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
Today is the official release of Under My Hijab, the new picture book written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel. With cheerful rhyming text and charming illustrations, Under My Hijab provides a friendly introduction to hijabs for all readers, and celebrates the many Muslim women and girls who choose to wear them.
New year, new goals! If one of your professional goals this year is to add more diversity to your school or classroom library, we’re here with some inspiration to get you started. In the following blog post, originally posted at the Center for the Collaborative Classroom and cross-posted with permission, our Director of Curriculum and Literacy Strategy Jill Eisenberg shares tips and suggestions for how to move forward without becoming overwhelmed: Continue reading
Five years ago, Lee & Low Books launched the first Diversity Baseline Survey to examine four aspects of diversity among publishing industry staff: race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability. Administered to over 13,000 publishing employees at thirty-five different publishing companies and eight major review journals, the Diversity Baseline Survey inspired many conversations and initiatives to help build a more inclusive book industry.
Five years later, it is time for us to redo the survey to see what has changed. We have big plans this time, including a Kickstarter (launching early 2019) to raise money to hire a professional survey/evaluation company and an initiative to include literary agents, who play an important role in gatekeeping.
We are putting an open call out to publishing houses and literary agencies of all sizes: will you participate in 2019?
Books make the best gifts! With the holiday season in full swing, we get a lot of questions about the best books to gift to young readers. If you’re looking for vibrant, beautiful, authentically diverse books for the children in your life, keep reading for our suggestions for ages 0-5 and stay tuned for the other entries in this series when we’ll cover additional age ranges! Continue reading
Today we celebrate the release of The Wind Called My Name, the new middle grade historical fiction novel by Mary Louise Sanchez! Set in Wyoming during the Great Depression, The Wind Called My Name is a frontier novel told from a Latinx perspective, based on the author’s own family experiences. Here’s what critics and early readers have said:
“The Wind Called My Name opens minds, warms the heart, and renews our faith in one another.” –Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Medal-winning author of Moon Over Manifest and Navigating Early
“A hopeful historical story with a strong heroine.” —Booklist
“A beautifully touching story of family, culture, and resiliency.” –Christina Diaz Gonzalez, author of The Red Umbrella and Moving Target Continue reading
Last night, PBS announced the winner of their Great American Read, a poll to determine “America’s Favorite Novel.” The winner was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a story about racial tolerance that received 242,275 votes from a total of nearly 4.3 million cast.
According to PBS, the top 100 books were chosen by using the public opinion polling service “YouGov” to conduct “a demographically and statistically representative survey asking Americans to name their most-loved novel.” Once the Top 100 list was established, voting was opened to everyone to determine the winner and rankings of all 100 titles.
Given our focus on diversity and inclusion, we wondered how representative the list looked when compared to America’s demographics. Were authors of color represented? How did their books fare in the poll? Continue reading
This month, Lee & Low Books will mark the 25th anniversary of its first book release, Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki and illustrated by Dom Lee. With over half a million copies sold, this groundbreaking picture book about a young boy playing baseball in a Japanese American Internment Camp continues to be one of the company’s most popular and bestselling books.
In this guest post, New York Public Library Head of Teen Services Elisa Garcia shares some of her favorite titles for fostering conversation and dialogue during Hispanic Heritage Month and BEYOND. Welcome, Elisa!
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated September 15- October 15. While it is great that these days are solely dedicated to celebrating and highlighting Hispanic Heritage, in public libraries part of our mission is to ensure that our collections reflect the diversity of our users and that culture and diversity are celebrated year round! The following recommended titles are valuable additions to our library collection that not only celebrate the diversity of Latinx culture, but can be used year-round to celebrate culture and diversity of all peoples. Continue reading