All posts by keilinh

Book List: 13 Funny Middle Grade Books with Diverse Characters

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but a middle school sense of humor is so delightful! When the temperature is freezing, what better way to spend your time than by reading a hilarious book? We’ve put together a list of middle grade humor books (all of which feature diverse main characters), so get ready to have your funny bone tickled!

Note: In general, middle grade books are appropriate for kids ages 8-12. If any of these books fall outside that range, we’ve tried to note that below.

For you visual learners, we’ve also pinned these titles on Pinterest:

diverse middle grade humor booksThese books have been recommended in various places – we haven’t (yet) read them all ourselves. If you have other recommended humorous middle grade titles that feature characters of color or are written by authors of color, let us know in the comments! For more on middle grade humor, check out Cat Girl’s Day Off author Kimberly Pauley’s guest post she wrote on How to Write Humor for Young Readers.

Let the giggles and laughs commence!

smiling cat

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night by Lenore Look, ill. by LeUyen Pham: Alvin Ho is an Asian American second grader who is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.

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A School Visit with G. Neri, author of Yummy

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

While teachers are always encouraging their students to write, the presence of an author can be the turningYummy cover point that hooks students on writing—especially when the visiting author has written one of the first books that really resonates with students.

I literally have no idea where my next book will come from until I stumble across something in the real world that absolutely floors me,” asserted G. Neri, author of Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty and Chess Rumble, recently to a room of seventh-graders in Spanish Harlem.

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Flock on Over for Great Holiday Deals!

The holidays are upon us, which means delicious food and . . . presents! Uh oh. If buying gifts for your family and friends has slipped your mind, never fear! Lee & Low Books (and the parrots of Puerto Rico) have come to the rescue!

Parrots Over Puerto Rico

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Giving Thanks: Thanksgivukkah and Native American Heritage Month

If you haven’t heard already, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap this year, creating a hybrid holiday known across the internet as Thanksgivukkah. This overlap won’t happen for another 70,000 plus years, meaning people have been coming up with some very creative ways to celebrate (turkey menorahs aka menurkies, anyone?).

While it’s fun to enjoy the novelty of this rare holiday, November is also Native American Heritage Month, which means we’re thinking about the complicated history of Thanksgiving, but also giving thanks for recent steps that have been taken towards Native American equality. November 29 is Native American Heritage Day, and we can’t think of a better way to honor the day with a some great books about American Indians, including Killer of Enemies and Under the Mesquite.

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10 Tips for Being a Badass in Post-Apocalyptic Times

There are a lot of theories out there that our civilization as we know it will end, but as to when and how, nobody can say for sure. In this blog post, Lozen, the monster-slaying Apache heroine from our YA novel Killer of Enemies, offers 10 tips on how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world:

Lozen

  1. Shelter first. Fire before water. Water before food. You can last for days and days without food. Lots of hours without water. But you’ll either freeze from the cold or boil from the heat of the sun long before you die from thirst or hunger.
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Happy Halloween!

Whether you’re stuffing your face with candy or watching scary movies, everyone at LEE & LOW wishes you a fun (and safe!) Halloween!

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Using Dual Language and Bilingual Books in First and Second Grade

Jill Eisenberg is our Resident Literacy Expert. Jill began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

Note: This lesson can be done with other books, but dual language/bilingual books offer a unique opportunity to engage non-English speaking parents in the classroom and provide a way to continue rigorous discussions with their children at home regardless of English in the home. Bilingual books additionally underscore the diversity of our classroom communities and equalize parents as teachers in students’ minds.

Last week, I spoke about my experience teaching in a school where nearly 85% of my students were English Language Learners and English was not the primary language spoken at home. Using a bilingual book with a Spanish-speaking parent in the classroom is a strategy I learned teaching in San Jose, CA as a part of a parent engagement program called “Los Dichos de la Casa” by Silicon Valley YMCA.

Whether your classroom has only a few English Language Learners (ELLs) or a majority, bilingual and dual language books can encourage close reading of a text and increase accessibility of the text to ELLs. Over the next few posts, we will model how bilingual and dual language books are being used in classrooms to foster deep, critical thinking and a love of reading.

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Trick or Treat: Diverse Books for Halloween!

Halloween, thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival Samhain, is just around the corner! Whether you’re planning to spend the holiday pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, or just relaxing with a cup of steaming hot apple cider, we have six diverse books full of thrills and chills to add to your Halloween festivities!

Ghosts for Breakfast

1. Ghosts for Breakfast by Stanley Todd Terasaki, illustrated by Shelly Shinjo

In this humorous story set in the 1920s, a Japanese American boy and his father investigate their neighbors’ report of ghosts in a nearby farmer’s field.

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5 Books for Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15, a period chosen because it bookends the independence days of five Central American nations (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica, Sept. 15), Mexico (Sept. 16) and Chile (Sept. 18), as well as Columbus Day/Dia de la Raza (Oct. 14 this year in the United States). In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve rounded up five great books that celebrate Latino culture and history.

Gracias - Thanks

1. Gracias~Thanks by Pat Mora, illustrated by John Parra

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New Voices Award Winners: Where Are They Now?

New Voices Award sealLast month we brought together past New Voices Award winners to see what it was like to publish their first books. Today, in our final installment in the series, we ask these talented authors to share what they have been doing since entering the contest. guest blogger

This year marks our 14th annual New Voices Award writing contest. Every year, LEE & LOW BOOKS gives the New Voices Award to a debut author of color for a picture book manuscript. The submission deadline this year is September 30, 2013, so get those manuscripts in!

Q: What have you been up to in the time since your book won the New Voices Award or Honor?

Linda BoydenLinda Boyden, The Blue Roses  (our first New Voices Award Winner)

Winning the first New Voices Award for The Blue Roses gave me something I didn’t have before: confidence in myself as a writer. I had had a distinguished teaching career, but as a fledgling writer, it seemed I’d never get out of the slush pile. After the New Voices Award, my book also garnered the Paterson Prize and Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers Children’s Book of the Year. Buoyed by this incredible good luck, I wrote more and queried more. Though not represented by an agent at that time, I was lucky again and found a publishing home with the University of New Mexico Press for my next two picture books. The UNMP editor I worked with, W. Clark Whitehorn, convinced me to do my own illustrations for both Powwow’s Coming and Giveaways: An ABC Book of Loanwords from the Americas. Recently I’ve written and illustrated my fourth picture book, Boy and Poi Poi Puppy from Progressive Rising Phoenix Press and signed with Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary for my YA novel. I’ve been very lucky and thank Lee & Low Books for believing in me and for the wonderful jump-start!

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