The Importance of Diversity in Leveled Readers & Reading Recovery®

In this guest blog post, Dr. Lisa Pinkerton, the Marie Clay Endowed Chair in Reading Recovery® and Early Literacy at The Ohio State University, discusses the importance of expanding diverse stories for young readers in Reading Recovery®

I have long admired Lee & Low Books and their mission to publish contemporary diverse stories that all children can enjoy. As a Reading Recovery® trainer, imagine my delight to discover that Lee & Low Books is now on the RRCNA booklist!

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Interview: Author Sherry Thomas on Mulan and Writing The Magnolia Sword

magnolia swordReleased last week, The Magnolia Sword is the first young adult novel to reimagine the ballad of Mulan. We interviewed bestselling author Sherry Thomas on what piqued her interest in writing about Mulan and the different iterations of the beloved woman warrior in pop culture.

What was your approach when researching for The Magnolia Sword? What resources or organizations did you turn to while writing the story? 

Sherry Thomas: I consulted everything from reddit threads to academic publications, along with various sources in the Chinese language, including my personal copy of Chinese Idiomatic Expressions Dictionary.

Northern Wei, the time period typically agreed on for the setting of the Ballad of Mulan, is not a major dynasty. So I would get whole books on food, clothing, etc. in ancient China and be able to use only a few pages. (Thank goodness for interlibrary loans!)

Another important source of research is actually Google Earth, which allows me to investigate the actual shape and elevation of the terrain that I would put my character into, and see photos people have taken of the general area. Continue reading

Free Upcoming Webinar: Using Children’s Books to Approach Trauma-Informed Education

Using Children's Books to Approach Trauma-Informed Education

Join us for our critical back to school webinar about Trauma-Informed Education in time for the release of our new Trauma-Informed Education Book List on Wednesday, September 25 at 4:00 PM ET. Katie Potter, Lee & Low’s Literacy Specialist, and Andrea Adomako, an educator who has worked with elementary, middle and high school students, a PhD student in African American Studies, and a Mellon Cluster Fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University, will discuss different books and activities that approach various kinds of trauma.

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Watch the Webinar: Lee & Low Books 2019 Showcase

Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for our webinar, “Lee & Low Books 2019 Showcase.” Whether you’re a parent, teacher, librarian, or bookseller, this webinar will help you discover great new books to diversify your shelves:

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Social Activism Books for Fifth 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 fifth grade below and for more social activism titles, check out our full printable Social Activism Diverse Reading List!

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Interview: Author Bethany Hegedus on Writing Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya AngelouReleased in time for the 50th anniversary of the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is one of our newest titles Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by author Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Tonya Engel. In this interview, author Bethany Hegedus talks about her newest title Rise!, how she felt to receive a foreword from Dr. Maya Angelou’s grandson Colin Johnson, and her writing and research process.

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Free Upcoming Webinar: Lee & Low Books 2019 Showcase

Join Lee & Low Books editors for a showcase of our 2019 books! Whether you’re a parent, teacher, librarian, or bookseller, this webinar will help you discover great new books to diversify your shelves. Catch newly released spring titles that you won’t want to miss, and get a sneak peek at our fall books. This one-hour webinar will include picture books, middle grade, and young adult titles. Continue reading

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the PeopleWe’re excited to celebrate the upcoming release of Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou, the first in-depth picture book biography of Maya Angelou, ahead of the fiftieth anniversary celebration of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarian–Maya Angelou’s life was marked by transformation and perseverance. In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethany Hegedus lyrically traces Maya’s life from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas, through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of the people.

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Social Activism Books for Fourth 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 fourth grade below and for more social activism titles, check out our full printable Social Activism Diverse Reading List!

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Planting Seeds: The Mangrove Tree Preschool

the mangrove treeLast November, shortly after receiving the paperback version of the Jane Addams award-winning The Mangrove Tree, Susan Roth received an unexpected email. It was from Fathima Toprawalla, who has been a director of a Montessori preschool in Calgary, Canada for the last six years. Last year Fathima decided to create a brand-new preschool with the intention that each student would be able to grow a plant or tree of his or her own.  And her special wish was to name her new school The Mangrove Tree Preschool, for the book that she found inspirational for herself as well as for her young students.

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Exploring Children's Books Through the Lens of Diversity