Category Archives: Diversity 102

Where Is the Diversity in Publishing? The 2019 Diversity Baseline Survey Results

The Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 2.0) was created by Lee & Low Books with co-authors Laura M. Jiménez, PhD, Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and Betsy Beckert, graduate student in the Language and Literacy Department of Wheelock College of Education & Human Development

Lee & Low Books released the first Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 1.0) in 2015. Before the DBS, people suspected publishing had a diversity problem, but without hard numbers, the extent of that problem was anyone’s guess. Our goal was to survey publishing houses and review journals regarding the racial, gender, sexual orientation, and ability makeup of their employees; establish concrete statistics about the diversity of the publishing workforce; and then build on this information by reissuing the survey every four years. Through these long-term efforts, we would be able to track what progress our industry shows over time in improving representation and inclusion. Continue reading

Finding the Best Diverse Books for Your Classroom

High Quality Diverse Books

In this guest post originally posted at Achieve the Core, Jill Eisenberg, our Director of Curriculum & Literacy Strategy, shares resources and guidance for teachers on finding high-quality diverse texts and bringing them into the classroom. 

If you were asked to sum up your classroom library or read aloud collection with five adjectives, what would you say? Would the word “diverse” make the list?

Our classroom library bookshelves and mentor texts should feel intentional, purposeful, and transforming; to that end, many educators and administrators are eager to infuse more culturally responsive, multicultural, and inclusive stories into the classroom. It can be overwhelming to figure out where to begin with this process, however. As Director of Curriculum & Literacy Strategy at Lee & Low Books, I step into schools and districts to advise on the key components of a culturally responsive book collection and action steps required to evaluate current collections for equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Whether you survey your collection in grade-level teams, with parent volunteers, or on your own, this blog post will share some of the best resources and strategies we at Lee & Low Books have seen over the past thirty years from schools and districts across the nation. Continue reading

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

How to Build a More Diverse Classroom Library

More Diverse Classroom 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: Continue reading

Calling All Publishers, Agents, and Review Journals: Join Us for Diversity Baseline Survey 2.0

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?

Diversity in Publishing 2015 Continue reading

Genielysse Reyes Receives 2018 Lee & Low and Friends Scholarship from Simmons College

We’re excited to announce that Simmons College Graduate Programs in Children’s Literature has awarded Genielysse Reyes as the 2018 recipient of the Lee & Low and Friends Scholarship.

A partnership between the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and children’s book publisher Lee & Low Books, the scholarship provides opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to participate in Simmons’ prestigious children’s literature graduate program. Lee & Low Books is the largest multicultural book publisher in the country and a leader in the effort to diversify the publishing industry. Simmons shares this goal and is committed to creating opportunities for all students so that a multiplicity of voices can be heard in the publishing industry and in books published for children and young adults.

This year, we interviewed Genielysse Reyes about her love of children’s literature, her thoughts on providing equitable access for people of color in publishing, and her goals as a part of the Simmons program.

Continue reading

The Whiteness of PBS’s Great American Read

The Great American Read

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

Culturally Responsive Teaching in the Season of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Culturally Responsive Teaching for Mother's Day

In this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and during holidays and celebrations. Last Month, we shared a culturally responsive approach to Earth Day.  Today, educator Lindsay Barrett offers suggestions for addressing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in the classroom. Continue reading

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Valentine’s Day in the Classroom

In this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and offer concrete examples and resources. In January, we explored goal setting with students to start off the new yearToday, educator Lindsay Barrett offers a culturally responsive approach to Valentine’s Day in the classroom.

Culturally Responsive Teaching VDAY

Continue reading