Category Archives: Educator Resources

Lesson plans, activity guides, and helpful tips from our literacy specialist and guest educators.

Watch the Webinar: LGBTQ+ Children’s Books

Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for our webinar, “LGBTQ+ Children’s Books: A Conversation with Authors.” If you missed it live, or just want to watch it again, here is a recording of the webinar:

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Diverse Summer Reading Recommendations for Grades 3-5

Diverse Summer Reading List

As we continue our “For Fans Of” Summer Reading blog series, we’ll spotlight books for children in grades 3 through 5 in this post. In order to keep kids thinking critically about the books they’re reading during the summer months, it’s great to pose a few questions to engage in a conversation about books in a low-stakes discussion:

  • How were the main characters similar? How were they different?
  • What kinds of problems did the characters face in both of the books? Were any of their problems similar? Why or why not?
  • Would you recommend this book to a friend? What would you tell them about it? Why did you enjoy it?

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

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How to Critically Select Children’s Books with Representations of Disability Experiences

In this guest blog post, Monica Kleekamp, a PhD candidate in the department of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum at the University of Missouri-Columbia, discusses the importance of inclusive children’s literature and how to critically select texts with regards to representations of disability experiences.

What is inclusive children’s literature? What is it not? Why is it important?

 As students look to the shelves in their classrooms and school libraries, they seek representations of themselves—characters who look, feel, and experience the world in similar ways. The field of children’s literature continues to problematize the ways our bookshelves perpetuate representations of white, cisgender, heterosexual, and middle-class characters. A term often added to the end of this list is “able.”

Inclusive children’s literature that features characters who are either physically and/or intellectually diverse—characters who have been labeled as disabled—remain few and far between. Additionally, those texts that do exist often follow tropes of pity or dehumanization. These texts have also been heavily critiqued for their over-representation of white male characters who access prosthetics. Continue reading

Register for Our Upcoming Webinar: LGBTQ+ Children’s Books

LGBTQ Webinar image

Just in time for Pride Month, join Lee & Low Books for a special free webinar focused on LGBTQ+ books for youth! Join Katie Potter, Lee & Low’s Literacy Specialist, in conversation with Lee & Low authors Kyle Lukoff (When Aidan Became a Brother), Lesléa Newman (Sparkle Boy), and Maya Christina Gonzalez (Call Me Tree/Llámame Árbol), as they discuss the inspiration behind their books and the importance of LGBTQ+ representation in children’s literature.  Continue reading

Social Activism Books for Third Grade

Books can encourage kids of all ages to enact change in their communities. Because it’s never too early to make a difference, we’ll be sharing a list of social activism books for each grade level. Check out our social activism book roundup for third grade below and for more social activism titles, check out our full printable Social Activism Diverse Reading List!

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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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Diverse Summer Reading Recommendations for Grades PreK-2

Diverse Summer Reading List

Let’s kick off summer with our engaging, printable Diverse Summer Reading List that will get all kids engaged in 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:

Summer Reading Collection Grades PreK-2
Summer Reading Collection Grades 3-5
Summer Reading Collection Grades 6-8

Want to expand your Summer Reading list, but not sure where to begin? Keep reading for pairings of diverse bestsellers with our favorite new picks for grades PreK-2, and stay tuned over the upcoming weeks when we’ll spotlight Grades 3-5 and Grades 6-8! Continue reading

Kindergarten Guided Reading Books

Are you looking for high-quality, culturally responsive guided reading books for kindergarten? Bebop Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, offers leveled reading books in both English and Spanish for readers at every level.

Our Early Emergent Leveled Reading Collection, with books in Guided Reading Levels A, B, and C, is a great place to start building your kindergarten library. Early Emergent leveled reading books are perfect for beginning and soon-to-be readers. Our Early Emergent collections offer books in both English and Spanish for classroom use, with culturally authentic texts and illustrations.  Continue reading

Social Activism Books for Second Grade

Books can encourage kids of all ages to enact change in their communities. Because it’s never too early to make a difference, we’ll be sharing a list of social activism books for each grade level. Check out our social activism book roundup for second grade below and for more social activism titles, check out our full printable Social Activism Diverse Reading List!

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Diverse Books for Social Emotional Learning in Grades 2 and 3

SEL in second and third grades

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a hot topic, but it’s certainly not new. Skills like empathy, cultivating and maintaining positive relationships, recognizing and managing emotions, problem solving, approaching tasks with grit and perseverance, and taking on others’ perspectives have always, and will always, be crucial to kids’ success. Research shared by CASEL reports that SEL programs lead to “immediate improvements in mental health, social skills, and academic achievement,” and “up to 18 years later, students exposed to SEL in school continue to do better than their peers on a number of indicators: positive social behaviors and attitudes, skills such as empathy and teamwork, and academics.” SEL is certainly worthy of time and attention from those who support children’s development.

Books are valuable tools for guiding conversations about SEL topics. Children can examine and learn from characters’ actions and experiences and relate them to their own. Of course, book selection is key. When kids see both themselves and others in diverse books, it says, “You matter. Reflect on your experiences.” and “Others matter. Listen and learn.” Therein lies the heart of SEL.

 As students grow and change, so do their social emotional learning needs. Linking diverse books to SEL goals and challenges across different ages is a powerful way to support students as they navigate each developmental stage. This blog series explores how diverse books can be used to support social emotional learning at different grade levels. Continue reading