Read Aloud Videos: Own Voices

Own voices refers to books written by authors from marginalized or underrepresented groups about their own experiences/from their own perspectives.

Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story | By Ken Mochizuki

This book tells the story of Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara and how he helped thousands of Jews escape from the Nazis.

  • Has there ever been a time when you did not understand what someone in your life was doing? If so, how did it make you feel?
  • Can you think of a time when you or someone in your life was brave?

Dear Juno |By Soyung Pak

Juno and his grandmother write letters to each other in order to keep in touch. Juno’s grandmother lives in a different country and writes in a different language that Juno does not understand. They overcome this language barrier by drawing pictures in their letters.

  • Do you have someone that you would like to send a letter to?

For additional resources and activities related to this book, visit this link

When the Shadbush Blooms | By Carla Messinger

This book is about the Lenape seasons.

  • Which season is your favorite?
  • What activities do you and your family do during that season?
  • Why are those activities special to you?

For additional resources related to Messinger's book visit the link here.

Too Many Tamales | By Gary Soto

It is Christmas Eve and Maria is making tamales with her mother. Maria decides to put her mother’s ring on while she is making the tamales. She ends up losing the ring and asks her cousins to help her eat all of the tamales in order to find the ring. 

  • What lesson did Maria learn in this story?

For additional resources and activities, visit this worksheet

Rachel’s Christmas Boat | By Sophie LaBelle

Emma reads this as part of our Read Aloud Program. Follow along with Emma and answer the following questions:

  • Do you ever give presents to your friends and family?
  • Do you make them presents?
  • How do you feel when they open the presents you got them?

Shirley Chisholm is a Verb | By Veronica Chambers

This book tells the story of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress.

  • What verbs will you choose?

For more activities related to this book, visit our worksheet.

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message | By Chief Jake Swamp

Giving Thanks is a take on the Thanksgiving Address about thanking Mother Earth for everything it provides.

  • Who are the Indigenous people who lived on the land you currently live on?
  • What do you know about their culture and traditions?

Waiting for the Biblioburro | By Monica Brown

This book is about a young girl named Ana who lives in a small village. One day, a traveling library stops in her village and she gets to read several books that inspire her to write her own book.

  • Can you think of a time when you had to wait for something to happen?
  • What did you do while you waited?

For more activities related to this book, visit our worksheet.

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos | By Monica Brown

This book is about the artist Frida Kahlo and her pets that inspired her.

  • What inspires you? 

Crossing Bok Chitto | By Tim Tingle

A young Choctaw girl named Martha Tom becomes friends with a slave family and helps them escape to freedom.

  • Have you ever noticed how some people do not seem to be noticed?

Shin-chi’s Canoe | By Nicola Campbell

This book is about Indian residential schools and the devastating impact it had on families.

  • Who were the first people on the land you live on?

Drawn Together | By Minh Lê

This book is about connecting across generational and language differences, showing that sometimes you don't need words to find common ground. 

  • How would you feel if you could not understand a family member because they speak a different language?
  • What are some alternative ways to communicate?

Malala’s Magic Pencil | By Malala Yousafzai

This book tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education.

  • What would you do with a magic pencil?
  • What would you draw?
  • What would you say?

We Are Water Protectors | By Carole Lindstrom

This book is about the Indigenous-led movements to protect the Earth and its water sources.

  • What are some ways you use water?

For additional activities related to Carole Lindstrom's book, visit our worksheet.

Dreamers | By Yuyi Morales

Yuyi Morales tells her own immigration story and how the public library helped her feel like she belonged.
  • What do you think of when you hear the word dreamers?

Sitti’s Secrets | By Naomi Shihab Nye

This story is about a child  from the United States who visits her grandmother in Palestine and finds that love transcends language barriers, time zones, and national borders.

  • How can you see people for who they are as individuals like how Mona sees her grandmother as separate from what she sees on the news?
  • What can you do to fight for Palestinians and Palestinian justice?

For more activities related to this video, view our worksheet!

A is for Activist | By Innosanto Nagara

A is for Activist is an ABC board book that covers topics about activism, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, etc.

  • Can you think of a word that describes you for each letter of the alphabet?

For more activities related to A is for Activist, visit the following worksheet.

I Love Saturdays y Domingos | By Alma Flor Ada

On Saturdays, a young girl visits her grandparents who have a European-American background. On Saturdays, she visits her abuelita and abuelito who are Mexican-American. She details what she does with each grandparent while visiting.

  • Why do you think the little girl did different things with her grandparents?

Thank You, Omu! | By Oge Mora

Omu decides to make a stew for dinner. The stew smells so good that several members of the community stop by Omu's place asking for some stew. Omu shares the stew with her community, but she soon runs out and realizes that she does not have any left for herself to eat for dinner. The people who Omu shared the stew with stop by to thank her for her generosity.

  • Why do you think that it is important to share?

The Composition | By Antonio Skármeta

Pedro is a young boy who likes to play soccer. At school, Pedro and his classmates are asked by the government to write a composition about what their families do at night. Pedro does not want the government to find out that his parents secretly listen to the radio at night, so he leaves this part out of his composition.

  • What would you do if you were Pedro?

Juna’s Jar | By Jane Bahk

Juna has a best friend named Hector. They like to go on adventures and catch things in empty kimchi jars. One day, Hector moves away and Juna has to figure out who will go on adventures with her now. 

  • Who do you like to go on adventures with?

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music | By Margarita Engle

This story is about a girl who breaks the rules to become a drummer.

  • What activities do you dream about doing?

Antiracist Baby | By Ibram X. Kendi

Antiracist Baby is a board book that introduces young children to the concepts of antiracism.

  • How have you been battling racism in your friendships and classes?
  • How can you do better to make places more safe and comfortable for your friends of different races?

When Aidan Became A Brother | By Kyle Lukoff

When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. But Aidan realized that he was a boy and his parents fixed the parts of life that did not fit anymore. Aidan's parents announce that they are going to have another baby, which leads Aidan to panic because he wants to make sure that everything is going to be perfect for his sibling.

  • How do Aidan’s feelings change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story?

We Are Shining | By Gwendolyn Brooks

In this poem picture book, the uniqueness of every child is celebrated.

  • How did this poem make you feel?

Alma and How She Got Her Name | By Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma, whose full name is Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela, thinks she has too many names so she asks her dad about them. He explains the various people she was named after to honor them. 

  • What is the story behind your name?

I Am Perfectly Designed | By Karamo Brown and Jason “Rachel” Brown

This story is about a father and son walking through a city and discovering things that make them perfectly designed for each other.

  • What makes you unique and perfectly designed?

I Am Enough | By Grace Byers

Grace Byers' book is about loving yourself and respecting others.

  • What do the children mean at the end of the story when they declare, “I am enough”?

Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship | By Jessica Walton

Errol and Teddy are best friends that do everything together. On day, Teddy seems sad so Errol asks Teddy what's wrong. Teddy reveals that she is a girl teddy, not a boy teddy, and would like to be called Tilly. Errol accepts Tilly and states that they will always be best friends no matter what.

  • Is there something important about Errol and Tilly doing the same activities together at the beginning and end of the story?
  • What do you think the author is trying to tell us?

The Name Jar | By Yangsook Choi

Unhei moves to the U.S. from Korea and is nervous about her first day of school. On the bus, the kids tease her because of her name. When she gets to class, she tells everyone that she will be choosing a new name for herself by the end of the week. Her classmates make a name jar to give her name suggestions. In the end, Unhei decides to keep her name and explains to her classmates what her name means and why it is important to her.

  • If you could choose your own name, what would you pick and why?

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match | By Monica Brown

Marisol is half Scottish and half Peruvian. She loves “mismatched” things. She has bright red hair, brown skin, loves to wear polka dots and stripes, having PB&J burritos for lunch, and being a complete fusion of everything.

  • What makes you unique?

Love Will See You Through | By Angela Farris Watkins

Angela Farris Watkins, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece, reveals her uncle's six guiding principles of nonviolence.

  • Which one of King’s principles is your favorite?

The Sandwich Swap | By Kelly DiPucchio and Queen Rania of Jordan

Lily and Salma are best friends. However, they do not like the same sandwiches: Lily likes peanut butter and jelly, while Salma likes hummus on pita. A food fight ensues when they declare that each others' lunch is weird. In the end, they set aside their differences.

  • Have you ever swapped a sandwich with one of your friends?

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History | By Vashti Harrison | June 25, 2020

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History features the stories of forty trailblazing women in American history, including Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges. 

  • Can you think of a time that you were courageous?
  • What was it and what did you do?

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea | By Kai Cheng Thom

This story is about a non-binary child who overcomes being bullied through the guidance of their mother. 

  • Have you ever wanted to be more than one thing? What do you want to be?

We Are a Rainbow | By Nancy Tabor

This book helps young readers begin building cultural bridges through simple comparisons. 

While reading this book please thing and reflection on these questions while you watch this video: 

  • What makes you and your family unique?
  • What language do you speak?
  • Do you make special food?
  • What things from other cultures do you enjoy?