Category Archives: Diversity

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

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: 
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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.

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Culturally Responsive Teaching: Valentine’s Day in the Classroom

In this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and offer concrete examples and resources. In January, we explored goal setting with students to start off the new yearToday, educator Lindsay Barrett offers a culturally responsive approach to Valentine’s Day in the classroom.

Culturally Responsive Teaching VDAY

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Black History Month Book Giveaway, Book Lists, and Resources

February is Black History Month, which was created to remember the important people and events in the history of the African diaspora and to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history. While ethnic heritage months can be problematic, they are also a good reminder to highlight the achievements of particular cultures, and can make people from those cultures feel acknowledged and appreciated. In this blog post, we’ve rounded up some of our best Black History Month resources.  Continue reading

The Role of Cultural Experts and Sensitivity Readers

After her recent interview about sensitivity readers in the New York Times, Editorial Director and Publisher of Tu Books, Stacy Whitman, further discusses the role of cultural experts and sensitivity readers and the important part they play in the editorial process.

Over the last several months, outlets like the New York Times have started discussions of the use in publishing of what are now being called sensitivity readers—what we here at Lee and Low have called cultural experts. In particular, the New York Times framed their take on the subject as a question of censorship. The current headline reads, “In an Era of Online Outrage, Do Sensitivity Readers Result in Better Books, or Censorship?” which is updated from the print version, “Sensitivity or Censorship? The Vetting of Children’s Books in an Era of Outrage.”

I’m not sure that the update changes the framing, which still implies that what should be a standard part of the editorial process is somehow a form of censorship.

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Social Activism Diverse Book List for Grades PreK-8

Social Activism diverse reading list

LEE & LOW BOOKS is proud to announce the launch of our Social Activism Diverse Reading List for Grades PreK–8!

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