Interview: Karen Leggett Abouraya and Susan L. Roth on Malala Yousafzai and Other Women Who Inspire Them

Released this past January in both English and Spanish, Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words is the picture book biography of the amazing Nobel Peace Prize winner and brave, outspoken girl who continues to fight for the millions of children worldwide who are not able to go to school. In this interview for Women’s History Month, we chatted with author Karen Leggett Abouraya and illustrator Susan L.  Roth about their inspiration for the book and the women they look up to:

malala yousafzai covers

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Diverse Books for Social Emotional Learning in Grade 1

Social and Emotional Learning in Grade 1

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a hot topic, but it’s certainly not new. Skills like empathy, cultivating and maintaining positive relationships, recognizing and managing emotions, problem solving, approaching tasks with grit and perseverance, and taking on others’ perspectives have always, and will always, be crucial to kids’ success. Research shared by CASEL reports that SEL programs lead to “immediate improvements in mental health, social skills, and academic achievement,” and “up to 18 years later, students exposed to SEL in school continue to do better than their peers on a number of indicators: positive social behaviors and attitudes, skills such as empathy and teamwork, and academics.” SEL is certainly worthy of time and attention from those who support children’s development.

Books are valuable tools for guiding conversations about SEL topics. Children can examine and learn from characters’ actions and experiences and relate them to their own. Of course, book selection is key. When kids see both themselves and others in diverse books, it says, “You matter. Reflect on your experiences.” and “Others matter. Listen and learn.” Therein lies the heart of SEL. 

As students grow and change, so do their social emotional learning needs. Linking diverse books to SEL goals and challenges across different ages is a powerful way to support students as they navigate each developmental stage. This blog series, written by educator Lindsay Barrett, explores how diverse books can be used to support social emotional learning at different grade levels. Continue reading

Lee & Low Books Announces 2019 New Visions Award Winner and Honor

New York, NY—Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, is thrilled to announce the results of its sixth annual New Visions Award for new authors of color. This year, Monica Zepeda has won the New Visions Award for her manuscript, Boys of the Beast. Michelle Jones Coles’ manuscript Woke received the New Visions Award Honor.

Established to increase the number of authors of color writing for children and teens, the New Visions Award is given to a middle grade or young adult manuscript by a new author of color or Native author. Winners receive a cash prize and a publishing contract with Lee & Low Books, a children’s book publisher specializing in diversity. Previous winners include Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani, named one of the Best Books of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, and Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar, named a Notable Social Studies Trade Book.

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Lee & Low Books in Chicago and California

We’ll be out and about over the next several days at the ASCD and CABE conferences – see below for more information and, if you’ll be at either one, please come see us!

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Social Activism Books for First Grade

Books can encourage kids of all ages to enact change in their communities. Because it’s never too early to make a difference, we’ll be sharing a list of social activism books for each grade level. Check out our social activism book roundup for first grade below and for more social activism titles, check out our full printable Social Activism Diverse Reading List!

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Tackling Islamophobia with Children’s Literature

Gauri Manglik and Sadaf Siddique, co-founders of the South Asian book blog KitaabWorld, wrote this guest post on how to tackle Islamophobia with children’s literature.

kitaab world books

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Fall Sneak Peek: A New Picture Book Biography of Maya Angelou

We couldn’t let Black History Month go by without sharing one of our most anticipated books of Fall 2019: Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya AngelouWritten by award-winning biographer Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by fine artist Tonya Engel, Rise! will be the first in-depth picture book biography of Dr. Angelou and will be published ahead of the fiftieth anniversary celebration of Angelou’s masterpiece, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Continue reading

Social Activism Books for Kindergarten

Books can encourage kids of all ages to enact change in their communities. Because it’s never too early to make a difference, each month we’ll be sharing a list of social activism books for each grade level starting with Kindergarten. Check out our social activism book roundup below, and for more social activism titles, check out our full printable Social Activism Diverse Reading List! Continue reading

Illustrator Aaliya Jaleel Takes Us Behind the Art of ‘Under My Hijab’

Released earlier this month, Under My Hijab is a book that provides a friendly introduction to hijabs for all readers, and celebrates the many Muslim women and girls who choose to wear them. Debut illustrator Aaliya Jaleel took us behind the scenes of her creative process. Read on for more!

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Using Diverse Books to Support Social and Emotional Learning in Kindergarten

Social and Emotional Learning in Kindergarten

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a hot topic, but it’s certainly not new. Skills like empathy, cultivating and maintaining positive relationships, recognizing and managing emotions, problem solving, approaching tasks with grit and perseverance, and taking on others’ perspectives have always, and will always, be crucial to kids’ success. Research shared by CASEL reports that SEL programs lead to “immediate improvements in mental health, social skills, and academic achievement,” and “up to 18 years later, students exposed to SEL in school continue to do better than their peers on a number of indicators: positive social behaviors and attitudes, skills such as empathy and teamwork, and academics.” SEL is certainly worthy of time and attention from those who support children’s development.

Books are valuable tools for guiding conversations about SEL topics. Children can examine and learn from characters’ actions and experiences and relate them to their own. Of course, book selection is key. When kids see both themselves and others in diverse books, it says, “You matter. Reflect on your experiences.” and “Others matter. Listen and learn.” Therein lies the heart of SEL. 

As students grow and change, so do their social emotional learning needs. Linking diverse books to SEL goals and challenges across different ages is a powerful way to support students as they navigate each developmental stage. This blog series explores how diverse books can be used to support social emotional learning at different grade levels. Continue reading

Exploring Children's Books Through the Lens of Diversity