Read For The Record

Today is the big day.  Teachers all across the world read aloud the same book on the same day to children.  The magnificence of children all over the world hearing the words and seeing the illustrations of the same story – together – is enormous and bonding.

I was ‘there’, today, reading Thank You, Omu, by Oge Mora.

The book is a wonderful story about a neighborhood, and how the smell of a delicious soup can bring people together.  Typically when I read a story, there are a few ‘antsy’ or chatty children.  Not with this book.  Every child was riveted.

The text brings in one person after another in the neighborhood, in a pattern of anticipation, combined with the familiar love of food.  The story builds with Omu (pronounced ah-mu) sharing her soup with each person in the neighborhood until her pot is empty.  Her neighbors, in turn, return the favor in a delightful way.

The illustrations are outstanding and appealing.  Being a Caldecott Honor Book says it all.  Children were drawn to the illustrations of the scent of the soup, and to the neighborhood.

Within our school, we celebrated how we are a community, a neighborhood, by making a big soup together, the same soup that Omu made.  Children added ingredients into a big crock pot, and we smelled the same delicious smell that was  in the book.  Then, after reading the story, we ate the soup and came together, like the same neighborhood in the book.

Thank you to Jump Start’s Read for the Record for creating this annual world-wide event. Schools, libraries, museums, and other organizations are raising awareness about the importance of early literacy. Read more about Read for the Record, Jumpstart, and fostering early literacy at


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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56 Responses to Read For The Record

  1. Darlene says:

    What a fabulous idea. Is the recipe for the soup in the book?

  2. Opher says:

    Fabulous. How powerful. What a great idea! People unite!

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, Opher! And it’s the simple things, the everyday things that unite people. Soup does it! At school, all the classes felt like a community, a neighborhood, making soup together and reading the book.

  3. I love hearing about these concerted efforts to instill a love of reading in kids (and everyone else too).

  4. This is wonderful, Jennie!

  5. This book’s theme reminds me of the book Bone Soup one of our family favorites.

    How fun to create the soup and share it together!
    It sounds like a great uniting project.

  6. beetleypete says:

    What a great idea! One book, enjoyed by children around the world on the same day.
    We need more things like this, and less things like ‘Pet A Rabbit’ Day! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      You hit the nail on the head, Pete. One book read to all children on the same day is very uniting and real, and also makes a difference. The other ‘days’ are fluff, no stuff. Best to you.

  7. Ellen says:

    As Benjamin would say : Two Thumbs Up and Ten Gold Stars! I came across an interview with Oge Mora last December about “Thank you, Omu” and knew that it was a must have for Benjamin. We love this book! I must add a wee bit of information about the book that you may not know. This book was Ms. Mora’s final project for the fall semester in her class “Picture and Word” while a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. During her final presentation an art director from Little, Brown Young Readers was present and asked for the pdf. Thus began the journey to become a published book. I am proud to say that Oge Mora lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. I love the way that you made the book come alive beyond the printed words and colorful pictures…making the soup with the children was brilliant! Thank-YOU!

    • Jennie says:

      Ellen, thank you, thank you for the wonderful backstory about Oge. I can picture the scene where she is presenting the book in her fall semester at RISD. And she lives in Providence? Wow! I will contact the Eric Carle Museum and ask them when they plan to have her as a guest. Seriously! Providence to Amherst, not too bad. I would LOVE to hear her speak! She has just published a new book, Saturday. Looks like a winner. I’m so glad (and not surprised) you and Benjamin love the book. Making the soup was absolutely brilliant, thanks to fellow teacher and book guru Inga. Suddenly our school is a neighborhood, too. Best to you, Ellen.

  8. What a delightful event, Jennie! I love the concept. Hugs on the wing.

  9. Annika Perry says:

    What a wonderful day of reading…the book looks a gem and wow! Can’t believe you made the soup for you all to enjoy. A precious day of sharing! ♥️

    • Jennie says:

      It was the best day of reading, Annika. The book is terrific. Making the soup was a community effort with all the children from every class adding an ingredient and stirring. Coming together to read the story and eat the soup was just perfect.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I think of the old book “Stone Soup.” Thanks for adding to my list of good kids’ books.

    • Jennie says:

      I know and love that book. It’s a great classic. While Stone Soup has the soldiers tricking the villagers, this story has the neighbors being offered to eat the soup and then returning the favor. It’s a winner. Thank you, Elizabeth.

  11. petespringerauthor says:

    Great idea! How is it I’ve never heard of this before? We regularly participated in Read Across America Day when I was teaching.

    • Jennie says:

      I think Read Across America promotes reading in March on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and gives a suggested book list. It is wonderful. Read For The Record promotes one book with the intent that all children will read or hear that book read aloud, on the same day. One book, worldwide, on the same day. Every year that book is different. The book this year is new, and it’s good.

      On a side note, I looked at Read Across America’s recommended book list. While they are excellent books, they have put some into the wrong grade level. The first book listed in Elementary School is The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I think that’s a tough one for elementary kids. Then, for Middle School, they recommend Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I read this to second graders all the time. Hmmm…

      Thank you, Pete!

      • petespringerauthor says:

        Agreed! Those levels are entirely bogus. I love reading to kids, and I usually get invited back to read on Read Across America Day. Many of us dress up as some character from one of Dr’ Seuss’s books. The problem is I’m not a big fan of most of those books.

        Read for the Record sounds fabulous!

      • Jennie says:

        You make a good point here about the Dr. Seuss books. The first time I heard Jim Trelease speak he asked the teachers in the audience if they read aloud those books. Most hands went up. He then told the audience they were not meant to be books to read aloud! He said, “See the logo in the corner? It says I Can Read. This is a book for early readers, not for reading aloud.” Boy, did that strike a nerve with me! Like you, I rarely read the books in class, yet I have them on my bookshelf. I do read aloud “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at Christmastime. And, Robbie Cheadle has asked me to read it aloud this year.

        Thanks, Pete. I’m glad I wasn’t out to lunch on the book list. 🙂

  12. Dan Antion says:

    This sounds like a great story and everyone reading it is a wonderful idea.

  13. jilldennison says:

    Brilliant idea! Makes me wish I still had little ones to read to!

  14. I absolutely LOVE this! And what a great story for the autumn, when soup is such a good food for all to share. I love that the children got to help make the soup and then everyone got to eat it as they did in the neighborhood. Beautiful and so perfect to teach children that everywhere in the world, there are things that people can share no matter what color, etc. they are. I wonder if all the children’s moms could follow up with a simple recipe that all the children can share in making and enjoying to continue the lesson of love and how we can all bring love to share with others.

    • Jennie says:

      Beautifully said, Anne! I echo your thoughts. In this day and age it seems that few moms or dads have (or make) the time to follow through with the recipe. I was the same way back in the day. In the spirit of the old Pennsylvania Dutch saying, “Too late too smart.” 🙂

      • There is a story I think called Stone Soup for children in which they get to learn how to be a jury for the man who stole the bread at the fair to go with the soup. I loved it and the children sure did too. We had the children act out the farmer and the merchant and him getting the bread and then we had the children be the jury and decide whether he should be sent to jail for stealing the bread. I thought it was a very cute story and I remember it often when I think of soup.

      • Jennie says:

        The book Stone Soup is about hungry soldiers traveling through a village. The peasants tell the soldiers they have no food. The soldiers tell the peasants they only need a stone to make the so. They put the stone in a kettle of water to boil, then say, “If we only had some potatoes…”, then carrots and so on to trick the peasants into providing the food. Of course the soup is delicious. Stone soup. I wonder what the title of your book is? It sounds like a good story. Thank you, Anne!

  15. Who is the genius that thinks these things up? Getting all the kids reading a book at the same time can really move the energy in the world. I love the idea. It’s like a world prayer in a way. I love the idea of the children actually making the soup together and sharing it with each other. It will send them out into the world with a more giving nature. I’ve been trying to figure out a gift for my DIL that has the preschool. I don’t see the same kind of effect there that you have so I’m going to buy a collection of books you recommend and gift them to her. She buys a lot of books at thrift stores So new books might be nice. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Jennie says:

      I know! Genius for sure. The simplest of things can make the greatest difference. Thank you for gifting books to your DIL. You will be giving a gift that keeps on giving. Best to you, Marlene.

  16. kevin cooper says:

    I didn’t know about this… What a great idea! 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Kevin. Reading the same book on the same day across the world is great. Making soup together made the community and the story come alive.

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  18. carhicks says:

    I love this idea. There is Music Monday where they all sing the same song, but I had not heard of this. I will let some of my colleagues (I am now retired) know about this so they can jump on board next year. This book sounds delightful as well and will seek it out to read with my grandchildren. I am going to share this blogpost as well.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Carla! I hope your colleagues join in. The first year our school participated, the book was Otis, by Loren Long. Wonderful! This year’s book was a good one, too. I’m so glad we all made soup together. I did not know there was a Music Monday where children all sing the same song. And, thank you for sharing, too.

  19. You really do have the greatest fun with your children, Jennie. We never did such wonderful things at school.

    • Jennie says:

      I never had anything but rather stiff formalities in my education. There were a few times where the learning was really fun, and that is what I remember. If I can make learning a joy, then children will remember and what they learned will ‘stick’. Thank you, Robbie.

  20. AK says:

    Interesting concept.

  21. Wow, Jennie, this is a new version. In the old version, it was a poor farmer who smelled the soup and he had some but he wanted bread to soak it up in so he could eat it. I never read one with soldiers. Interesting for sure. Hugs, Anne

  22. I concur with the comments of your other readers about what a wonderful idea this is!

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