Autumn Night Reads

A weekly storytime read-aloud, narrated by our own KIPP SoCal leaders! Watch the new story premiere every Friday this summer at 6pm PDT on our Facebook page.

Vámonos a San Salvador

Written by Patty Rodriguez & Ariana Stein; Illustrated by Ana Godinez
Published by Lil' Libros
Read by Leslie Pineda, Human Resources Manager, KIPP SoCal Public Schools
About The Book:

Introduce your little readers to San Salvador, the magnificent capital of El Salvador. Children will learn about the unique and vibrant features of this incomparable Central American city. 

They'll be able to hike up to nature's giant, El Boquerón, feed the palomas on a Sunday, and watch the steam sizzle from the savory pupusas!

Vámonos a Havana

Written by Patty Rodriguez & Ariana Stein; Illustrated by Ana Godinez
Published by Lil' Libros
Read by Dr. Belen Sanchez, Managing Director, KIPP Through College, KIPP SoCal Public Schools
About The Book:

Introduce your little readers to Havana, the epicenter of the remarkable island of Cuba. Children will learn about the unique and vibrant features of this Caribbean city.

They'll be able to stroll through Old Havana, marvel at the art inside Fusterlandia, and spend an evening enjoying a magical performance at the Gran Teatro.


Written and Illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Published by Neal Porter Books
Read by Gabby Duran Ramirez, Director of Human Resources, KIPP SoCal Public Schools
About The Book:

Yuyi Morales brought her hopes, her passion, her strength, and her stories with her, when she came to the United States in 1994 with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn't come empty-handed.Dreamers is a celebration of making your home with the things you always carry: your resilience, your dreams, your hopes and history. It's the story of finding your way in a new place, of navigating an unfamiliar world and finding the best parts of it. In dark times, it's a promise that you can make better tomorrows.This lovingly-illustrated picture book memoir looks at the myriad gifts migrantes bring with them when they leave their homes. It's a story about family. And it's a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own strengths wherever we roam. Beautiful and powerful at any time but given particular urgency as the status of our own Dreamers becomes uncertain, this is a story that is both topical and timeless.The lyrical text is complemented by sumptuously detailed illustrations, rich in symbolism. Also included are a brief autobiographical essay about Yuyi's own experience, a list of books that inspired her (and still do), and a description of the beautiful images, textures, and mementos she used to create this book.
A parallel Spanish-language edition, So adores, is also available.

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and her Family's Fight for Desegregation

Written and Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Published by Harry N. Abrams
Read by Ivette Jimenez, Digital Design Coordinator, KIPP SoCal Public Schools
About The Book:

When her family moved to the town of Westminster, California, young Sylvia Mendez was excited about enrolling in her neighborhood school. But she and her brothers were turned away and told they had to attend the Mexican school instead. Sylvia could not understand why--she was an American citizen who spoke perfect English. Why were the children of Mexican families forced to attend a separate school?

Unable to get a satisfactory answer from the school board, the Mendez family decided to take matters into its own hands and organize a lawsuit.In the end, the Mendez family's efforts helped bring an end to segregated schooling in California in 1947, seven years before the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ended segregation in schools across America.Using his signature illustration style and incorporating his interviews with Sylvia Mendez, as well as information from court files and news accounts, award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh tells the inspiring story of the Mendez family's fight for justice and equality.

Grace for President

Written by Kelly DiPucchio, Illustrated by Leuyem Pham
Published by Disney Hyperion
Read by Danielle Johnson, School Leader, KIPP Ignite Academy
About The Book:

"Where are the girls?"
When Grace's teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides she wants to be the nation's first and immediately jumpstarts her political career by running in her school's mock election! The race is tougher than she expected: her popular opponent declares that he's the "best man for the job" and seems to have captured the votes of all of the class's boys. But Grace is more determined than ever. Even if she can't be the best man for the job, she can certainly try to be the best person!
This timely story not only gives readers a fun introduction to the American electoral system but also teaches the value of hard work, courage, independent thought--and offers an inspiring example of how to choose our leaders.

Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of Voting Rights Act of 1965

Written by Jonah Winter & Shane W. Evans. 
Published by Schwartz & Wade Books
Read by Tommy McConnell II, Dean, KIPP Scholar Academy
About The Book:

An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family's tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a "long haul up a steep hill" to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky--she sees her family's history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery. Veteran bestselling picture-book author Jonah Winter and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Shane W. Evans vividly recall America's battle for civil rights in this lyrical, poignant account of one woman's fierce determination to make it up the hill and make her voice heard.

"Moving.... Stirs up a potent mixture of grief, anger, and pride at the history of black people's fight for access to the ballot box." --The New York Times

"A much-needed picture book that will enlighten a new generation about battles won and a timely call to uphold these victories in the present." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"A valuable introduction to and overview of the civil rights movement." --Publishers Weekly, Starred

"An important book that will give you goose bumps." --Booklist, Starred

Smiling from Ear to Ear.

Written and Illustrated by Kaitlyn Chu. 
Published by Kaitlyn Chu 2020
Read by Josh Pineda, Marketing Associate, KIPP SoCal Public Schools
About The Book:

Let's Smile From Ear to Ear! We’re all having to get used to wearing face masks in our daily lives. Let’s see how our favorite animals wear their masks and still have fun! Smiling From Ear to Ear is a cute, colorful picture book that shows friendly animal characters wearing face masks when they go to the park, the store, the doctor's office and more. It's made with love for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, teachers and anyone who interacts with young children and wants to make wearing face masks less frightening and more normalized for common activities.

By supporting this children's book and its important message, you'll also be supporting the No Kid Hungry Campaign, Black Women in Visual Art, schools, and other organizations serving children and youth.

My Hair is a Garden.

Written and Illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera. 
Published by Albert Whitman & Company, 2018
Read by Cristina Barrera, Communications Specialist, KIPP SoCal Public Schools
About The Book:

After a day of being taunted by classmates about her unruly hair, Mackenzie can't take any more and she seeks guidance from her wise and comforting neighbor, Miss Tillie. Using the beautiful garden in the backyard as a metaphor, Miss Tillie shows Mackenzie that maintaining healthy hair is not a chore nor is it something to fear. Most importantly, Mackenzie learns that natural black hair is beautiful.


Written by Nikki Giovanni. Illustrated by Bryan Collier.
Published by Square Fish, 2007
Read by Erin Starks, M.Ed, Special Education Manager, KIPP Empower Academy
About The Book:

Fifty years after her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus, Mrs. Rosa Parks is still one of the most important figures in the American civil rights movement. This tribute to Mrs. Parks is a celebration of her courageous action and the events that followed.

Award-winning poet, writer, and activist Nikki Giovanni's evocative text combines with Bryan Collier's striking cut-paper images to retell the story of this historic event from a wholly unique and original perspective.

I Am Enough.

Written by Grace Byers. Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo.
Published by Balzer & Bray, 2018
Read by Bertha Hernandez, Data Manager, KIPP SoCal Public Schools
About The Book:

A #1 New York Times bestseller and Goodreads Choice Awards picture book winner! This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation.

This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice.

Written by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard. Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin.
Published by Magination Press, 2018
Read by Chinedu Udeh, School Leader, KIPP Empower Academy
About The Book:

Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one White, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children's questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.

“This is a great educational resource for parents… how to talk to children about race and racism and trauma, how to identify and counter racial injustice.” 

“Right now, parents are looking for more children’s books that accurately depict the world their kids live in today. They also want a book that helps them discuss the tough issues that they would otherwise feel uncomfortable talking about. This is that book….The lesson of compassion and tolerance will touch anyone’s heart….This beautifully depicted picture book is a must for parents, teachers and librarians alike.” 


Written by Lupita Nyong'o. Illustrated by Vashti Harrison.
Read by Arica Watford, Talent Acquisition Associate, KIPP SoCal Public Schools
About The Book:

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

Harlem's Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills.

Written by Renée Watson. Illustrated by Christian Robinson.
Read by Cesely Westmoreland, Registered In-House Counsel, KIPP SoCal Public Schools
About The Book:

Born to parents who were both former slaves, Florence Mills knew at an early age that she loved to sing, and that her sweet, bird-like voice, resonated with those who heard her. Performing catapulted her all the way to the stages of 1920s Broadway where she inspired everyone from songwriters to playwrights. Yet with all her success, she knew firsthand how prejudice shaped her world and the world of those around her. As a result, Florence chose to support and promote works by her fellow black performers while heralding a call for their civil rights. Featuring a moving text and colorful illustrations, Harlem's Little Blackbird is a timeless story about justice, equality, and the importance of following one's heart and dreams.

The Day You Begin.

Written by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by Rafael López
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018.
Read by Dennise Porfirio, Data & Student Information Associate, KIPP SoCal Public Schools
About The Book:

A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.

The Story of Ruby Bridges.

Written by Robert Coles. Illustrated by George Ford.
Published by Scholastic Paperbacks, 2010.
Read by Nikki Turner, Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement, KIPP SoCal Public Schools 
About The Book:

The year is 1960, and six-year-old Ruby Bridges and her family have recently moved from Mississippi to New Orleans in search of a better life. When a judge orders Ruby to attend first grade at William Frantz Elementary, an all-white school, Ruby must face angry mobs of parents who refuse to send their children to school with her. Ruby's story of courage, faith, and hope is told with Robert Coles' powerful narrative and dramatically illustrated by George Ford.

We're Different. We're the Same.

Written by Bobbi Jane Kates. Illustrated by Joe Mathiue.
Read by Aisha Bonner, School Leader, KIPP Vida Preparatory Academy
About The Book:

Who better than Sesame Street to teach us that we may all look different on the outside—but it's important to remember that deep down, we are all very much alike. We all have the same needs, desires, and feelings. Elmo and his Sesame Street friends help teach toddlers and the adults in their lives that everyone is the same on the inside, and it's our differences that make this wonderful world, which is home to us all, an interesting—and special—place.

Juneteenth for Mazie

Written & Illustrated by Floyd Cooper.
Published by Capstone Young Readers, 2015.

Read by Dr. LeAnna Majors, School Leader, KIPP Compton Community School

About The Book:

Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history. The day her ancestors were no longer slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth. This beautiful story by award-winning author and illustrator Floyd Cooper will captivate both children and adults.