Category Archives: Diversity, Race, and Representation

Conversation about diversity, multiculturalism, race, and inclusion.

Book List: Native Books by Native Authors

native books by native authors

November is Native American Heritage Month, which started at the turn of the century as “an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S.” and in 1990, evolved into a month of celebration and appreciation.

For many years, Native people have been silenced, their stories set aside, hidden, or drowned out. That’s why it’s especially important to read stories about Native characters, told in Native voices. Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with this updated list of books by Native authors:

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Teaching Migration Through Children’s Books

In this blog post, Jill Eisenberg, Director of Curriculum & Literacy Strategy at Lee & Low Books, offers guidance on curating text sets aligned to the Re-imagining Migration Learning Arc framework. This blog post first appeared on Re-Imagining Migration Continue reading

The Importance of Diversity in Leveled Readers & Reading Recovery®

In this guest blog post, Dr. Lisa Pinkerton, the Marie Clay Endowed Chair in Reading Recovery® and Early Literacy at The Ohio State University, discusses the importance of expanding diverse stories for young readers in Reading Recovery®

I have long admired Lee & Low Books and their mission to publish contemporary diverse stories that all children can enjoy. As a Reading Recovery® trainer, imagine my delight to discover that Lee & Low Books is now on the RRCNA booklist!

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Interview: Author Sherry Thomas on Mulan and Writing The Magnolia Sword

magnolia swordReleased last week, The Magnolia Sword is the first young adult novel to reimagine the ballad of Mulan. We interviewed bestselling author Sherry Thomas on what piqued her interest in writing about Mulan and the different iterations of the beloved woman warrior in pop culture.

What was your approach when researching for The Magnolia Sword? What resources or organizations did you turn to while writing the story? 

Sherry Thomas: I consulted everything from reddit threads to academic publications, along with various sources in the Chinese language, including my personal copy of Chinese Idiomatic Expressions Dictionary.

Northern Wei, the time period typically agreed on for the setting of the Ballad of Mulan, is not a major dynasty. So I would get whole books on food, clothing, etc. in ancient China and be able to use only a few pages. (Thank goodness for interlibrary loans!)

Another important source of research is actually Google Earth, which allows me to investigate the actual shape and elevation of the terrain that I would put my character into, and see photos people have taken of the general area. Continue reading

Free Upcoming Webinar: Using Children’s Books to Approach Trauma-Informed Education

Using Children's Books to Approach Trauma-Informed Education

Join us for our critical back to school webinar about Trauma-Informed Education in time for the release of our new Trauma-Informed Education Book List on Wednesday, September 25 at 4:00 PM ET. Katie Potter, Lee & Low’s Literacy Specialist, and Andrea Adomako, an educator who has worked with elementary, middle and high school students, a PhD student in African American Studies, and a Mellon Cluster Fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University, will discuss different books and activities that approach various kinds of trauma.

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Watch the Webinar: Lee & Low Books 2019 Showcase

Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for our webinar, “Lee & Low Books 2019 Showcase.” Whether you’re a parent, teacher, librarian, or bookseller, this webinar will help you discover great new books to diversify your shelves:

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Interview: Author Bethany Hegedus on Writing Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya AngelouReleased in time for the 50th anniversary of the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is one of our newest titles Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by author Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Tonya Engel. In this interview, author Bethany Hegedus talks about her newest title Rise!, how she felt to receive a foreword from Dr. Maya Angelou’s grandson Colin Johnson, and her writing and research process.

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the PeopleWe’re excited to celebrate the upcoming release of Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou, the first in-depth picture book biography of Maya Angelou, ahead of the fiftieth anniversary celebration of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarian–Maya Angelou’s life was marked by transformation and perseverance. In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethany Hegedus lyrically traces Maya’s life from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas, through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of the people.

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Diverse Summer Reading Recommendations for Grades 6-8

Summer Reading List

We’re closing out our Summer Reading “For Fans Of” series with our last age group, grades 6 to 8! In our last post, we posed some questions that could ask to get kids thinking across their texts to keep their brains energized during the summer. Additional questions and probes are listed below:

  • How did the authors use symbolism in their books? What were some of the symbols in the two books? Did they relate in any way? Why or why not?
  • Did the main characters change over the course of the books? How?
  • What big lesson did you learn from this book? How did that impact you?

See our Diverse Summer Reading List for the full list of titles from grades PreK to grade 8. Continue reading

Teaching My Kindergarten Class about the Refugee Experience

In this guest post, Rona K. Wolfe, Junior Kindergarten Teacher at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School, explores methods of teaching her kindergarten students about the experiences of refugees around the world.

Rethinking

As a kindergarten teacher, I wanted to expose my students to global experiences. What does that look like in a class with our youngest students? After careful thought, I wanted the young children in my class at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School to learn about the difficulties and experiences of refugees living in our community.

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