Teachers, let’s talk about a popular topic across education blogs and Pinterest: the classroom library. A quick search on the Internet results in numerous tips, tricks, and ideas for different ways to configure and organize your classroom library. It’s an intensive and thoughtful process that involves thinking about genre, reading levels, interest levels, grade-level content, categories, and themes.
Unfortunately, we often see classroom libraries that group diverse books into categories that isolate or limit their use. Simply having a book bin labeled “cultures from around the world” or “black history month books” does not mean your library is culturally responsive. We need to think critically about how these books reflect the diversity of our students, their backgrounds, and the communities in which we live while exposing them to new ideas and concepts. Does your classroom library contain books that include main characters of color or with disabilities? Do your books featuring people of color only focus on issues of race, prejudice, or discrimination? Do they go beyond ethnic heritage months? Do they only focus on cultural traditions and foods? Continue reading
Lee & Low Books is thrilled to share that we will be bringing back to print The People Shall Continue, Simon J. Ortiz’s beloved children’s book tracing the history of Native and Indigenous people in North America. The book will be released in paperback in October 2017 in a new 40th Anniversary Special Edition, with updated illustrations and a new afterword by the author. It will also be available in a Spanish translation, simultaneously published.
In this guest post, originally posted at EdWeek and reposted here with permission, Philadelphia-based teacher Kathleen Melville shares the “Where’s My Story” project she developed to teach her ninth-grade students about diversity—or the lack thereof—in children’s books. Continue reading
Looking to expand your collection of authentic diverse children’s books? Lee & Low is excited to be participating in a free live webinar tomorrow on #OwnVoices books, hosted by School Library Journal! Continue reading
Last month, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) released its statistics on the number of children’s books by and about people of color published in 2016. Two years after the founding of We Need Diverse Books, the issue of diversity in children’s books continues to gain traction and media attention; it is the topic of panels, conferences, training sessions, and studies.
But is it all making a difference?
The answer is yes and no: Continue reading
In this guest post, excerpted from an original post at EdWeek and reposted here with permission, author and editor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz discusses the dehumanizing myths and misconceptions that hurt Native students. Currently, more than 600,000 Native American students attend our nation’s K-12 public schools. Continue reading
As February comes to an end, we round out Black History Month with a spotlight on William “Doc” Key, a self-taught veterinarian who taught his horse Jim Key how to read, write, and calculate math problems. Teaching a horse these skills might sound preposterous, but Doc was able to nurture Jim’s ability through kindness, patience, and empathy. Together they traveled throughout the United States and impressed audiences with Jim’s amazing performances. In the process, they broke racial barriers and raised awareness for the humane treatment of animals.
Here’s what Donna Janell Bowman, author of Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, had to say about William “Doc” Key’s legacy and the amazing duo’s story:
In 2015, we released an infographic and study on the diversity gap in the Academy Awards. The study looked at racial and gender diversity over 87 years of the Oscars, through 2015:
We are excited to announce that Simmons College has awarded its first Lee & Low and Friends Scholarship to Luisiana Duarte Armendáriz. The scholarship, a partnership between the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and children’s book publisher LEE & LOW BOOKS, was created to provide opportunities for students of color to enroll in a prestigious children’s literature graduate program. Continue reading
Last week, Tu Books Publisher Stacy Whitman spoke at the Kansas Association of Teachers of English (KATE) conference about why and how to use diverse books in the classroom. In this blog post, we share some highlights from her presentation that may be helpful for readers across the country. Continue reading