Teachers, let’s talk about a popular topic across education blogs and Pinterest: the classroom library. A quick search on the Internet results in numerous tips, tricks, and ideas for different ways to configure and organize your classroom library. It’s an intensive and thoughtful process that involves thinking about genre, reading levels, interest levels, grade-level content, categories, and themes.
Unfortunately, we often see classroom libraries that group diverse books into categories that isolate or limit their use. Simply having a book bin labeled “cultures from around the world” or “black history month books” does not mean your library is culturally responsive. We need to think critically about how these books reflect the diversity of our students, their backgrounds, and the communities in which we live while exposing them to new ideas and concepts. Does your classroom library contain books that include main characters of color or with disabilities? Do your books featuring people of color only focus on issues of race, prejudice, or discrimination? Do they go beyond ethnic heritage months? Do they only focus on cultural traditions and foods? Continue reading
Today is the release day of Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, a middle grade historical novel about nine-year-old Maria Singh who longs to play softball. To celebrate, we interviewed author Uma Krishnaswami to find out more about her writing process and her inspiration behind Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh.
Released last fall from LEE & LOW BOOKS, Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris is a beautiful story of recycling, conservation, and family tradition. Ixchel wants to follow in the long tradition of weaving on backstrap looms, just as her mother, grandmother, and most Mayan women have done for more than two thousand years. But Ixchel’s mother is too busy preparing her weavings for the market. Ixchel first tries weaving with a variety of materials, but then she notices the colorful plastic bags littering her neighborhood and suddenly has an idea that ends up benefitting everyone.
We asked illustrator Elisa Chavarri to take us behind the scenes of her art process bringing Rainbow Weaver to life: Continue reading
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.
While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are 10 of our absolute favorite diverse books for preschoolers! Continue reading
The Crane Girl, released last month, is an adaptation of a popular Japanese folktale about the power of friendship and kindness to transform lives. Told in both haiku and prose, The Crane Girl follows young Yasuhiro who rescues an injured crane in the woods one night. The next day, a mysterious girl appears at his door. She offers to weave silk for Yasuhiro and his father to help them with money, but eventually the father’s greed has a life-changing effect on them all.
To celebrate National Poetry Month, we asked author Curtis Manley to take us through his writing process when it comes to haiku, poetry, and The Crane Girl. Continue reading
April is Jazz Appreciation Month, so we wanted to highlight our picture book Rent Party Jazz, by William Miller, illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb. Continue reading
Today we are pleased to share this guest post from Librarian and Diversity Coordinator Laura Reiko Simeon on the power of book covers.
March is Women’s History Month and while we believe that the accomplishments of women should be celebrated all the time, today we wanted to specifically highlight children’s books that feature women who have made significant contributions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
Below are ten women that we think you should celebrate and know more about! Continue reading
The Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune recently interviewed Tu Books publisher Stacy Whitman and Lee & Low’s new editorial director, Cheryl Klein, in a piece discussing “sensitivity readers,” who read specifically to review the cultural and identity elements of a book for authenticity. Because not every answer to an interview question makes it into an article, we collected Stacy’s answers on why we consult with expert readers.
As February comes to an end, we round out Black History Month with a spotlight on William “Doc” Key, a self-taught veterinarian who taught his horse Jim Key how to read, write, and calculate math problems. Teaching a horse these skills might sound preposterous, but Doc was able to nurture Jim’s ability through kindness, patience, and empathy. Together they traveled throughout the United States and impressed audiences with Jim’s amazing performances. In the process, they broke racial barriers and raised awareness for the humane treatment of animals.
Here’s what Donna Janell Bowman, author of Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, had to say about William “Doc” Key’s legacy and the amazing duo’s story: