All posts by keilinh

Close Reading + Visual Literacy=Pathways for Understanding

Katie Cunninghamguest bloggerGuest blogger Katie Cunningham is an Assistant Professor at Manhattanville College. Her teaching and scholarship centers around children’s literature, critical literacy, and supporting teachers to make their classrooms joyful and purposeful. Katie has presented at numerous national conferences and is the editor of The Language and Literacy Spectrum, New York Reading Association’s literacy journal.

John Berger, in his famous documentary and book Ways of Seeing, explained that “Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.” Visual literacies are, perhaps, the primary and first ways young children understand the world. Young children are not only visual readers of the world they are naturally close readers as well. They closely read people’s facial expressions. They read signs to orient themselves. They read new blades of grass, flakes of snow, and changes in leaves as signs of seasonal change. For young children, close reading and visual literacies are their pathways for understanding. Yet our capacities to closely read what we see should be valued and strengthened beyond early childhood.

Society certainly thinks so. Instagram now has more than 100 million active users per month and is increasingly being taken up by teens and tweens as their site of choice over Facebook. Pinterest has more than 48.7 million users. Staggeringly, more than one billion unique users visit You Tube each month. Businesses today certainly recognize the power of visually-driven social media outlets as the primary way to reach potential clients. Yet too often the skill of closely reading what we experience visually is devalued in school over traditional print-based text. Are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) repositioning the power of the visual as part of the definition of what it means to be an attentive reader today? One hopes so.Too often the skill of closely reading what we experience visually is devalued in school over traditional print-based text.

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New Voices Award Winners: “How I Started Writing”

New Voices Award sealThis 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 Guest Bloggerfor a picture book manuscript.

Did you know that last year, children’s books written by authors of color made up less than seven percent of the total number of books published? As a multicultural publisher, we’re dedicated to increasing those numbers. The New Voices Award is one way we can help new authors of color break into publishing.

In this new blog series, we thought it’d be fun to bring together some past New Voices Award winners on the blog to see how they got their start as authors, what inspires them, and where they are now.

Q: How did you start writing picture books?

Author Linda BoydenLinda Boyden, The Blue Roses

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Using Children’s Books to Teach About Love and Belonging

Guest blogger Katie Cunningham is an Assistant Professor at Manhattanville College. Her teaching and scholarship centers around children’s literature, critical guest bloggerliteracy, and supporting teachers to make their classrooms joyful and purposeful. Katie has presented at numerous national conferences and is the editor of The Language and Literacy Spectrum, New York Reading Association’s literacy journal. 

We know love when we see it. The best mornings I have as a parent are when I see love between my sons. Moments like when my one-and-a-half year old spontaneously hugs my four year old, and he hugs him back. The best mornings I had as a teacher were when I saw love between my students. When a second grader high-fives a classmate for taking a risk with a math problem or when a student sits by someone at lunch who looks alone. As a parent and an educator, I am always on the look out for stories that center love in ways that enable young children to immediately but deeply understand what love is.

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10 Great Resources for Teaching About Racism

It’s been 59 years since Brown vs. Board of Education overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine in schools, but that doesn’t mean discrimination has disappeared from the classroom. Teaching children about race can be a tricky topic, but luckily, there are many great resources and books out there. Our new picture book,  As Fast As Words Could Fly, takes a unique look at school desegregation, following an African American family in North Carolina in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. Based on the experiences of author Pamela Tuck’s father, it’s proof that just one young person could – and still can – make a big difference.

10 Resources for Teaching About Race
illustration by Eric Velasquez from As Fast As Words Could Fly

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The Inspiration Behind the Artwork: World Travel

Our new picture book How Far Do You Love Me? takes readers on a trip around the world with illustrations of children and their loved ones. Here’s a fun fact: author and illustrator Lulu Delacre has actually been to all thirteen places depicted in the book!

She was kind enough to share a few photographs from her own travels that inspired the art for How Far Do You Love Me?. Enjoy!

Ladakh, Himalaya mountain range, Kashmir, India

hf3_0001

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The Gift of Hope: Guadalupe Garcia McCall on first books

ggm-signingguest bloggerOur recent grant from First Book inspired us to ask our authors about the crucial role multicultural books play in children’s lives. Guest blogger, author/poet Guadalupe Garcia McCall, reveals how the mission of First Book, to get low-income children their very first book, is a reality that many children face, including herself when she was growing up. 

First Book’s mission to make books accessible to low-income families is very close to my heart. It fills me with joy to hear that such an organization exists. Books are more than important, they fill a basic need in low-income communities—the need to connect to the world. Books for children of poverty represent hope.

As a young girl, I loved books. Books were my friends. They took me places I knew I would never be able to visit because we were poor. After my mother passed away, my father couldn’t leave town to work anymore, so he had to settle for working in Eagle Pass. He did odd jobs, put in a toilet for a friend and got a few bucks. Sometimes he got lucky and someone needed him to take out the flooring on their mobile home and put in a new one; then he had enough money to pay the bills for the month and buy a few groceries. We didn’t have money for anything other than food and bills.

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Shana Mlawski’s Blog Tour: Being a writer/reviewer, writing about rape, & more

To celebrate the release of her book Hammer of Witches, author Shana Mlawski is doing a blog tour from today until May 16!

Hammer of Witches cover

For all you Shana groupies out there, her schedule is below. Whether or not you’ve picked up Hammer of Witches yet, stop by the following blogs for some thoughtful conversation:

Tuesday, May 7: The Reading Zone – Shana on Being a Reviewer and Being Reviewed – Read her guest post here.

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Out TODAY: Awakening and Hammer of Witches!

Seems like spring is finally here and what better way to celebrate the warm weather than with new spring releases?

Today is the release day of two new novels from our science fiction and fantasy imprint, Tu Books: Awakening, the highly anticipated second book in Karen Sandler’s Tankborn series, and Hammer of Witches, a historical fantasy adventure featuring magic, monsters, and Columbus’s journey to the New World.

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Introducing the Holocaust to Children Through Books

guest bloggerHolocaust Remembrance Day is next Monday, so we’ve asked Marcia Vaughan, author of Irena’s Jars of Secrets, to share her thoughts on talking to children about the Holocaust:

I first learned of Irena Sendler while watching the Today Show one morning several years ago. I was amazed by how many children she and her network of co-conspirators rescued  from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. I knew young readers would be also be amazed at the ingenious ways the children were smuggled to safety.

As a child I only knew one person, my father’s good friend, Earl Mamlock,  who spent time in a

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Spring into Multicultural Children’s Books!

While it may not feel like it, today is the first day of spring! We’re very excited for our forthcoming spring titles, which you can check out here. To kick off the spring season, here’s an image and poem from Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems/Jitomates Risueños y otros poemas de primavera, written by Francisco X. Alarcón, and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez, published by Children’s Book Press, an imprint of LEE & LOW.

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