Category Archives: Race

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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Interview: Axie Oh, author of Rebel Seoul (Out Today!)

Today is the release day of Rebel Seoul, the New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut by Axie Oh! When Lee Jaewon is assigned to partner with supersoldier Tera in Neo Seoul’s top weapons development division, he must decide where he stands: with the people his rebel father protected or with the totalitarian government that claims it will end all war.

To celebrate today’s release, we asked author Axie Oh about her writing process, the inspiration behind Rebel Seoul, and her advice to aspiring authors.

Axie Oh Rebel Seoul

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Diversity in Publishing: A Closer Look at LEE & LOW’s Staff

In our earlier blog post, Diversity in Publishing: How Diverse is LEE & LOW’s Authors, Illustrators, and Staff, we shared a mini breakdown of our authors and illustrators as well as our staff. In the past, we’ve received a few questions asking about the percentage of authors/illustrators of color we publish as well as the percentage of people of color on our staff. And we hoped that this post would answer a few of those questions.

After posting the percentage, we received a few more questions: what is the breakdown per department? What is the breakdown by race and ethnicity? How many members of your staff are LGBTQ+ identifying, and/or disabled?

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Diversity in Publishing: How Diverse is LEE & LOW’s Staff, Authors, and Illustrators?

At the beginning of 2015 we conducted our Diversity Baseline Survey to measure the amount of diversity among publishing staff across the industry. The numbers told us something we already knew: publishing suffers from a major lack of diversity, not just in books but also in staff.

But we’ve also received this question: How diverse are the authors and illustrators that Lee & Low publishes? And how diverse is our Lee & Low staff?

As the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the United States, we think this information is important to share. Below you’ll find our demographic breakdown of our authors and illustrators as well as our staff. Continue reading

Classroom Library Assessment: How Culturally Responsive is Your Library?

Teachers, let’s talk about a popular topic across education blogs and Pinterest: the classroom library. A quick search on the Internet results in numerous tips, tricks, and ideas for different ways to configure and organize your classroom library. It’s an intensive and thoughtful process that involves thinking about genre, reading levels, interest levels, grade-level content, categories, and themes.

Unfortunately, we often see classroom libraries that group diverse books into categories that isolate or limit their use. Simply having a book bin labeled “cultures from around the world” or “black history month books” does not mean your library is culturally responsive. We need to think critically about how these books reflect the diversity of our students, their backgrounds, and the communities in which we live while exposing them to new ideas and concepts. Does your classroom library contain books that include main characters of color or with disabilities? Do your books featuring people of color only focus on issues of race, prejudice, or discrimination? Do they go beyond ethnic heritage months? Do they only focus on cultural traditions and foods? Continue reading

The Diversity Gap in Children’s Book Publishing, 2017

Last month, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) released its statistics on the number of children’s books by and about people of color published in 2016. Two years after the founding of We Need Diverse Books, the issue of diversity in children’s books continues to gain traction and media attention; it is the topic of panels, conferences, training sessions, and studies.

But is it all making a difference?

The answer is yes and no: Continue reading

Ten Favorite Diversity-Related Reads from 2016

Now that 2016 is finally coming to a close, we gathered a few of our favorite reads that engaged, entertained, and fascinated us throughout the year.

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Plan Your Month Roundup: November Books

Can you believe it’s almost November? 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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The Power of Story: Rethinking How We Acknowledge Columbus Day

Next Monday is Columbus Day, but in recent years, there’s been a movement to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Columbus Day occupies a dubious spot in our nation’s calendar, ostensibly commemorating both the “discovery” of the Americas by Christopher Columbus and the subsequent destruction and enslavement of countless indigenous people. Today we’re pleased to share this guest post from educator and writer Tami Charles on rethinking how we acknowledge Columbus Day. Continue reading