Category Archives: Diversity, Race, and Representation

Conversation about diversity, multiculturalism, race, and inclusion.

How Labeling Books as “Diverse” Reinforces White Supremacy

In this guest post, librarian Alexandria Brown discusses the issues with labeling books as “diverse” and other ways we can build and promote a more equitable library collection. 

Every so often, the question of whether or not to add a spine label designating “diverse” books makes the rounds. Many condemn the practice, but lots of library staff persist in labeling. Like most diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues in librarianship, many of my colleagues are still operating within a white (and cisgender and heterosexual) supremacist framework. It is an understandable predicament to be in – after all, many library degree programs are not as strong as they could be in advocating for DEI and decolonization. So let’s examine the question of diversity labeling and see if we can’t get to a better understanding of why it’s problematic.

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6 Books by Black Creators for Middle School and High School

A couple weeks ago, we shared a list of 12 Picture Books by Black Authors and Illustrators. In this blog post, we’re continuing to highlight books with Black characters by Black creators, but this time for middle school and high school.

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Out Today: She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm

Today, we’re so excited to celebrate the release of our new picture book biography, She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated by Eric Velasquez.

Shirley Chisholm, a woman of many firsts, was an unforgettable political trailblazer, a candidate of the people and “catalyst of change” who opened the door for women in the political arena and for the first Black president of the United States.

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12 Picture Books by Black Creators

The news may have shifted from highlighting ongoing protests across the country, but it’s amazing to see that the momentum hasn’t stopped in the fight for Black lives.

As books and anti-racism resources continue to be shared, it’s important to not only highlight books with Black characters but to celebrate and uplift the work of Black creators.

Here are 12 picture books by Black authors and illustrators to add to your book shelves:

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Educator Resource Guide for The Diversity Baseline Survey 2.0

The Diversity Baseline Survey was designed to measure the lack of diversity within the publishing industry. The data also allows us to track progress as our industry grows and evolves. In 2016, Lee & Low Books sponsored and organized the first major publishing Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 1.0). The DBS 1.0 measured the staff diversity of reviewers and publishers and has opened up a renewed interest in how to improve staff diversity. In January 2020, Lee & Low Books organized the second Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 2.0) and released the results.

Below, you’ll find our Educator Resource Guide for the Diversity Baseline Survey. We’ve gathered discussion questions and activities for educators to use in the classroom (including virtual classrooms too!). Continue reading

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

Announcing Lee & Low Books’ 2019 New Voices Award Winner and Honor

New Voices Award sealNew York, NY—January 16, 2020—LEE & LOW BOOKS is excited to announce that Alana Tyson of Alexandria, Virginia, is the winner of the company’s twentieth annual New Voices Award. Her picture book manuscript, The Longest Swim, is the biography of William Goines and his journey to becoming the first African American Navy SEAL.

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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

Sneak Peek: Lee & Low’s Spring 2020 Titles

It’s the start of a new decade, and what better way to launch into the new year than to check out new and exciting books coming out in 2020! Here’s a sneak peek of our Winter and Spring 2020 titles ranging from boogie-down picture books to magic-filled middle grade.

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Social and Emotional Learning Books for Middle School and High School

Social and Emotional Learning

Social and Emotional Learning is the process in which people of all ages recognize and manage emotions, make appropriate decisions, behave ethically and responsibly, develop and maintain positive relationships, and avoid negative behaviors.

Social and Emotional Learning strategies are important, but books that show characters demonstrating these strategies further emphasize the need for these positive actions inside and outside of the classroom.

Check out our social and emotional learning books roundup for middle school and high school below and find more social and emotional learning titles in our Social and Emotional Learning Diverse Reading List.

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