In this blog post, we interviewed Reading Recovery® teacher and Bebop Books author, Gaylia Taylor, about creating diverse books for leveled reading.
Why is diversity important in books for students learning to read? How is diversity critical to your work as an author?
Gaylia Taylor: Diversity is essential for students learning to read because they are for the first time stepping out of their world into a world that exists outside of themselves. As authors, we can put readers in the proximity of others. When we are around others, we can begin to understand different cultures and appreciate others’ differences. We write to extend boundaries. Each group has a gift. If we collect all of the gifts and put them together, we know love. As an author, I write to celebrate this–the heritage of cultural diversities.
As schools prepare for a critical academic year like no other, educators are looking to engage with students in essential literacy skills while providing high-quality literature that students can relate to, enjoy and learn from.
Join Jennifer Serravallo, renowned literacy consultant, expert, and New York Times bestselling author, and Adjoa Burrowes, educator, artist, and award-winning Lee & Low author and illustrator for an upcoming Live-Only Webinar, as they discuss:
- how diversity and identity fits into reading instruction
- how to incorporate race and social justice into your literacy block
- explicit tips for supporting comprehension, phonics instruction, and writing techniques with incredible texts
We had a great virtual turnout for last week’s webinar, “Teaching About Juneteenth with Children’s Books” with Newbery and Caldecott Honor-winning author and poet Carole Boston Weatherford (Juneteenth Jamboree), alongside expert educators Dr. Amanda Vickery, Assistant Professor of Social Studies at University of North Texas, and Dawnavyn James, Missouri-based Early Childhood and Elementary Educator. If you missed it live (or just want to watch again), you can access the webinar below, or here on YouTube. Keep reading for links to resources and booklists shared during the webinar.
In this blog post, we’re highlighting author Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth‘s titles! The Sibert Award-winning team has collaborated on four Lee & Low titles including Butterfly for a King: Saving Hawai’i’s Kamehameha Butterflies, Prairie Dog Song, Parrots Over Puerto Rico, and The Mangrove Tree. In time for Earth Day and World Environment Day, authors Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth share their favorite moments and fascinating tidbits about each collaboration.
Today is the release day for Boy, Everywhere by debut author A. M. Dassu! In this powerful middle-grade debut, Sami and his family embark on a harrowing journey to save themselves from the Syrian civil war.
Watch author A. M. Dassu talk about why she wrote Boy, Everywhere. And read on to learn more about what moved Dassu to write this story, her experience and work with refugees, and the feedback she’s received from Syrian readers.
A few years ago, conversations surrounding the importance of joyful books that feature Black characters finally started to pick up steam. Though BIPOC readers, specifically Black readers, have noticed the lack of joyful diverse books for some time, publishing is finally getting to a place of recognition that Black characters are more than just oppression and a teaching moment for outside readers. BIPOC are just like everyone else with varied lived experiences that aren’t always rooted in pain. In this guest blog post, we hear from author Kelly J. Baptist and illustrator Darnell Johnson to discuss the importance of Black joy in children’s books and how that translated into their newest title The Electric Slide and Kai.
In this guest post, author and poet Mark Karlins shares how his latest title, Kiyoshi’s Walk, can be used to engage students (and anyone!) to write poetry in the classroom and at home. Mark Karlins also shares how the traditional Japanese poetry form, renga, can help create community in a classroom especially in time for National Poetry Month!
As I was writing Kiyoshi’s Walk, all I was thinking about was writing an engaging story about a child who wanted to learn to write poetry, a story which has a strong grandfather-grandchild relationship and a progressive structure that keeps people reading and listening. Now that Kiyoshi’s Walk has been published, I’ve begun to think about how the story can expand and become a base for teaching writing both at home and in the classroom. A walk outdoors with a parent and child, a stroll through the playground of a school, even an indoors excursion from one window to the next, can provide experiences for the writing of haiku. Grandfather Eto and Kiyoshi demonstrate a way this can happen.
Curious about the ins-and-outs of the editorial process? Join us for our Spring 2021 Tea Time Talks between our authors and editors!
In these short, casual conversations, get a behind-the-scenes look at our publishing process as our Lee & Low editors share a (virtual) cup of tea with their authors. Hear them describe the initial inspiration and the development process, discuss questions that came up during the editing, and reflect on decisions they made.
Join us live, or register for a link to watch the recordings later!
What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Activity Book is a collaboration between Laleña Garcia and Caryn Davidson, both professional educators and activists with the Black Lives Matter at Schools NYC organizing group. Learn the story behind What We Believe here and how the author and illustrator define activism and allyship in the first two installments.
Today, in the third installment of our conversation, Laleña and Caryn share tips and suggestions for educators who face institutional opposition when bringing learning about BLM, social justice, and activism into their classrooms: Continue reading
What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Activity Book is a collaboration between Laleña Garcia, who identifies as Black, and Caryn Davidson, who identifies as white. After learning author Laleña Garcia’s story behind What We Believe, we asked the author and illustrator to share a bit about their partnership, and how they define the role of activist and ally.
How do you define activism?
Laleña Garcia: In my school, we talk about activists as people who work together with other people to make the world a better place. We emphasize the importance of collective action and solidarity, and that, even though we sometimes learn about one or two people — like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks — they had to work together with lots of other people to make change.
There’s a part of me that thinks that individual actions — like turning off the lights, recycling, or choosing to buy from BIPOC-owned businesses — is part of being a good, decent, human, but is maybe a little bit different from being an activist, but it’s not something I’m willing to have a fight about. If you’re organizing other people to do those things, or writing letters to people in power to get them to make changes, then I think it’s more like activism, because of the collective nature.