Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Middle School

While reading books with children will help them better prepare for school and opens their minds to new cultures and experiences, it’s important to keep cultivating that love of reading into middle school. Exposing children to both “mirror” and “window” books—that is, books in which they can see themselves, and books in which they can learn about others—is the best way to create engaged readers and support social and emotional growth.

Lee & Low Books offers hundreds of great books for middle schoolers. Our books include English, Spanish, and bilingual titles; books about many different cultures; books that span a wide range of subjects and themes; and both fiction and nonfiction. Browse our middle school classroom collections to see what we have to offer, and check out our other book lists by grade:

While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are 10 of our absolute favorite diverse books for middle school!

Favorite Multicultural Books for middle school
Continue reading

Culturally Responsive Teaching in Grade 4: Studying Informational Text

Culturally Responsive Teaching, Grade 4

In this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and offer concrete examples and resources. Last month we explored culturally responsive teaching around Valentine’s Day. This month, educator Lindsay Barrett offers guidance for a culturally responsive study of informational text at the fourth grade level.

Selecting diverse stories and setting up related discussions are important and logical aspects of ensuring that your classroom is a culturally responsive one. Stories have the power to draw students in, inspire them, make them feel seen and heard, and stretch the boundaries of their thinking. Continue reading

Interview: Maya Christina Gonzalez on Honoring Francisco X. Alarcón and Family

family poems for every day of the weekReleased last fall from the Children’s Book Press imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, Family Poems for Every Day of the Week/Poemas familiares para cada día de la semana is a celebratory collection of poems that highlights the daily life of children every day of the week while also honoring the experiences of Latino poet Francisco X. Alarcón, who passed away in January 2016. We interviewed illustrator Maya Christina Gonzalez about the important role that family and friends play in Family Poems for Every Day of the Week and what the creative process was like:  Continue reading

What Inspires Demi, Author and Illustrator of 100+ Children’s Books

Released this winter from the Shen’s Book imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, Confucius: Great Teacher of China is a beautiful picture book confuciusbiography that provides a warm introduction to the philosopher some call “China’s uncrowned king.” Confucius was born in 551 BCE, at a time of great war and famine in China. As he observed the suffering around him, he realized the best way to transform a society was to teach. He believed if rulers were good people—wise, trustworthy, and generous—they could lead by example, he said.  Twenty-five hundred years later, Confucius’s ideas about education, government, right behavior, and compassion continue to inspire millions every day.

Demi is the author and illustrator of more than one hundred books for children. How has she created so many award-winning books? We asked her to share a little bit about her creative process and sources of inspiration: Continue reading

Women’s Empowerment Diverse Book List for Grades PreK-8

LEE & LOW BOOKS is proud to announce the launch of our Women’s Empowerment Diverse Reading Text Sets for Grades PreK-8! Continue reading

Más Piñata: Dual Language Leveled Reading

Mas Pinata announcement

We are proud to announce the return of Más Piñata, now part of our Bebop Books imprint! Más Piñata is a series of leveled books for Emerging and Beginning Readers, available in both Spanish and English. Más Piñata offers rich, culturally-relevant stories that support meaningful literacy development in guided reading and biliteracy settings. Continue reading

Author Amy Lee-Tai on Connecting with Community

Last November, Amy Lee-Tai, author of A Place Where Sunflowers Grow, participated in a program called The Big Read, a program that exposes communities across the country to great works of literature and encourages them to read for pleasure and enrichment. Below is her blog post where she reflects on the experience: 
Continue reading

Martí’s Song for Freedom Teacher’s Guide

Our release and popularity of the Social Activism Diverse Reading List has got us thinking over here at LEE & LOW about the importance of sharing Social Activism resources with educators. Social Activism, especially in this volatile political climate, is necessary in inspiring students to enact change in their own communities. Read-alouds and mentor texts are also crucial in showing students historical figures who fought for justice and equality.

marti's song for freedom teacher's guideWith Social Activism in mind, we are proud to release the Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad Teacher’s Guide! José Martí was certainly an activist as well as a brilliant political writer and courageous fighter of freedom for all people. We wanted to highlight a few specific Social Activism activities that can be done with students in the classroom. Here are a few activities directed towards Social Activism that can be found in the full Guide here: Continue reading

Interview: Author Janet Halfmann on Lilly Ann Granderson’s Legacy

Midnight TeacherToday is the release day of Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School, a picture book about the little-known story of Lilly Ann Granderson, an African-American teacher who risked her life to teach others during slavery. To celebrate, we interviewed author Janet Halfmann to find out more about the story behind Midnight Teacher.

Many of us have not heard of Lilly Ann Granderson’s story. How did you find out about her legacy? What inspired you to write about Lilly Ann Granderson?

I learned about it in bits and pieces. I have long been interested in early black educators, partly because so many books about teachers in the early schools for African Americans are about white teachers from the North. I wanted to shine the spotlight on an amazing early black teacher. The first mentions I found about Lilly Ann Granderson were under the name Milla Granson, the name used by a northern abolitionist who met this teacher and wrote about it in her book. Once I started researching, I learned that Lilly Ann Granderson was known as the Midnight Teacher because she held her secret classes from midnight until two in the morning. That fact made the story all the more intriguing to me, and I thought it would be for kids too. All accounts I found about this teacher ended shortly after the Civil War, so I am honored to have had the opportunity to flesh out Lilly Ann Granderson’s amazing and inspiring story and share it with the world.

Continue reading

Book List: Girls and Women in Sports


Today marks the 32nd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD)! Started in 1986, National Girls and Women in Sports Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of girls and women in sports, and according to the Women’s Sports Foundation, to “recognize the ongoing effort towards equality and access for women in sports and the nation’s commitment to expand sport and participation opportunities for all girls and future generations.” To celebrate, we’re highlighting five books that feature girls in sports:

Continue reading

Exploring Children's Books Through the Lens of Diversity