Category Archives: Diversity

Author Amy Lee-Tai on Connecting with Community

Last November, Amy Lee-Tai, author of A Place Where Sunflowers Grow, participated in a program called The Big Read, a program that exposes communities across the country to great works of literature and encourages them to read for pleasure and enrichment. Below is her blog post where she reflects on the experience: 
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Martí’s Song for Freedom Teacher’s Guide

Our release and popularity of the Social Activism Diverse Reading List has got us thinking over here at LEE & LOW about the importance of sharing Social Activism resources with educators. Social Activism, especially in this volatile political climate, is necessary in inspiring students to enact change in their own communities. Read-alouds and mentor texts are also crucial in showing students historical figures who fought for justice and equality.

marti's song for freedom teacher's guideWith Social Activism in mind, we are proud to release the Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad Teacher’s Guide! José Martí was certainly an activist as well as a brilliant political writer and courageous fighter of freedom for all people. We wanted to highlight a few specific Social Activism activities that can be done with students in the classroom. Here are a few activities directed towards Social Activism that can be found in the full Guide here: Continue reading

Interview: Author Janet Halfmann on Lilly Ann Granderson’s Legacy

Midnight TeacherToday is the release day of Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School, a picture book about the little-known story of Lilly Ann Granderson, an African-American teacher who risked her life to teach others during slavery. To celebrate, we interviewed author Janet Halfmann to find out more about the story behind Midnight Teacher.

Many of us have not heard of Lilly Ann Granderson’s story. How did you find out about her legacy? What inspired you to write about Lilly Ann Granderson?

I learned about it in bits and pieces. I have long been interested in early black educators, partly because so many books about teachers in the early schools for African Americans are about white teachers from the North. I wanted to shine the spotlight on an amazing early black teacher. The first mentions I found about Lilly Ann Granderson were under the name Milla Granson, the name used by a northern abolitionist who met this teacher and wrote about it in her book. Once I started researching, I learned that Lilly Ann Granderson was known as the Midnight Teacher because she held her secret classes from midnight until two in the morning. That fact made the story all the more intriguing to me, and I thought it would be for kids too. All accounts I found about this teacher ended shortly after the Civil War, so I am honored to have had the opportunity to flesh out Lilly Ann Granderson’s amazing and inspiring story and share it with the world.

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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

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Black History Month Book Giveaway, Book Lists, and Resources

February is Black History Month, which was created to remember the important people and events in the history of the African diaspora and to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history. While ethnic heritage months can be problematic, they are also a good reminder to highlight the achievements of particular cultures, and can make people from those cultures feel acknowledged and appreciated. In this blog post, we’ve rounded up some of our best Black History Month resources.  Continue reading

The Role of Cultural Experts and Sensitivity Readers

After her recent interview about sensitivity readers in the New York Times, Editorial Director and Publisher of Tu Books, Stacy Whitman, further discusses the role of cultural experts and sensitivity readers and the important part they play in the editorial process.

Over the last several months, outlets like the New York Times have started discussions of the use in publishing of what are now being called sensitivity readers—what we here at Lee and Low have called cultural experts. In particular, the New York Times framed their take on the subject as a question of censorship. The current headline reads, “In an Era of Online Outrage, Do Sensitivity Readers Result in Better Books, or Censorship?” which is updated from the print version, “Sensitivity or Censorship? The Vetting of Children’s Books in an Era of Outrage.”

I’m not sure that the update changes the framing, which still implies that what should be a standard part of the editorial process is somehow a form of censorship.

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Social Activism Diverse Book List for Grades PreK-8

Social Activism diverse reading list

LEE & LOW BOOKS is proud to announce the launch of our Social Activism Diverse Reading List for Grades PreK–8!

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Our 7 Favorite Multicultural Books for Sixth Grade

Reading books with children at the elementary age not only helps them better prepare 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 sixth graders. 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 3-6 classroom collections to see what we offer, and check out our other book lists by grade:

While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are 7 of our absolute favorite diverse books for sixth grade!

Our Favorite Multicultural Books for Sixth Grade
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Book Pairing: In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson + Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

Step Up to the Plate, Maria SinghIn this blog post, our Literacy Specialist, Katie Potter, discusses how educators can use texts, like Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, to keep lessons fresh and engaging.

Out with the old, in with the new? How about—supplement and complement the old with the new?

When I read our middle grade novel, Step up to the Plate, Maria SinghI was immediately reminded of In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson that I read with my fifth-grade literature circle in NYC (and in middle school almost 20 years ago!) and the challenges teachers face to make required core texts fresh and relevant to students, especially when a text (no matter how many awards) may “feel” old to students.

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Announcing Our 2017 New Voices Award Winner and Honor

New Voices Award sealNew York, NY—January 18, 2018—LEE & LOW BOOKS is proud to announce that Maham Khwaja of West Hollywood, California is the winner of the company’s eighteenth annual New Voices Award. Her picture-book manuscript, The Journey, is a story of a young girl and her parents who are forced to flee their home country when violence threatens their community. In a series of beautiful, reflective poems, the protagonist describes her uncertainties as a refugee navigating a world that is not always welcoming, and her hopes for finding a new home. Continue reading