Tag Archives: children’s books

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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Culturally Responsive Teaching in Third Grade: Going Beyond “The Single Story”

In this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and offer concrete examples and resources. Last month we explored bridging the familiar and unfamiliar in literature discussions for second grade. This month, educator Lindsay Barrett offers guidance on culturally responsive teaching in third grade by going beyond “The Single Story”.

Culturally Responsive Teaching Third Grade

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Book List: 7 Children’s Books for National Bullying Prevention Month

7 books about bullying

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a movement meant to “unite communities around the world to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention.” In this blog post, we gathered titles from our Bullying/Anti-Bullying Collection that feature stories about different experiences with bullying and peer pressure and how to overcome and accept people’s differences. Use these books to start important discussions with children about bullying, including bully prevention, conflict resolution, and the skills needed to navigate these situations.

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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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Book List: 7 Activist Athletes in Children’s Books

Given the current conversation surrounding the role of athletes in regards to politics, some people question whether athletes should be able to voice their opinions on certain matters. But what many people don’t know is that athletes have always been prominent activists whether on the field or off. From Louis Sockalexis to Jim Thorpe, we’re highlighting seven activist athletes who stood up for what they believed in to make the world a better place.

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Upcoming Events: SLJ Day of Dialog and the Brooklyn Book Festival

Lee & Low Books will be at the School Library Journal Day of Dialog and the Brooklyn Book Festival this weekend and we’d love to see you!

We’ll have a table at the Day of Dialog on Friday, September 15 and at the Brooklyn Book Festival (booth #20) on Saturday, September 16. If you’ll be at either, please stop by and say hello! And catch our authors Tony Medina and Emma Otheguy at some great events:

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Where Are They Now?: New Voices Award Authors and Artists Discuss Their Experience and Creative Process

September is here and with the close of summer comes the close of our New Voices Award submissions window on September 30, 2017. It’s also a time when those who have submitted manuscripts—and those still in the process of doing so—may be grappling with some personal questions:

Should I submit my story if I’ve never written for children before?
I’ve always been an artist, but can I be a writer?
What happens to the winner and honor after the award?
Where can I find good advice from someone with experience?

These questions and others like them are not easily addressed in a FAQ page. So to provide this year’s participants with some insight to the contest and creative process, we reached out to former New Voices Award winners, honors, and artists who faced some of these same questions not too long ago. These three accomplished storytellers have forged successful careers as children’s book authors, illustrators, and even author/illustrators. In the following interview, author Paula Yoo (Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds), illustrator Shadra Strickland (Bird and Sunday Shopping) and author/illustrator Don Tate (It Jes’ Happened) share how participating in the New Voices Award helped shape their success.

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Interview: Translating Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad

Released last month, Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad is a picture book biography of José Martí, a renowned political figure and revolutionary who dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty. Known for his leadership in the fight for Cuban independence, Martí is celebrated throughout Latin America. To many Latinos, particularly Cuban Americans, he represents the bridge between the cultures of Latin America and the United States. Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad received five starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews.

For this post, we asked author Emma Otheguy, editor Jessica Echeverria, and translator Adriana Dominguez to take us through the translation process for Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad:

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