t be a cake for her special day. But then Miz Adeline’s confesses something too: she’s also got the itch—the hula-hoopin’ itch! Her fingers start snappin’. Her hips start swingin’. Soon everyone’s hips are swinging as the party spills out onto the street. The whole neighborhood’s got the itch—the hula-hoopin’ itch! With vibrant illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen is a charming celebration of family and community ties.

From Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. All rights reserved by the author. 

Catching the Moon Read Aloud

  • Written by: Crystal Hubbard
  • Illustrated by: Randy DuBurke
  • Published by: Lee & Low Books
  • Read by: Kevin Costner and Jillian Estell
  • Suggested grade level: 3rd - 4th
  • Run time: 14 minutes

If there was anything in the world better than playing baseball, Marcenia Lyle didn't know what it was. As a young girl in the 1930s, she chased down fly balls and stole bases, and dreamed of one day playing professional ball. With spirit, spunk, and a great passion for the sport, Marcenia struggled to overcome the objections of family, friends, and coaches, who felt a girl had no place in the field. When she finally won a position in a baseball summer camp sponsored by the St. Louis Cardinals, Marcenia was on her way to catching her dream. Full of warmth and youthful energy, Catching the Moon is the story of the girl who grew up to become the first woman to play for an all-male professional baseball team. Readers everywhere will be inspired by her courage to dream and determination to succeed.

From Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. All rights reserved by the author. 

Knots on a Counting Rope

  • Written by: Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault
  • Illustrated by: Ted Rand
  • Published by: Square Fish
  • Read by: Bonnie Bartlett & William Daniels
  • Suggested grade level: 3rd - 4th
  • Run time: 11 minutes

The counting rope is a metaphor for the passage of time and for a boy's emerging confidence facing his greatest challenges: blindness and the approaching death of his beloved grandfather.

From Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. All rights reserved by the author. 

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