What is Culturally Responsive Teaching?

We recognize:

  • Our classrooms today include diverse learners and learning needs
  • There are many initiatives and areas of focus competing for limited classroom time and educators’ attention
  • Some learners need additional supports
  • But with the right tools and support, we at LEE & LOW BOOKS believe all teachers can learn and excel in culturally responsive teaching

But…what is culturally responsive teaching? Continue reading

Teaching the Diverse Narratives of US History

In this guest post, educator and writer Tami Charles presents text- dependent questions and inquiry-based activities for students to practice close reading and critical thinking with the book Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh. 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

Our 8 Favorite Multicultural Books for Kindergarten

Reading books with children at a young age not only helps them be better prepared for school, but it also opens their minds to new cultures and experiences. Exposing children in kindergarten to both “mirror” and “window” books – that is, books in which they can see themselves, and books in which they can learn about others- is the best way to create engaged readers and support social and emotional growth.

Lee & Low Books offers hundreds of great books for kindergarteners! Our books include English, Spanish, and bilingual titles; books about many different cultures; books that span a wide range of subjects and themes; and both fiction and nonfiction. Browse all our books and collections for grades PreK – 2.

While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are eight of our absolute favorite diverse books for kindergarteners!  Continue reading

“The People Shall Continue” by Simon J. Ortiz Returns to Print

Lee & Low Books is thrilled to share that we will be bringing back to print The People Shall Continue, Simon J. Ortiz’s beloved children’s book tracing the history of Native and Indigenous people in North America. The book will be released in paperback in October 2017 in a new 40th Anniversary Special Edition, with updated illustrations and a new afterword by the author. It will also be available in a Spanish translation, simultaneously published.

Continue reading

Interview: Uma Krishnaswami on Citizenship, Culture, and Community

Today is the release day of Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, a middle grade historical novel about nine-year-old Maria Singh who longs to play softball. To celebrate, we interviewed author Uma Krishnaswami to find out more about her writing process and her inspiration behind Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh.

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“Where’s My Story?”: Ideas for Teaching About Diversity in Books

In this guest post, originally posted at EdWeek and reposted here with permission, Philadelphia-based teacher Kathleen Melville shares the “Where’s My Story” project she developed to teach her ninth-grade students about diversity—or the lack thereof—in children’s books.  Continue reading

Submit Your Picture Book Manuscript to the New Voices Award!

New Voices Award Winner sealSummer is right around the corner! That means the eighteenth annual NEW VOICES AWARD is now open for submissions. Established in 2000, the New Voices Award recognizes a picture book manuscript by an unpublished author of color. It was one of the first (and remains one of the only) writing contests specifically designed to help authors of color break into publishing, an industry in which they are still dramatically underrepresented. Continue reading

Meet LEE & LOW BOOKS at the Educational Thought Leaders’ Conference!

Next week we’ll be attending the Educational Thought Leaders’ Conference at Kean University in New Jersey. Will you be there? If so, please stop by to say hello! Continue reading

Illustrator Elisa Chavarri Takes Us Behind the Art of Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris

Released last fall from LEE & LOW BOOKS, Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris is a beautiful story of recycling, conservation, and family tradition. Ixchel wants to follow in the long tradition of weaving on backstrap looms, just as her mother, grandmother, and most Mayan women have done for more than two thousand years. But Ixchel’s mother is too busy preparing her weavings for the market. Ixchel first tries weaving with a variety of materials, but then she  notices the colorful plastic bags littering her neighborhood and suddenly has an idea that ends up benefitting everyone.

We asked illustrator Elisa Chavarri to take us behind the scenes of her art process bringing Rainbow Weaver to life: Continue reading

Exploring Children's Books Through the Lens of Diversity