Read Across SMSD March 2024- Celebrate Diversity

Shawnee Mission School District

The March Read Across SMSD theme encourages all of us to “Celebrate Diversity.” Click here to view the video.

The books selected this month give us the opportunity to help broaden our understanding of ourselves and others - especially the people we interact with every day. The elementary featured book is called “A Crown for Corina” by Laeken Zea Kemp. 

In this book, readers meet Corina, who is celebrating her birthday by making a beautiful crown with flowers picked from her grandmother’s garden. Corina takes great care in choosing flowers for her crown as her grandmother, whom she calls Abuela, reminds her that “every flower in your crown must tell your story. Who you are and where you come from.”

Inspired by Corina’s story of self-expression, a group of Apache Elementary school students took a little time to make self portraits representing who they are, their experiences, and personalities. 

The students were joined in their art-making by Hayleigh Chudik, Apache art teacher, and Dr. Michael Schumacher, associate superintendent of Human Resources. 

Fifth grader Tyger created a self-portrait that showcased his creative and fun personality. Sixth grader Gaston’s portrait highlighted his artistic abilities, as well as his favorite colors. Nataly, a fourth grader, expressed her appreciation that each project was unique.

“I like that we’re all working on the same project, but all of our art looks different!” Nataly said.

Dr. Schumacher thanked all of the students for sharing their stories through art. “Through projects like these, we celebrate our diversity while also recognizing the common threads that connect us all,” he shared. “I love how each portrait is a different, beautiful work of art that helps us get to know each other better.” 

March Reading and Learning Resources

Read Across SMSD is modeled after the national Read Across America program and is led in partnership with NEA-Shawnee Mission. Access to books for Shawnee Mission students is made possible through the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation

Here are the Read Across America March titles from the NEA book list:


“A Crown for Corina”

By Laeken Zea Kemp

Click here to learn more.

Middle Grade

“You Are Here: Connecting Flights”

By Ellen Oh

Click here to learn more. 

Young Adult

“Invisible Son”

By Kim Johnson

Click here to learn more.

The links above provide activity ideas, discussion ideas, reflective writing questions, and related resources for more titles to try in each age group.