California Educator

April/May 2024

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K E E P S T U D E N T S E N G A G E D with a few good books. The picks below, with their focus on art and imagery, are particularly riveting. Find more California Reads suggestions (teacher-vetted books for all grade levels) at, where you can also purchase copies at an educator discount. Young children will adore Have You Ever Seen a Flower (Shawn Harris, illustrator), an enchanting picture book that explores the relationship between childhood and nature. In a simple yet profound story, one child experiences a flower with all five senses — from its color to its fragrance to the entire universe it evokes — revealing how a single flower can expand one's perspective in incredible ways. In Your Name Is a Song (Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, author, and Luisa Uribe, illustrator; for primary school students), a little girl is frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her name and tells her mother she never wants to go back to school. In response, the mother teaches her about the musicality, history and magic behind African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx and Middle Eastern names on their walk home. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class. Includes a glossary at the back that lists each name used in the story with their meaning, origin and pronunciation. Ain't Burned All the Bright (Jason Reynolds, author, and Jason Griffin, illustrator; for high school students) is a smash-up of art and text for teens that viscerally captures what it is to be Black in America right now. It explores recent events in America through the voice of a nameless narrator. Publishers Weekly said, "As Reynolds' lines depict Black people facing police brutality, Covid-19 and general concerns regarding safety, Griffin's captivating collages literally and metaphorically capture a constant state of worry and panic, leading to visual moments that encourage the reader to find solace and inspiration in the everyday." S R e a d s p r i n g CTA Hits the Books This year 's Read Across America celebration included read-alouds from teachers and community guests, as well as other special events. CTA President David Goldberg and Vice President Leslie Littman participated in the festivities at Granada Elementary (Alhambra) and Heidemann Elementary (Tustin), respectively. 9 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 24

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