2020 Diverse Summer Reading List

Let’s kick off summer with our engaging, printable Diverse Summer Reading List that will get all kids engaged in reading! Our list includes both fiction and nonfiction, bilingual Spanish/English titles, and a diverse range of cultures—in other words, the right book for every reader! You can find the full Summer Reading collection here.

Want to freshen up your Summer Reading list, but not sure where to begin? Keep reading for some of our favorite pairings of popular books with our Lee & Low picks!

Grades PreK-2

For fans of Mommy’s Khimar: Try Under My Hijab

In Under My Hijab, Hena Khan invites young readers to understand and appreciate the hijab and the Muslim women who decide to wear it. A perfect book for both mirror and window readers.

For fans of Peter’s Chair: A Space For Me

If you have readers dealing with tricky sibling dynamics, check out A Space for Me. Alex needs a break from his pesky little brother, Lucas, so he creates a space for himself, but soon realizes that he and Lucas need time together too. Discuss the importance of kindness and problem solving with these two books.

Grades 3-5

For fans of Merci Suárez Changes Gears: try Julieta and the Diamond Enigma

Readers of Merci Suarez Changes Gears will delight in this smart young middle-grade mystery about a diamond gone missing from the Louvre and the sweet and spunky girl who cracks the case. Readers will be on the edge of their seats with this page-turning, suspenseful novel!

For fans of I Am Not a Number: try Indian No More

Similar themes and issues are presented in both books about termination of tribal nations and identities in the United States. Indian No More is the first novel for young readers about tribal termination in American history and is also a heartwarming story of interracial friendships during the Civil Rights movement.

Grades 6-8

For fans of Love Sugar Magic: try On These Magic Shores

Leonora in Love Sugar Magic and Minerva in On These Magic Shores figure out how to navigate the magic in their lives with creativity, curiosity, resourcefulness. Lovers of magical realism and a splash of fantasy will be sure to enjoy On These Magic Shores. Minerva must take care of her sisters after her mother’s disappearance in this magical #ownvoices middle grade story that has touches of Peter Pan through a culturally responsive lens.

For fans of Flame in the Mist: try The Magnolia Sword

Bestselling author Sherry Thomas weaves an enthralling #ownvoices retelling of a story that has thrilled readers for centuries: the ballad of Mulan. Readers can compare and contrast the experiences of both Mulan and Mariko who have to disguise themselves as men in order to defend their families’ honor. Check out the live action Mulan movie this summer, too!

Download, print, and share the 2020 Diverse Summer Reading List Grades PreK-8 here.

What other diverse books do your kids enjoy? Leave comments below to share! Follow or tag us @leeandlow to show us your summer reads!

Lee & Low at the ALA 2020 Virtual Conference

Even though the American Library Association conference has gone virtual this year, we wouldn’t want you to miss out on our offerings! View our catalog, request digital copies of our newest titles, enter our raffle for a chance to win a bundle of Lee & Low books, and check out our virtual resources for librarians, educators, and teachers alike below.

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How to Host a Successful Virtual Author Visit

Virtual Author Visits

The number of authors, illustrators, and author/illustrators who do virtual author visits to schools are increasing in number all the time. A virtual author visit is a visit by an author to a school or classroom via electronic means: Zoom, Skype, or another such platform.  While a virtual author visit may not be as effective as a live author visit, it can still inspire student participation and reading motivation after the visit is over, with the key to the success of the visit held in the hand of the host – be it teacher, librarian, counselor, or other*.  The process is very similar to scheduling an in-person visit to the school, however there are some distinct differences and challenges.

If you are considering a virtual author visit for your school, library, or bookstore, join us next week for a free webinar on best practices! The panel of experts includes author Traci Sorell (Indian No More, Lee and Low Books, c2019), Dr. Christina Dorr (Media Specialist, Weaver Middle School, Hilliard, OH) and Stephanie Bange (Author Events Coordinator, Lee and Low Books).  They will share their expertise and will be on hand to walk you through the process.

Date: Wednesday, June 17
Time: 3pm ET/noon PT
Register here. If you cannot attend live, feel free to register for a link to the recording.

Read on for tips and guidance on how to set up a Virtual Author Event from our Events Coordinator, Stephanie: Continue reading

10 Fun and Joyful Black Children’s Books

It has been encouraging to see so many books and resources shared over the last few weeks to help all of us gain a deeper level of understanding about modern racism in America.

However, in this moment when anti-racism books are flying off the shelves, please don’t forget that  children of color also deserve to see themselves thrive, to experience the joy of being a part of a loving community, and to not be stuck in a cycle of oppressive narratives that can shape how others view them.

Here are 10 joyful children’s books featuring Black characters to add to your shelves now: Continue reading

Lee & Low Books Statement on Racial Injustice

At this difficult and painful moment for our country, Lee & Low Books condemns the ongoing state-sanctioned violence towards Black people across the nation. We are in solidarity with Black communities and everyone working to protect Black lives. Continue reading

Watch the Panel: Educational Resources to Elevate Student Voice & Identity

Join us virtually for this wonderful panel conversation, hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education Equity & Inclusion Fellows and recorded on May 14, 2020. Lee & Low Educational Sales Manager Verónica Labarca and Kimm Topping, Harvard GSE Ed.M. 2020, discuss equity issues in the children’s book publishing industry and educational resources to elevate student voice and identity:

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Interview: New Visions Award Winner Tracy Occomy Crowder

Recently, we announced that Tracy Occomy Crowder has won the seventh annual New Visions Award for her manuscript, Montgomery and the Case of the Golden Key. In this blog post, we ask Tracy about her inspiration behind her winning manuscript and her writing experience.

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Lee & Low Books Announces 2020 New Visions Award Winner

After this week’s sad news about our co-founder, we are happy to be able to share some happy news to end the week!

Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, is thrilled to announce the results of its seventh annual New Visions Award for new authors of color. This year, Tracy Occomy Crowder has won the New Visions Award for her manuscript, Montgomery and the Case of the Golden Key.

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Remembering Our Co-Founder, Thomas Low

Tom Low headshot

With deep sadness, Lee & Low Books announces the passing of co-founder and CEO Tom Low. Tom passed peacefully at home, surrounded by family. His youngest son, Lee & Low president and co-owner Craig Low, confirmed the cause was cancer. An obituary can be found on Publishers Weekly.

Tom co-founded Lee & Low Books in 1991 with Philip Lee, after a successful career running his own temporary personnel agency. Both Tom and Philip were dismayed by the lack of multicultural literature for children, and felt strongly that there was a business opportunity for a publisher to address that gap. Continue reading

Tea Time Talk: Author/Illustrator Christy Hale and Editor-at-Large Louise May

Tea Time Talks

Time for our next Tea Time Talk! Brew yourself a cup of tea, settle down in your most comfortable chair, and join us for our Tea Time Talk with our authors and editors!

In these short, casual conversations, get a behind-the-scenes look at our publishing process as our Lee & Low editors share a (virtual) cup of tea with one of our authors. Hear them describe the initial inspiration and the development process, discuss questions that came up during the editing, and reflect on decisions they made.

For this Tea Time Talk, award-winning author/illustrator Christy Hale will be in conversation with Editor-at-Large Louise May about Christy’s book Todos iguales/All Equal.

Register here. You can join us live today at 2pm ET, or register for a link to watch the recording later!

Past Tea Time Talk Recordings:

Exploring Children's Books Through the Lens of Diversity