Today we’re excited to announce the release of our new title, Every Month is a New Year: Celebrations Around the World, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Susan L. Roth. In many places around the globe, the new year starts on January 1. But not everywhere! Chinese New Year is celebrated in January or February. Iranians observe Nowruz in March. For Thai people, Songkran occurs in April. Ethiopians greet the new year at Enkutatash in September. All these celebrations, and many others, have deep-rooted traditions and treasured customs.
New York, NY—Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, is thrilled to announce the results of its fifth annual New Visions Award for new authors of color. Established to combat the low number of authors of color writing for children and teens, the New Visions Award is given to a middle grade or young adult manuscript. Winners receive a cash prize and a publishing contract with Lee & Low Books, a children’s book publisher specializing in diversity.
Previous winners of the New Visions Award include the novels Ink and Ashes, named one of the Best Books of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, and Ahimsa, named a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People by the National Council for the Social Studies. This year, two manuscripts were chosen to receive the award: Twin Flames by Olivia Abtahi, and The Regent Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendáriz. Continue reading
In February, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) released its statistics on the number of children’s books by and about people of color published in 2017. In 2016, we witnessed a substantial increase in the number of diverse books being published. Diversity remains an ever-evolving topic in publishing when it comes to books as well as the diversity among the authors and illustrators creating them.
So what has changed since last year? Continue reading
Kick off the end of the school year with our beautiful printable 2018 Diverse Summer Reading List for Grades PreK-8! This list provides engaging and entertaining suggestions to build off of summer suggested reading lists from your school or library. These books are fun ways to start a great summer of nonstop reading! Our list includes both fiction and nonfiction, bilingual Spanish/English titles, and a diverse range of cultures—in other words, the right book for every reader! The collections are available on our website for purchase:
Six years ago, we released Summer of the Mariposas from our Tu Books imprint. Set in Texas, Summer of the Mariposas is a Mexican retelling of the Odyssey, but it’s also a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love. It went on to win numerous awards, including the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Finalist, Lone Star Reading List, and the Amelia Bloomer Project – Feminist Task Force.
Now, we’re excited to say that this beautiful story has been translated into Spanish! We’re releasing El verano de las mariposas this May, and it will be our first young adult novel to be translated into Spanish. We interviewed author Guadalupe García McCall and translator David Bowles on the translation process, what it was like working together, and their upcoming projects. Continue reading
In this guest post, New York Public Library Head of Teen Services Elisa Garcia and Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Manager of the New York Public Library School Support Program, share some of their favorite titles for fostering conversation and dialogue. We are so excited to have them join us on the Lee & Low blog!
Libraries play a role in social responsibility and one of the ways we do this is bringing the community together through books that foster rich conversations about current and past events. When choosing books to have these critical conversations, it is important that these titles represent diversity and will support and foster these conversations. Continue reading
Since Poetry Month is in full swing, we asked some of our poets at Lee & Low Books to provide tips for reading poetry to kids and students. Read suggestions from Pat Mora, author of Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico! Americas’ Sproutings; Confetti: Poems for Children (Confeti: Poemas para niños); and upcoming title Bookjoy, Wordjoy, listen to the wisdom of Marilyn Singer, author of A Full Moon Is Rising and upcoming title Every Month Is a New Year, and find the passion with Guadalupe García McCall, author of Under the Mesquite, Summer of the Mariposas (El verano de las mariposas), Shame the Stars, and upcoming Fall title All the Stars Denied, when reading poetry to kids. Continue reading
In looking for books with protagonists of color, most readers find that the books they see about protagonists of color surround their marginalization (in fact, this recent New York Times piece on the topic went viral). Though it is vastly important for children to understand the history and complexity of oppression, racism, and discrimination, children, especially children of color, also deserve to see themselves thrive, to experience the joy of being a part of a loving community, and to not be stuck in a cycle of oppressive narratives that can shape how others view them. Below we’ve compiled a list of diverse books that reflect the daily lives of children and feature kids just being kids! Continue reading
Last October was the release of Ahimsa by New Visions Award winner Supriya Kelkar. Inspired by her great-grandmother’s experience working with Gandhi, Kelkar shines a light on the Indian freedom movement in this poignant middle grade novel.
In 1942, after Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle. But it turns out he isn’t the one joining. Anjali’s mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use “ahimsa”—non-violent resistance—to stand up to the British government.
Accompanying this title is the Ahimsa Teacher’s Guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions on the Indian freedom movement, colonialism, civil disobedience, and the connection to the civil rights movement in the United States. Our teacher’s guide also features summary and background information, prereading and discussion questions, ideas for reader’s response and writing activities, strategies for ESL/ELL, and interdisciplinary activities and connections. Below we’ve shared a few prereading questions, discussion questions, and resources from the Ahimsa teacher’s guide. Continue reading
While reading books with children will help them better prepare for school and opens their minds to new cultures and experiences, it’s important to keep cultivating that love of reading into middle school. Exposing children 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 middle schoolers. 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 middle school classroom collections to see what we have to offer, and check out our other book lists by grade:
- Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Preschool
- Our 8 Favorite Multicultural Books for Kindergarten
- Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for First Grade
- Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Second Grade
- Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Third Grade
- Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Fourth Grade
- Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Fifth Grade
- Our 7 Favorite Multicultural Books for Sixth Grade
While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are 10 of our absolute favorite diverse books for middle school!