Read Across America – How to Expose Your Children to Diverse Literature


Read Across America Day, started by the National Education Association in 1998, occurs on March 2nd, the birth date of Dr. Seuss. Typically in elementary schools across the United States, the week is used to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday. Kids can be seen wearing the iconic hat worn by Cat the Hat while reciting “one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish” during read a louds celebrating the famous author.

However, a few years ago, an article was published that swiftly prompted me to change how I celebrate the day with my own children. If you aren’t aware of Dr. Seuss or Theodor Geisel’s history, take a look at the article. It pushed me to rethink my approach to celebrating the holiday.

US map shelf with books read across America
USA education or market of books concept. Book shelf as map of USA. 3d illustration

I now celebrate the holiday in three ways. First, throughout the year, I read a range of books to my son that represent a variety of cultures. Secondly, I work all year to promote a culture of reading for my three sons. Thirdly, I love to celebrate books through the use of activities.

My son loves reading and I love fostering that desire within him. I believe it is extremely important to have my son read books that showcase different cultures, show protagonists of different genders, and celebrate characters that look and act differently then him. Often times, we use books within our house to teach lessons about how to be kind, how to be accepting, how to be a big brother, etc.

I love asking our local librarians for their book recommendations and I also follow a few instagram accounts: @booksfordiversity, @readwithriver, @picturebookplaydate, @projectlitcomm, @thetututeacher.

For the past couple of years, Read Across America has re-branded itself to celebrate books that represent the diversity of America. Below, I have created a collection of thematically diverse children’s books from all the regions of the United States that are representative of many different cultures, experiences, and backgrounds. The regions were chosen based on the author or illustrators hometown or the protagonist’s hometown.




South West

South East


North East

If you have any additional books you love, please leave them in the comments so I can share them with my family too!

Stay Tuned for Part 2, Creating A Literary Rich Home, coming later this month!

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