Read Across America


Last week Brookside Elementary hosted adults and students from the community to celebrate Read Across America, an annual event that occurs on March 2nd. Besides hosting people to read various books during the day, Brookside also participates in One Book One School, where the whole school reads one book and hosts various book-related events.

This year Brookside is reading two books. One is a shorter picture book called Just Ask by Sonia Sotomayor and Illustrated by Rafael López, and the other is called A Boy Named Bat by Elana K Arnold and illustrated by Charles Santoso. The summaries of the books are as follows.

Just Ask

“Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges—and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.”

A Boy Called Bat 

“For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.”


Here is my interview with Library Media Specialist Audra Good.

Hello, what’s your name?

Audra. Good. Nice to meet you. And I’m the library media specialist.

What. dose it mean for you to have Read Across America back in full swing?

It’s really special for us to be able to bring the whole event back to the way we ran it pre-COVID. Because it’s really a community building event, we can bring in guest readers and have some very important visitors. And also it’s just the sense of community that an assembly in person is important to our school, the kids are so excited, we think that the entire event will kick off our one book [one school]. And it’ ‘ll be very exciting for us,

So I know you’re reading the book, A Boy Named Bat what are your plans to immerse the students into that book?

So we have a lot of activities that the teachers have been provided to incorporate into their instruction throughout the month, we have a mascot that will visit the classrooms. But this book is also about a student on the autism spectrum. And we’re going to have different sensory activities and ideas for the classes to do also, our finale will have events, some stations, like we’re gonna have some sensory stations and really have a whole night about inclusivity. And celebrating our differences.

You’re also reading a picture book but the name escapes me what is it called?

Just Ask. And it was written by Sonia Sotomayor. And it’s illustrated by Raphael Lopez. And each page of that book has a different child with a different disability. So it’s also going to teach empathy in our classrooms.

So is the goal of these books to teach empathy?

[A]nd bring [Empathy] that into our classrooms. We have a school with CO-taught special ed classrooms and dual language classrooms, and also a Montessori program. So we really focus on, you know, reaching all our students and being related to sitting and empathetic and our motto is Be kind. So these books kind of continues to build that team in our school.

I have a question, if you can tell me, what are some of the activities you’re planning on doing?

I don’t know if you want to kick things off the top of my head. Like, definitely, we’re gonna have like a sensory station, American Sign Language station Braille station, we were possibly going to have a few other stations that we haven’t fully planned yet. As far as during the month, the mascot will be incorporated into the classrooms to hold visits. And so the students will be learning along with a visit to the classroom each day. And so also, as far as the reading, we have teachers doing read-aloud to share with the students. And then we’re still waiting to see if the teachers will also be adding ideas to how we can use this to teach these skills. So we’re kind of waiting to see what ideas get fostered by the kickoff on that.

How do you teach this boat that’s more of a chapter book to say, like the kindergarteners who maybe can’t read as well on their own?

So the goal of the program is that the parents will be reading with their students. And so a book, a chapter book is going home to all families, those families where parents needed a Spanish copy or getting a Spanish copy going home. So we’re really just encouraging our, especially younger students, for the families to read with their children. Yeah. And then we’ll also be supporting your own classroom.

Thank you.