In this guest post, New York Public Library Head of Teen Services Elisa Garcia and Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Manager of the New York Public Library School Support Program, share some of their favorite titles for fostering conversation and dialogue. We are so excited to have them join us on the Lee & Low blog!
Libraries play a role in social responsibility and one of the ways we do this is bringing the community together through books that foster rich conversations about current and past events. When choosing books to have these critical conversations, it is important that these titles represent diversity and will support and foster these conversations. Continue reading
Since Poetry Month is in full swing, we asked some of our poets at Lee & Low Books to provide tips for reading poetry to kids and students. Read suggestions from Pat Mora, author of Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico! Americas’ Sproutings; Confetti: Poems for Children (Confeti: Poemas para niños); and upcoming title Bookjoy, Wordjoy, listen to the wisdom of Marilyn Singer, author of A Full Moon Is Rising and upcoming title Every Month Is a New Year, and find the passion with Guadalupe García McCall, author of Under the Mesquite, Summer of the Mariposas (El verano de las mariposas), Shame the Stars, and upcoming Fall title All the Stars Denied, when reading poetry to kids. Continue reading
In looking for books with protagonists of color, most readers find that the books they see about protagonists of color surround their marginalization (in fact, this recent New York Times piece on the topic went viral). Though it is vastly important for children to understand the history and complexity of oppression, racism, and discrimination, children, especially children of color, also deserve to see themselves thrive, to experience the joy of being a part of a loving community, and to not be stuck in a cycle of oppressive narratives that can shape how others view them. Below we’ve compiled a list of diverse books that reflect the daily lives of children and feature kids just being kids! Continue reading
Last October was the release of Ahimsa by New Visions Award winner Supriya Kelkar. Inspired by her great-grandmother’s experience working with Gandhi, Kelkar shines a light on the Indian freedom movement in this poignant middle grade novel.
In 1942, after Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle. But it turns out he isn’t the one joining. Anjali’s mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use “ahimsa”—non-violent resistance—to stand up to the British government.
Accompanying this title is the Ahimsa Teacher’s Guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions on the Indian freedom movement, colonialism, civil disobedience, and the connection to the civil rights movement in the United States. Our teacher’s guide also features summary and background information, prereading and discussion questions, ideas for reader’s response and writing activities, strategies for ESL/ELL, and interdisciplinary activities and connections. Below we’ve shared a few prereading questions, discussion questions, and resources from the Ahimsa teacher’s guide. Continue reading
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!
Released 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
Released this winter from the Shen’s Book imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, Confucius: Great Teacher of China is a beautiful picture book biography 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
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:
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.
With 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