Category Archives: Diversity, Race, and Representation

Conversation about diversity, multiculturalism, race, and inclusion.

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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Book Pairing: In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson + Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

Step Up to the Plate, Maria SinghIn this blog post, our Literacy Specialist, Katie Potter, discusses how educators can use texts, like Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, to keep lessons fresh and engaging.

Out with the old, in with the new? How about—supplement and complement the old with the new?

When I read our middle grade novel, Step up to the Plate, Maria SinghI was immediately reminded of In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson that I read with my fifth-grade literature circle in NYC (and in middle school almost 20 years ago!) and the challenges teachers face to make required core texts fresh and relevant to students, especially when a text (no matter how many awards) may “feel” old to students.

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Watch the Webinar: Using Diverse Books to Support Social and Emotional Learning

Thank you to everyone who joined us this week for our webinar, “Using Diverse Books to Support Social and Emotional Learning”! If you missed it live (or just want to watch again), here is a recording of the webinar:

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Announcing Our 2017 New Voices Award Winner and Honor

New Voices Award sealNew York, NY—January 18, 2018—LEE & LOW BOOKS is proud to announce that Maham Khwaja of West Hollywood, California is the winner of the company’s eighteenth annual New Voices Award. Her picture-book manuscript, The Journey, is a story of a young girl and her parents who are forced to flee their home country when violence threatens their community. In a series of beautiful, reflective poems, the protagonist describes her uncertainties as a refugee navigating a world that is not always welcoming, and her hopes for finding a new home. Continue reading

Press Release: Rachel Yung-Hsin Wang Receives 2017 Lee & Low and Friends Scholarship from Simmons College

Lee & Low and Friends Scholarship at Simmons College

Simmons College Graduate Programs in Children’s Literature announced that Amherst resident Rachel Yung-Hsin Wang is the 2017 recipient of the LEE & LOW….and Friends Scholarship that provides opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to participate in Simmons’ prestigious children’s literature graduate program.

The scholarship fund was created in 2015 through a partnership between LEE & LOW BOOKS and Simmons College as a pathway for underrepresented students to enter the field of children’s literature. LEE & LOW BOOKS is the largest multicultural book publisher in the country and a leader in the effort to diversify the publishing industry. Simmons shares this goal and is committed to creating opportunities for all students so that a multiplicity of voices can be heard in the publishing industry and in books published for children and young adults. Continue reading

Culturally Responsive Approaches to Goal Setting With Students

Goal Setting With StudentsIn this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and offer concrete examples and resources. In November, we explored discussing Thanksgiving in the classroomToday, educator Lindsay Barrett offers a culturally responsive approach to goal setting with students to start off the new year. Continue reading

Classroom Guide for I Am Alfonso Jones

I Am Alfonso JonesLast month was the release of I Am Alfonso Jones written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings. In this book, Alfonso Jones can’t wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school’s hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.

When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.

Accompanying our title is the I Am Alfonso Jones teacher’s guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions of race, racism, and social justice in the classroom. 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 gathered a few prereading questions, discussion questions, activities, and resources from the I Am Alfonso Jones teacher’s guide.

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Native American Heritage Month: Our Favorite Children’s Books by Native Authors

November is Native American Heritage Month! Native American Heritage Month evolved from the efforts of various individuals at the turn of the 20th century who tried to get a day of recognition for Native Americans. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a resolution that appointed November as Native American Heritage Month. You can learn more about Native American Heritage Month here.

For many years, Native people were silenced and their stories were set aside, hidden, or drowned out. That’s why it’s especially important to read stories about Native characters, told in Native voices. Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with this updated list of books by Native writers: Continue reading

A Culturally Responsive Approach to Discussing Thanksgiving 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. Last week we explored going beyond “The Single Story”Today, educator Lindsay Barrett offers a culturally responsive approach to discussing Thanksgiving in the Classroom. 

Culturally Responsive Teaching Thanksgiving

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