Children become aware of gender, race, ethnicity, and disabilities before entering kindergarten. They form views at a young age, absorbing any bias or judgments from the adults in their life. It is important for parents to teach their children how to respect and appreciate others, creating a positive habit to take throughout their life.
Creating an environment for children to interact with kids from other backgrounds and cultures is important to their healthy development. It allows them to see the differences among each other and value them, instead of judging or turning away.
Amazing Faces, one of our new spring books, is a collection of poems celebrating the amazing people and faces that surround us every day. We asked the poets to share the stories behind their poems. Here are some of their responses:
Jane Yolen, “Karate Kid”
A number of years ago, Lee Bennett Hopkins asked me to write a poem for a sports anthology. “How about karate?” I said. There is a dojo near my house. I had some friends who had kids in karate and a granddaughter who was just starting into the martial arts. Also, I find some of the Chinese martial arts movies fascinating in a balletic sort of way.
And so I wrote “Karate Kid.” It has taken on a life of its own. Sometimes (if a writer is very lucky) that happens.
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, “Amazing Face”
I am, and will always be, fascinated by children. Especially very young children. I look at them and a million dreams and possibilities run through my mind: the person they will become, the journeys they’ll take, the hobbies they’ll choose, the crafts they’ll learn, the billowed joys they will experience, the heartache and heartbreak they will ultimately and unfortunately experience too. I want each child on this Earth to know they are loved by someone, that they are valued, and that they are truly and downright amazing. I hope my poem sends this message, whoever is listening.
Mary Cronin, “Firefighter Face”
It is a proven fact that reading benefits children of all ages. Hand-eye coordination is improved, vital language and social skills are developed, and lives are enriched all through reading a book.
But, how do you get children interested in reading? Let us discuss this topic for specific age groups.
Babies and Toddlers
Introducing books at a young age is a great way to start the reading trend. Books will teach colors, letters of the alphabet, counting, shapes, and more. Children as young as 1 or 2 years old will begin to recognize letters or numbers and point out their favorite colorful illustrations.
A great way to get them involved is to read to them from the first day they are born. Babies and toddlers are reliant on their parents or caretakers to teach them. They are like a little sponge absorbing the words, the colors, and the process of reading a book. So, make it a routine that your kids will enjoy. Snuggle up and read a book before naptime or after dinner to wind them down each night. The consistency will make reading something that they look forward to.
Many of our books, including this season’s The Can Man deal with economic concepts. We asked Yana V. Rodgers, a professor at Rutgers and head of the Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children, to talk about why and how to teach economics in today’s busy classrooms.
Building Blocks for the Future
Decades of research in economics, education, and early-childhood development have shown that young children enter the primary grades with an experience-based knowledge of economics and that they are quite capable of learning basic economics during the primary grades. The economic lessons that young students learn in their early education form the building blocks toward achieving a solid understanding of economics at higher levels of educational attainment. Students in the primary grades are already gaining a rich exposure to a wide variety of ideas in economics, and they are gaining the skills to apply this new knowledge. The principles taught at a level appropriate for primary-grade students are crucial for a basic understanding of the economic world around them.
Educational reforms since the 1960s have led to the development of formal content standards in economics and the infusion of economics as a central component of social studies curricula in every grade level. Because of the standards movement, even elementary school teachers face considerable pressure to teach economic content that is based on state requirements and is often linked to school accreditation and funding. Increasingly crowded curricula are a common issue, and many teachers feel they are too busy to teach economics. As almost all states have added economics to their state-mandated curricula in the primary grades, teaching strategies have needed to change.
We have some very exciting news to share: we have acquired Tu Publishing, an independent press focusing on diverse fantasy and science fiction for children and young adults! Founded by Stacy Whitman last fall to address the need for more books featuring diverse characters and inspired by non-Western cultures, Tu is becoming Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW. Several manuscripts are already in the works, with hopes of releasing the first books under the new imprint next year.
In addition to giving away signed copies of Janna and the Kings on the main site, we’re giving away three sets of six books each on this here blog at the end of February. Why a Black History Month giveaway at the end of February? Because Black History is still worth teaching all year long!
Here’s how it works:
- You enter the contest by midnight, February 28th, 2010. There are four ways to enter:
- Tweet/ReTweet it on Twitter (make sure you include @LEEandLOW).
- Comment on this post, telling us your favorite Black History Reads or why you want to read these books.
- Subscribe to this blog (make sure you tell us in comments, so we know it’s you).
- Post about this on your own blog (if you’re not hosted by WordPress, make sure you tell us in comments).
You get one entry per action—do all of the above and you have four chances to win.
- We randomly pick three winners.
- We send each winner one of the three sets of books, shown below.
- The winners use these awesome Black History books all year round.