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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Reading Recovery® Bebop Books Collection for your Classroom Library

Reading Recovery® Bebop Books Levels are in—Just In Time for Back to School Orders!

Lee & Low Books is proud to be the nation’s largest publisher of multicultural children’s books. With the launch of our new Reading Recovery® Bebop Books collection, schools across the country will now be able to bring more equity, inclusion, and diversity into their classroom libraries.

Reading Recovery® is an early intervention program for first-grade children. All texts submitted must go through a rigorous research-based process and only titles of the highest-quality are selected.

We are honored to have our Bebop titles accepted for the book list, and ensure even more access to scores of authentic, culturally responsive, contemporary books at the levels students need.

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The Beauty and Power of Children’s Book Illustrations: Sonia Lynn Sadler Award 2019

The third annual Sonia Lynn Sadler Award (SLS Award) took place on Saturday, April 27th at Salisbury University’s Children’s Book Festival in Salisbury, Maryland. The award honors the legacy of Sonia Lynn Sadler, an artist and children’s book illustrator who passed away in 2013. Sonia illustrated the picture book Seeds of Change and images from that book will be incorporated into a forthcoming chapter book, The Story of Environmentalist Wangari Maathai. Sonia’s powerful scratchboard art continues to inspire young children to wonder and dream. Her illustrations are a mirror, a window, and a door to encourage working together.

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Diverse Summer Reading Recommendations for Grades 6-8

Summer Reading List

We’re closing out our Summer Reading “For Fans Of” series with our last age group, grades 6 to 8! In our last post, we posed some questions that could ask to get kids thinking across their texts to keep their brains energized during the summer. Additional questions and probes are listed below:

  • How did the authors use symbolism in their books? What were some of the symbols in the two books? Did they relate in any way? Why or why not?
  • Did the main characters change over the course of the books? How?
  • What big lesson did you learn from this book? How did that impact you?

See our Diverse Summer Reading List for the full list of titles from grades PreK to grade 8. Continue reading

Meet Lee & Low at ALA 2019!

It’s that time of year again! The annual American Library Association conference is in just a few days and we would love to meet you! If you will be in Washington DC this year, come visit us in booth #1451 where we’ll give away ARCs, bookmarks, posters, postcards, and other free swag!

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Watch the Webinar: LGBTQ+ Children’s Books

Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for our webinar, “LGBTQ+ Children’s Books: A Conversation with Authors.” If you missed it live, or just want to watch it again, here is a recording of the webinar:

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Diverse Summer Reading Recommendations for Grades 3-5

Diverse Summer Reading List

As we continue our “For Fans Of” Summer Reading blog series, we’ll spotlight books for children in grades 3 through 5 in this post. In order to keep kids thinking critically about the books they’re reading during the summer months, it’s great to pose a few questions to engage in a conversation about books in a low-stakes discussion:

  • How were the main characters similar? How were they different?
  • What kinds of problems did the characters face in both of the books? Were any of their problems similar? Why or why not?
  • Would you recommend this book to a friend? What would you tell them about it? Why did you enjoy it?

See our Diverse Summer Reading List for the full list of titles from grades PreK to grade 8.

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How to Critically Select Children’s Books with Representations of Disability Experiences

In this guest blog post, Monica Kleekamp, a PhD candidate in the department of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum at the University of Missouri-Columbia, discusses the importance of inclusive children’s literature and how to critically select texts with regards to representations of disability experiences.

What is inclusive children’s literature? What is it not? Why is it important?

 As students look to the shelves in their classrooms and school libraries, they seek representations of themselves—characters who look, feel, and experience the world in similar ways. The field of children’s literature continues to problematize the ways our bookshelves perpetuate representations of white, cisgender, heterosexual, and middle-class characters. A term often added to the end of this list is “able.”

Inclusive children’s literature that features characters who are either physically and/or intellectually diverse—characters who have been labeled as disabled—remain few and far between. Additionally, those texts that do exist often follow tropes of pity or dehumanization. These texts have also been heavily critiqued for their over-representation of white male characters who access prosthetics. Continue reading

Register for Our Upcoming Webinar: LGBTQ+ Children’s Books

LGBTQ Webinar image

Just in time for Pride Month, join Lee & Low Books for a special free webinar focused on LGBTQ+ books for youth! Join Katie Potter, Lee & Low’s Literacy Specialist, in conversation with Lee & Low authors Kyle Lukoff (When Aidan Became a Brother), Lesléa Newman (Sparkle Boy), and Maya Christina Gonzalez (Call Me Tree/Llámame Árbol), as they discuss the inspiration behind their books and the importance of LGBTQ+ representation in children’s literature.  Continue reading

Upcoming Book Release: Stone River Crossing by Award-Winning Author Tim Tingle

The award-winning picture book Crossing Bok Chitto captured the strength, bravery, and heart of the Choctaw Nation as they helped enslaved people find their way to freedom. Set to be released at the end of this month, Stone River Crossing (Tu Books) by acclaimed Choctaw storyteller Tim Tingle, is the new middle grade expansion that illuminates a snapshot of Native and African American history, reminding readers that the strongest bridge between cultures is friendship.

stone river crossing

Martha Tom knows better than to cross the Bok Chitto River to pick blackberries. The Bok Chitto is the only border between her town in the Choctaw Nation and the slave-owning plantation in Mississippi territory. The slave owners could catch her, too. What was she thinking? But crossing the river brings a surprise friendship with Lil Mo, a boy who is enslaved on the other side. When Lil Mo discovers that his mother is about to be sold and the rest of his family left behind. But Martha Tom has the answer: cross the Bok Chitto and become free.

Crossing to freedom with his family seems impossible with slave catchers roaming, but then there is a miracle—a magical night where things become unseen and souls walk on water. By morning, Lil Mo discovers he has entered a completely new world of tradition, community, and . . . a little magic. But as Lil Mo’s family adjusts to their new life, danger waits just around the corner.

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Exploring Children's Books Through the Lens of Diversity