being a teacher

Global Read Aloud 2021 – Yes, It’s Happening #GRA21

Crossposted on The Global Read Aloud website as well.

Image result for global read aloud

In June 2020, I wrote a post saying that perhaps 2020 would be the last year. for the GRA That after 11 years, perhaps it was time to say goodbye, end on a high note, move on to other things. Mired by the pressures of the world, bogged down by the usual emails and comments disparaging the choices of books, overwhelmed by the world, that decision felt like the right decision at that time. In June, 2020, I could not have imagined how I would feel now in February 2021, in a world that still feels extraordinarily heavy. That is still moving at a very slow pace as we look for small glimpses of hope in the form of a vaccine, in the form of brief moments of togetherness that has eluded us for so long.

And so as I sat across from my husband last night, celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary at home pretending to be at our favorite restaurant, he brought up research that is being done right now on the power of hope and having things to look forward to. That for the first time in a long time researchers are noticing that people are not planning for things in the long-term because COVID has bogged us down for so long. That we are not planning trips, we are not making plans in the future and that they wonder what not having things to look forward to will do to us as human beings. And it made me think once again about the power of the GRA. About the many emails, comments, and reach outs I received after announcing that 2020 might be the last year. How some of you told me that it was the one constant in your year, that it was one of the biggest things that you looked forward to, that there had to be some way to keep it going. And you kept telling me, periodically an email would show up asking if I had made a decision, would I reconsider? And I had been thinking of it, after all, due to COVID teaching I didn’t even get to do it with my own students this year, it felt unfinished in some ways.

And so last night I made the decision that I have been pulled toward for a long time. The Global Read Aloud will be back, albeit a bit more streamlined, but it will happen in 2021. I feel a bit like a flake, like I played with a lot of people’s emotions, but in June it didn’t feel possible, now it does. And I hope you can forgive me for that.

So a few changes you may notice for this year are:

  • There will be no sign up, just join the Facebook community or stay tuned to this website for updates. That way I don’t have to send out emails all of the time to all of the new sign ups.
  • There will be no voting. Having contenders meant a lot of people got mad when they didn’t feel the right book was selected, so this way it should feel more streamlined; if you don’t like the choice, simple, don’t do the GRA this year.

What is information you may want right now?

  • Kick off will be October 4th and the project will run for six weeks as usual, ending on November 12th.
  • The official hashtag for the year is #GRA21, other hashtags will be announced once the books are.
  • Books will be announced end of March, beginning of April.
  • I will continue to try to find books that speak to a broader world experience, whether set somewhere outside of the US or with a broader global appeal, I am still looking for suggestions, so please consider nominating books here

I hope you consider joining me again as we continue to connect around the world, as we continue to create larger conversations centered in understanding, in acceptance, in empathy. I am excited for another year of reading together, I hope you are as well. If you have other ideas or questions please leave them in the comments.

Stay safe,


15 thoughts on “Global Read Aloud 2021 – Yes, It’s Happening #GRA21”

  1. What a gift, to have you providing this energy & momentum for GRA, a source of HOPE (and joy, and literacy, and positivity). Thank you!

  2. You are making many smile and feel hopeful. GRA is a gift to young readers and their teachers. Happy Anniversary!

  3. I am beyond thrilled that you have made this decision! I completely agree with you comment about book choices. If you don’t like the choices don’t participate, or arrange something on your own around a book you love. Thank you so much for all you have done for this project!

  4. What a joyful mail it was to read that the GRA will be going ahead this year. Thank you Pernille. At this time of challenge and adjustment, knowing that this global community strengthening event is going forward fills me with … just a peaceful feeling. Thank you.

  5. I saw this awesome news this morning and just found another nano minute to re-read the news~ so fantastic and HOPEFUL. Thank you for sharing this joy with us! Everything has been so wild and it feels so right to have this look forward to~ thank you!

  6. This makes me so incredibly happy. My students loved participating in it this year even though I really didn’t give them the best experience possible. We had great discussions and got postcards from several other students!!

  7. This is such great news! I agree about hope…I just left the classroom after teaching for 30 years. I look forward to helping teachers plan and dream about the GRA in their classrooms. Thank you, Pernille.——————————————————–

  8. I just want to send a quick email to say, thank you for all you do. You give so much of yourself and time to help teachers, and as a result students, be better educated and more humane people. It is easy for others who are frustrated and overworked to hide behind a computer and send emails to criticize others. Although this is not right, please do not let them discourage you. Recognize it for what it is, and know you are appreciated by most. (I still struggle to adhere to this advice myself, but it is something I am trying to live by.)

    I am sitting at my computer, anxious about going back to an in person / remote model tomorrow, where my students will receive half of the instructional time with me, and trying to complete report cards. However, reading your email, I knew it was important to take a few moments to reach out and tell you THANK YOU. If you feel you can continue to keep a balance in your life and do the GRA, it is a wonderful avenue for so many who are so shattered to connect. However, if you cannot, what you gave is amazing and what you will continue to give is enough.

    Sincerely, Marci Gould Buena Vista Elementary 4th Grade (Walnut Creek, CA)

  9. So happy that you reconsidered your decision. The pandemic has sapped many of our energy and motivation. These are hard times yet the GRA is a joyful community building experience. Why not hire a tech savvy teenager to screen your social media for angry content? Preserve your hope so you can ignite ours!
    I’m excited for April now!

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