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Illinois Reading Council announces 2019 Illinois Reads book selections

Normal,Illinois (PR MediaRelease) November 27, 2018

The Illinois Reading Council has unveiled its list of top books to read in 2019 as part of its nationally acclaimed Illinois Reads program.

Each year for the past seven years, the IRC and Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White, who serves as Honorary Chairman of the Illinois Reads program, have worked together to select six books in each of six age categories written by authors who have a tie to Illinois.

A statewide project promoting reading for Illinois citizens, ILLINOIS READS recommends books  ranging from read-to books for infants to books for adult readers.  A variety of topics and themes are chosen for each age group.

The 2019 ILLINOIS READS program gets underway with a Book Festival Saturday, March 16 at Waukegan High School’s Brookside Campus. Readers from throughout Illinois are invited to the free event. Details will be forthcoming.

The ILLINOIS READS book selections for 2019 are:


Ages Birth – 4 Years

Hope, Matthew Cordell

The World Never Sleeps, Natalie Rompella

What to do with a Box, Chris Sheban (illustrator)

Kitten and the Night Watchman, John Sullivan

The Forever Tree, Tereasa Surratt and Donna Lukas

Ready, Set, Sail, Meg Fleming


Grades K-2

Through the Window: Views of Marc Chagall’s Life & Art, Barbara Rosenstock

What Can A Citizen Do? Dave Eggers

My Heart is a Compass, Deborah Marcero

Hey Black Child, Useni Eugene Perkins

Shark Nate-O, Becky Cattie and Tara Luebbe

Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic, Ginnie Lo


Grades 3-5

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up, Sally M. Walker

Dangerous Jane, Suzanne Slade

Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties, Tom Watson

The Mortification of Fovea Munson, Mary Winn Heider

Field Tripped, Allan Woodrow

The Cardboard Kingdom, Chad Sell


Grades 6-8

Out of the Wild Night, Blue Balliett

The Unsinkable Walker Bean and the Knights of the Waxing Moon, Aaron Renier

The First Rule of Punk, Celia C. Perez

Speechless, Adam P. Schmitt

Drum Roll Please, Lisa Jenn Bigelow

It’s Not Me It’s You, Stephanie Kate Strohm


Grades 9-12

A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, Claire Hartfield

I am not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Erika L. Sanchez

Love, Hate and Other Filters, Samira Ahmed

How to be an American: A Field Guide to Citizenship, Silvia Hidalgo

Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry the VIII Tell All, Stephanie Hemphill, Linda Sue Park & Candance Fleming

American Panda, Gloria Chao



The House of Broken Angels, Luis Alberto Urrea

The Great Believers, Rebecca Makkai

The Feather Thief, Kirk Wallace Johnson

The Girl from Berlin, Ronald H. Balson

Murder in the News: An Inside Look at How Television Covers Crime, Robert H. Jordan, Jr.

A Word for Love, Emily Robbins


Booklists for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 can be found on the ILLINOIS READS’ web site:

Illinois Reads is sponsored by the Illinois Reading Council, a nonprofit organization with close to 4,000 members across the State of Illinois. The mission of the Illinois Reading Council is to provide support and leadership to all who promote and teach lifelong literacy. More information is available at

Tammy Pots
Illinois Reading Council


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