Category Archives: Diversity in YA

Discussion and analysis of diversity in young adult books.

Read Bryan Stevenson’s Foreword for I AM ALFONSO JONES

I AM ALFONSO JONES cover imageToday, we are proud to release I Am Alfonso Jones, a heartbreaking exploration of the Black Lives Matter movement and the impact that police brutality has on families, young people, and communities. Written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings, this title offers a powerful entry to discussion as well as essential historical context to today’s discussions on police brutality. Below is the powerful foreword by Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy.

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Authors of Color: Submit Your Manuscript to Our Writing Contests

Summer is officially here, which means lots of warm weather, longer days, and receiving submissions for our New Voices and New Visions Awards! Our annual awards encourage writers of color to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. As the number of diverse books increases, LEE & LOW BOOKS is dedicated to increasing the number of authors of color as well. Continue reading

Press Release: Lee & Low Books Announces New Visions Award Winners; Partners With First Book and NEA Foundation

New Visions Award WinnerNew York, NY—Children’s book publisher LEE & LOW BOOKS is thrilled to announce the results of its fourth annual New Visions Award for new authors of color. This year, in partnership with First Book and the NEA Foundation, the award expanded to two winning manuscripts: Operation Yellowbird, by Ming and Wah Chen, and The Wind Called My Name, by Mary Louise Sanchez.

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Finding the Lost Voices with YA Historical Fiction

pia ceres summer internPia Ceres was LEE & LOW’s summer intern. She is a recipient of the We Need Diverse Books Internship Program grant. She’s a senior at Brown University, where she studies Education & Comparative Literature, with a focus in French literature. When she’s not reading, you can find her watching classic horror movies from under a blanket, strumming pop songs on her ukulele, and listening to her grandparents’ stories about the Philippines. In this blog post, she asks the question “can fiction be a pathway to fact?” while looking at YA historical fiction.

High school students in Providence, Rhode Island, rallied in January to launch a campaign called #OurHistoryMatters, advocating for greater representation of the contributions of people of color in history curricula. Like many urban school districts, Providence serves a diverse student body where 74% of students identify as Black or Latino and 17% as Native American. Yet when student activists studied an American history textbook used in their school district, they reported that out of nearly 2,000 pages, fewer than 100 mentioned people of color.

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Guadalupe García McCall: The History That’s Not in Textbooks

This week, in acknowledgement of Columbus Day/Indigenous Guest BloggerPeoples’ Day, we are offering a series of blog posts that look at pieces of history that have been hidden, silenced, altered, or swept under the rug. Today we share author Guadalupe García McCall’s reflections on her discovery of a startling piece of Texas history. This piece was originally published as the Author’s Note in her new novel, Shame the Stars. Continue reading

Celebrating 25 Books from 25 Years: Chess Rumble

LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! To recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today and hear from the authors and illustrators.

Today, we are celebrating Chess Rumble, which explores the ways this strategic game empowers young people with the skills they need to anticipate and calculate their moves through life. Continue reading

#DVpit is Back on October 5th and 6th!

After the success of the first #DVpit event in April, #DVpit is back for another round of Twitter pitching fun on October 5th and 6th! If you’re unfamiliar with this event, #DVpit is a Twitter pitch contest created to showcase pitches by marginalized voices and help connect them to agents and editors.

While the number of diverse books is increasing, the number of new diverse authors entering the field remains low. Significant barriers remain for authors of color, Native authors, disabled authors, and other marginalized voices. With that in mind, we are excited to share information on this special Twitter event! The information below is cross-posted with permission from literary agent Beth Phelan’s #DVpit website.

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Interview: Kimberly Reid, author of PERFECT LIARS

kimberly reidSometimes to save the day, a good girl’s gotta be bad.

White Collar meets Oceans 11 in our new YA novel, Perfect Liars. We interviewed author Kimberly Reid on how to craft the perfect heist novel, her writing tips, and breaking stereotypes. Continue reading

Cover Reveal: SHAME THE STARS

Shame the Stars by Pura Belpré Award-winning author Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Summer of the Mariposas, Under the Mesquite) is a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet set against the Mexican Revolution in 1915 Texas.

Shame the Stars is set to be released Fall 2016! We’re excited to share a first look at the cover with you today. Continue reading

Using “Under the Mesquite” to Help Medical Students Gain Cultural Awareness

We are always excited to hear about uniquGuest Bloggere ways in which our books are being used, and were thrilled to come across this review of Under the Mesquite that outlines how to use the book in a very special way: to help medical students gain cultural awareness and insight into the experiences of patients from different backgrounds. Author Mark Kuczewski kindly gave us permission to cross-post this review from the Reflective MedEd blog.

Helping medical students to gain cultural awareness and insight into the experience of patients and families from backgrounds different than their own is no small task.  And the search for poignant materials that are easily fit within the demanding environment of a medical school curriculum is never-ending. The good news is that I can unequivocally recommend Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Lee & Low Books, 2011). This narrative will help students to gain insight into the meaning of illness within families, especially within the context of a particular contemporary newly-arrived Mexican-American family…

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