World Read Aloud Day 2024: Not a Rookie
Last year was my rookie appearance at World Read Aloud Day. For those unfamiliar with the program, it’s a day in which authors offer free 15-20 minute Zoom visits to schools all over the world, reading from their recent books and talking about their writing process. WRAD is the creation of prolific award-winning author Kate Messner and LitWorld International as an opportunity to share books, bring writers and readers together, and build an international writing community. The next WRAD will take place on February 7, 2024, and teachers and librarians can find a list of available authors to invite on Kate’s website.
Last year I committed to seven appearances but because of technical and communications breakdowns — including a tornado warning and power outage at a middle school in Texas — I only presented at four schools. All of those went well, and I will be returning to at least one of them in 2024. I also learned from my rookie mistakes, notably scheduling appearances too close together so I had to cut one group off in the middle of questions to be on time to another. This year, I’m only scheduling one appearance each hour even though it’s possible to squeeze three into a one-hour slot depending on the schools’ schedules.
Because of time-zone differences and the fact that I’m not a morning person, I’m also trying to book more appearances in the western half of the country. I can schedule far more visits if I have until 6 pm Eastern Time/3 pm Pacific to do so. So if you’re in a school on the West Coast — where I apparently have a lot of fans for Torch — I’m here for you! Last year, my westernmost bookings were in Texas. This time, I already have a booking in Colorado, which makes me very happy.
I also have a wider range of books I can read from and talk about this year. In addition to Moonwalking and Torch, which I read from last year in classes that ranged from fifth grade to high school seniors, I now have a picture book, Ways to Play, and a graphic novel translation, Pardalita. I will also be reading from a nonfiction collective biography, Film Makers: 15 Groundbreaking Women Directors, which I co-authored with Tanisia “Tee” Moore. I’ve already booked a reading of Film Makers at a middle school where I read from Moonwalking last year. Nonfiction often gets shortchanged at author visits, so this is an opportunity to talk about what goes into writing in this genre. Film Makers is especially timely because the person I’ll highlight, Greta Gerwig, directed the 2023 hit movie Barbie.
I can also read from my forthcoming YA historical novel in verse Eyes Open, which was just named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, and talk about how I researched the book when I lived in Portugal. Verse novels make great read-alouds, and you and your students can get a rare sneak peek at this story of a rebellious young poet who will need more than poetry to confront the injustice and repression in her world.
If you’d like to book a visit from me on World Read Aloud Day, February 7, 2024, you can do so by visiting the WRAD database and emailing me, or contact me directly by using the contact form on this site. I look forward to seeing you!
Update 12/19: Apparently the above contact form is not working, so you’ll have to visit the WRAD database until it’s repaired. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Update 1/4: The contact form is now fixed!