All posts by keilinh

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!

under my hijab cover Continue reading

Tackling the Challenges of Implementing Diverse Libraries at Your School

implementing a diverse library

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:

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Guided Reading with English Language Learners in Kindergarten

Jen Serravallo #5Do you work with English Language Learners or have English Language Learners in your classroom? Whether your classroom has only a few ELLs or a majority, it’s critical to think about different strategies and skills that ELLs need to engage with books as they’re starting to read in kindergarten.

It’s also essential that your classroom library has authentic and culturally relevant texts in both English and Spanish so that all readers can have texts that fit their needs and interests. To get started, we recommend evaluating your classroom library. Our Classroom Library Questionnaire is a tool that can help you analyze the books in your library and determine where there are strengths and gaps in diversity.

Read on to find out different skills that you can teach ELLs when they’re reading at levels A, B, and C. Continue reading

10 Great Diverse Books for Preschoolers

Reading books with preschool-age children not only helps them be better prepared for school, but it also opens their minds to new cultures and experiences. Exposing children early to both “mirror” and “window” books – that is, books in which they can see themselves, and books in which they can learn about others- is the best way to create engaged readers and support social and emotional growth.

Lee & Low Books offers hundreds of great books for preschoolers. Our books include English, Spanish, and bilingual titles; books about many different cultures; books that span a wide range of subjects and themes; and both fiction and nonfiction. Browse our preschool collections to see what we offer.

10 Diverse Books for Preschoolers

While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are 10 of our absolute favorite diverse books for preschoolers! Continue reading

Reading Sight Words Automatically and Accurately

Reading Conferences #4

In the fourth post of our Reading Conferences with Beginning Readers blog series, renowned literacy expert Jennifer Serravallo shares how to read sight words automatically and accurately. This post is taken from our free, downloadable “Success Starts Early: Reading Conferences with Your Beginning Readers” guide.

What are sight words and why are they important?

Sight words are words that children have learned to recognize without having to decode. Sight words are some of the most frequently used words in English and some of the first words early readers learn to recognize on sight and read. Level A, B, and C books are filled with these familiar words. When children read books at these levels, they should be able to recognize the words they have learned and read them automatically. Continue reading

An Interview with Award-Winning YA Author Guadalupe García McCall

guadalupe garcia mccallAuthor Guadalupe García McCall’s debut Under the Mesquite came out seven years ago, but she has continued to take the young adult world by storm, going on to win the Pura Belpré Award for Under the Mesquite; winning multiple awards for her magical Mexican-American retelling of The OdysseySummer of the Mariposas; and earning wide acclaim for Shame the Stars, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set during the Mexican Revolution.

Released this year, Guadalupe García McCall once again highlights a story that reflects her Mexican heritage and the rich history of Mexico with All the Stars Denied, a companion novel to Shame the Stars. We interviewed her to talk about this latest title as well as her writing process.  Continue reading

Authors Guadalupe García McCall and David Bowles on the Mexicanx Initiative at WorldCon

Each year, WorldCon (the World Science Fiction Convention) gathers fans and creators of science fiction and fantasy. Among many things that happen at WorldCon is the awarding of the Hugos, something like the Oscars for speculative fiction. The first convention took place in New York City in 1939, and every year after, it has been held in a different city, organized by volunteers. In 2018, Worldcon 76 was held in San Jose, California.

Now, the thing to remember is that people of color—especially Latinx folx—have been largely absent from WorldCon during its 76 years. But this year, one of the guests of honor was illustrator John Picacio, the first Mexican American to win a Hugo (and first to serve as MC). He wanted to make sure Mexicans and Mexican Americans would be there in significant numbers.

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Most of the Mexicanx Initiative takes the stage at the beginning of WorldCon.

So John founded the Mexicanx Initiative, at first intending to sponsor just a couple of key creators. But when he announced it, a dozen or so movers and shakers in the world of SF/F stepped up to contribute, and before long there was enough support to bring FIFTY Mexicanx writers, illustrators, megafans, etc. Guadalupe García McCall and David Bowles were invited to be part of this stellar group. They were placed on panels, brought into the spotlight, allowed to stand on the stage in solidarity with Dreamers and refugees.

It was a gamechanging moment.

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Illustrator Ken Min Takes Us Behind the Art of Benji, the Bad Day, and Me

Released earlier this month, Benji, the Bad Day, and Me is about one of the rottenest, worst days that Sammy has ever had. His little brother, Benji, knows exactly what that’s like. In this tender story about siblings, author Sally J. Pla’s shares her experience of raising sons on different parts of the wide spectrum of neurodiversity. We asked illustrator Ken Min to take us behind the scenes of his art process bringing Benji, the Bad Day, and Me to life:
benji, the bad day, and me

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Cover Reveal: Cat Girl’s Day Off

Released in 2012, Cat Girl’s Day Off introduces readers to Natalie (Nat) Ng, a typical teenager…except for the fact that she can talk to cats, which she tries very hard to hide. When one of her best friends, Oscar, shows her a viral Internet video featuring a famous blogger being attacked by her own cat, Nat realizes what’s really going on. Soon her and her friends are caught in the middle of a celebrity kidnapping mystery that takes them through Ferris Bueller’s Chicago and on and off movie sets.

Now we’re excited to release a new paperback version of Cat Girl’s Day Off.  Check out the new cover below! Continue reading

Interview: New Voices Award Winner Rita Lorraine Hubbard on Writing a Picture Book Biography

new voices award sealAt Lee & Low Books we are always interested in biographies of unsung heroes. Stories of lesser-known individuals who used their talents and overcame obstacles to achieve their dreams and serve their society fill our shelves of published titles. Each year our New Voices Award judges consider dozens of biographical submissions on the lookout for a winning combination of compelling characters and well-researched storytelling. In this blog post, we interviewed Rita Lorraine Hubbard, the 2012 New Voices Award winner, about her biography Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story, which tells the story of William “Bill” Lewis, an enslaved man who earned enough money being a blacksmith and set a daring plan in motion: to free his family. Continue reading