Next month is the release of Black Was the Ink by New Visions Award winner Michelle Coles and illustrated by Justin Johnson. Motivated by Coles’ frustration with the pace of racial progress in America, she wrote this book for readers to discover the critical work of Black congressmen during Reconstruction, an often overlooked time period, and make critical connections to present day.
Black Was the Ink, an extraordinary work fueled by rigorous research and impactful history, is a critical text for high school students and educators looking for authentic, honest history about the United States.
Each year, WorldCon (the World Science Fiction Convention) gathers fans and creators of science fiction and fantasy. Among many things that happen at WorldCon is the awarding of the Hugos, something like the Oscars for speculative fiction. The first convention took place in New York City in 1939, and every year after, it has been held in a different city, organized by volunteers. In 2018, Worldcon 76 was held in San Jose, California.
Now, the thing to remember is that people of color—especially Latinx folx—have been largely absent from WorldCon during its 76 years. But this year, one of the guests of honor was illustrator John Picacio, the first Mexican American to win a Hugo (and first to serve as MC). He wanted to make sure Mexicans and Mexican Americans would be there in significant numbers.
So John founded the Mexicanx Initiative, at first intending to sponsor just a couple of key creators. But when he announced it, a dozen or so movers and shakers in the world of SF/F stepped up to contribute, and before long there was enough support to bring FIFTY Mexicanx writers, illustrators, megafans, etc. Guadalupe García McCall and David Bowles were invited to be part of this stellar group. They were placed on panels, brought into the spotlight, allowed to stand on the stage in solidarity with Dreamers and refugees.
Today, we are proud to release I Am Alfonso Jones, a heartbreaking exploration of the Black Lives Matter movement and the impact that police brutality has on families, young people, and communities. Written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings, this title offers a powerful entry to discussion as well as essential historical context to today’s discussions on police brutality. Below is the powerful foreword by Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy.
Summer is officially here, which means lots of warm weather, longer days, and receiving submissions for our New Voices and New VisionsAwards! Our annual awards encourage writers of color to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. As the number of diverse books increases, LEE & LOW BOOKS is dedicated to increasing the number of authors of color as well. Continue reading →
New York, NY—Children’s book publisher LEE & LOW BOOKS is thrilled to announce the results of its fourth annual New Visions Award for new authors of color. This year, in partnership with First Book and the NEA Foundation, the award expanded to two winning manuscripts: Operation Yellowbird, by Wah Chen, and The Wind Called My Name, by Mary Louise Sanchez.
Pia Ceres was LEE & LOW’s summer intern. She is a recipient of the We Need Diverse Books Internship Program grant. She’s a senior at Brown University, where she studies Education & Comparative Literature, with a focus in French literature. When she’s not reading, you can find her watching classic horror movies from under a blanket, strumming pop songs on her ukulele, and listening to her grandparents’ stories about the Philippines. In this blog post, she asks the question “can fiction be a pathway to fact?” while looking at YA historical fiction.
High school students in Providence, Rhode Island, rallied in January to launch a campaign called #OurHistoryMatters, advocating for greater representation of the contributions of people of color in history curricula. Like many urban school districts, Providence serves a diverse student body where 74% of students identify as Black or Latino and 17% as Native American. Yet when student activists studied an American history textbook used in their school district, they reported that out of nearly 2,000 pages, fewer than 100 mentioned people of color.
This week, in acknowledgement of Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we are offering a series of blog posts that look at pieces of history that have been hidden, silenced, altered, or swept under the rug. Today we share author Guadalupe García McCall’s reflections on her discovery of a startling piece of Texas history. This piece was originally published as the Author’s Note in her new novel, Shame the Stars.Continue reading →
LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! To recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today and hear from the authors and illustrators.
Today, we are celebrating Chess Rumble, which explores the ways this strategic game empowers young people with the skills they need to anticipate and calculate their moves through life. Continue reading →
After the success of the first #DVpit event in April, #DVpit is back for another round of Twitter pitching fun on October 5th and 6th! If you’re unfamiliar with this event, #DVpit is a Twitter pitch contest created to showcase pitches by marginalized voices and help connect them to agents and editors.
While the number of diverse books is increasing, the number of new diverse authors entering the field remains low. Significant barriers remain for authors of color, Native authors, disabled authors, and other marginalized voices. With that in mind, we are excited to share information on this special Twitter event! The information below is cross-posted with permission from literary agent Beth Phelan’s #DVpit website.