Category Archives: Musings & Ponderings

Interview: Author LaTisha Redding on Immigration, Grief, and the Healing Power of Art

In Calling the Water Drum, Henri and his parents leave their homeland, Haiti, after they receive an invitation from an uncle to come to New York City. As they attempt to flee Haiti in a boat, Henri loses his parents out at sea, and after his loss can only communicate with the outside world through playing his drum. In this interview, author LaTisha Redding discusses how she tackles heavy themes in children’s books and what inspired her to write Henri’s story.

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Celebrating 25 Books Over 25 Years: Summoning the Phoenix

Lee and Low 25th anniversaryLEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and 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 as well, as hear from the authors and illustrators.

Today we are highlighting Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments, an award-winning title from our Shen’s Books imprint, written by Emily Jiang and illustrated by April Chu. In 2013, we acquired the California-based Shen’s Books, which emphasizes cultural diversity and tolerance, with a focus on introducing children to the cultures of Asia. Continue reading

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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Interview: Donna Janell Bowman on the Amazing William “Doc” and Jim Key

Step Right Up cover imageStep Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness is a biography of William “Doc” Key, a formerly enslaved man and self-trained veterinarian who taught his horse, Jim, to read, write, and do math. Together they became a famous traveling performance act and proponents for the humane treatment of animals around the turn of the twentieth century. In this interview, author Donna Janell Bowman discusses the power of Doc and Jim Key’s message of kindness and what inspired her to write about one of the most famous performing duos in the country.

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Democracy in Action Book List

Election Day is just around the corner, meaning now is the time to let your voice be heard! We wanted to share these five titles that demonstrate everyday citizens of the United States taking action to create change for the better in their societies, showing that you can make a difference for people now and for future generations to come.

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Plan Your Month Roundup: November Books

The autumn season is officially underway which means the holidays are right around the corner! Plan out your month with these book recommendations and resources to get you ready for the holiday season!
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What Diversity Means to Me: Lee & Low Staff Share Their Thoughts

Thanks to movements such as We Need Diverse Books, #1000BlackGirlBooks, and vocal authors, writers, and readers, the conversation regarding diversity in children’s books has gained more traction. Studies such as the Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s Publishing Statistics on Children’s Books and our Diversity Baseline Survey have helped to supplement these conversations, highlighting the need for more representation in children’s literature. We’re starting to see more stories that represent people from different backgrounds and different ways of life, and stories with protagonists and heroes that finally look like us. Here at LEE & LOW BOOKS, our mission is to publish children’s books about everyone and for everyone. So today, LEE & LOW staff share the impact and importance of diversity and what diversity truly means to them.

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Celebrating 25 Books Over 25 Years: Yummy

Lee and Low 25th anniversaryLEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and 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. Today, we are featuring our award-winning graphic novel, Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty. Continue reading

When Politics Goes Low, Children’s Books Go High

Well, we have finally reached the day after the last presidential debate. It’s a slow crawl to the finish line after the longest election cycle in the history of election cycles. Just a few more weeks, friends! No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, you probably feel a little (or a lot) disappointed with how our sacred democratic process has devolved into one long reality TV episode (and this one ain’t winning no Emmys!). Continue reading

An Alternative History Book List

This week, in acknowledgement of Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ 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 would like to share eight of our alternative history titles. Continue reading