March 2nd is Read Across America Day. Read Across America was created by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 as a way to get kids excited about reading; what better day to celebrate reading than on Dr. Seuss’s birthday? K-12 schools in every state plan activities to celebrate. To learn more about Read Across America, visit the NEA website .
While you’re busy Reading Across America, either as a student or educator, why not Read Across Illinois? Illinois has produced well-known authors throughout history into the current day in all genres and for all ages, and the S-Collection holds many favorite titles for teachers, students, parents, children, and anyone in between who wants to explore the local literature.
Title for Beginning Readers
The Mitten. 2009.
In this retelling of a Ukrainian folktale, a lost mitten becomes a sanctuary for various woodland creatures.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION Q. SE. Ay44mi]
Bronzeville Boys and Girls. 1956.
This book of poems from Pulitzer-prize-winning Brooks celebrates the hope and freedom of childhood.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. 811 B791b]
Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle. 2014.
Dung beetles may get a resounding “ewww” from many crowds, but Bardoe uses simple wording to explain how amazing and important these small creatures are to our ecosystem.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. 595.7649 B236b]
When Giants Come to Play. 2006.
Little Anna has some strange friends — a family of giants who only appear on certain days.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION Q. SE. B381w]
May’Naise Sandwiches and Sunshine Tea. 1994.
Big Mama tells her granddaughter about the experience that motivated her to become a first-generation college student.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION SE. B4192m]
Boris and Bella. 2004.
Monster Boris is very, very neat — monster Bella is very, very messy…and they’re neighbors! Can they ever be friends? This spooky version of The Odd Couple is ghoulish fun.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION SE. C868b]
Duel! Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words. 2008.
The infamous rivalry of Burr and Hamilton comes to life in an easy-reading illustrated book that explains how good friends can eventually become enemies.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION Q. S. 973.4 F841d]
The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County. 2007.
Written by the University of Illinois’ own Janice N. Harrington, this picture book follows the chicken-chaser, who can catch just about any chicken…except that elusive Miss Hen.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION SE. H238c]
Listen, Buddy. 1995.
Buddy’s great, big, beautiful bunny ears don’t do him any good — he’s just not a very good listener. This gets him into all kinds of hot water.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION SE. L5672l]
Everything I Know About Cars: A Collection of Made-Up Facts, Educated Guesses, and Silly Pictures About Cars, Trucks, and Other Zoomy Things. 2005.
This “traffic jam of mostly made-up cars” is a hilarious, imaginary romp through what cars might have looked like if the cavemen and ancient Egyptians had built them.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION Q. S. 629.222 L617e]
McGinty, Alice B.
Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons. 2014.
Rabbi Benjamin loves to wear his beautiful vest to celebrate the High Holidays with his congregation…but the food is too delicious, and the Rabbi’s vest is growing tighter and tighter…
[SSHEL S COLLECTION Q. SE. M1759r]
Double Dutch and Voodoo Shoes. 1991.
Two girls compete in a double-dutch competition to prove who is the better jump-roper; along the way readers learn about the history and importance of story-telling.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION Q. SE. R71d]
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse.
Little Pea. 2005.
Little Pea hates eating his candy! All he wants is vegetables for dessert.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION SE. R727l]
A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk: A Forest of Poems. 2009.
These silly rhymes focus on woodland creatures and life in the forest.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. 811 R831w]
Zelinsky, Paul O.
Rumpelstiltskin: From the German of the Brothers Grimm. 1986.
The classic tale of Rumpelstiltskin and the princess is told here with sumptuous illustration.
[CENTER FOR CHILDREN’S BOOKS AND SSHEL S COLLECTION S. 398.2109 Z37r]
Books for Intermediate Readers
Paul Cezanne: A Painter’s Journey. 2006.
Now internationally known, Paul Cezanne had a humble beginning filled with rejection. This biography tells how he became the household name he is today.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION Q. SB. C425b]
Chocolate, Deborah M. Newton.
Spider and the Sky God: An Akan Legend. 1993.
The traditional trickster Anansi works to earn gifts from the Sky God for his stories.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. 398.24 C451s]
Nick Allen’s teacher loves the dictionary — so he decides to rename a “pen” a “frindle” just to bother her…but soon events are out of his control.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. C591f1998]
Codell, Esmé Raji.
Vive La Paris. 2006.
Paris discovers a lot about bullies as she tries to save her brother from daily beatings and learns about the Holocaust from her piano teacher.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. C648v]
Peter Claver, Patron Saint of Slaves / Pedro Claver, santo patrono de los esclavos. 2002.
This bilingual book tells the story of Jesuit priest Peter Claver, who became the Patron Saint of Slaves after his death.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION SB. C617d]
The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School. 2007.
Led by their eccentric teacher, the unique fourth graders at Aesop Elementary learn some strangely fable-like lessons…
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. F6292f]
Fradin, Judith Bloom.
The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine. 2004.
Daisy Bates, civil rights leader, mentored the Little Rock Nine through the difficulties of integration and was later honored by the United States government for her work.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION SB. B329f]
Haddix, Margaret Peterson.
Running Out of Time. 1995.
Diptheria comes to Jessie’s 1840’s village, but she soon realizes it isn’t 1840 at all — it’s 1995, and her village is being watched by scientists. Can she save the village from a deadly illness?
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. H1172r]
Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World. 2012.
Environmentalist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, a book that exposed the harm chemicals and humans have caused to the planet. In this biography, readers learn about her life and how she came to love Earth.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION SB. C3213l]
A Long Way from Chicago: A Novel in Stories. 1998.
Joey and his sister Mary Alice never think they’ll have any adventures visiting their grandmother in her sleepy Illinois town…but they always do anyway.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. P3361lo]
The Vermeer Interviews: Conversations with Seven Works of Art. 2010.
A new way to look at a famous artist, The Vermeer Interviews take readers into the minds of the characters depicted in seven of Vermeer’s most famous paintings.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION SB. V523r]
I Put a Spell on You. 2008.
Chrissy may be her school’s resident tattle-tale — but she’s not about to let anyone, even adults, mess with the big spelling bee!
[CENTER FOR CHIDLREN’S BOOKS AND SSHEL S COLLECTION S. Se49i]
Books for Intermediate-to-Advanced Readers
Hope Was Here. 2000.
Big-city teen Hope moves to a small town in Wisconsin to work at a diner with her aunt and guardian, Addie. She doesn’t expect it to be very exciting, but gets more than she bargained for when she gets involved with a local election — and a cute short-order cook.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. B326h]
Radio Girl. 2013.
An Irish transplant tries to find fame and fortune on the radio in 1930s New York, working with Orson Welles on his infamous War of the Worlds broadcast.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. B7504r]
Catherine, Called Birdy. 1994.
Catherine, Called Birdy won the Newbery medal in 1994 and focuses on the medieval life and journal of a 13-year-old daughter of a nobleman.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. C959C]
Hearne, Betsy Gould.
Hauntings, and Other Tales of Danger, Love, and Sometimes Loss. 2007.
In fifteen short stories, Hearne introduces readers to chilling characters who face deadly situations.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. H3511h]
Stoner and Spaz. 2002.
Ben, a movie-buff sixteen-year-old with cerebral palsy, finds an unlikely romance in Colleen, who is known around school for her bad attitude and drug use.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. K8129s]
Park, Linda Sue.
A Long Walk to Water. 2010.
Eleven-year-old Salva is separated from his family during the Sudanese civil war and must walk across several countries with his tribe in search of safety.
[SSHEL S COLLECTION S. P219l]