Released last week, The Magnolia Swordis 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 →
Released 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.
From the TV show The Walking Dead to YA books Warm Bodies and Rot and Ruin, zombies are a huge part of pop culture. Lee & Low is excited to add to the zombie narrative with our upcoming picture book, Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies!, by debut husband and wife team Megan and Jorge Lacera!
Coming April 2019 in both English and Spanish, Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies! is about Mo Romero, a zombie who loves nothing more than growing, cooking, and eating vegetables. The problem? Mo’s parents insist that their niño eat only zombie cuisine, like arm-panadas and finger foods. They tell Mo over and over that zombies don’t eat veggies. But Mo can’t imagine a lifetime of just eating zombie food and giving up his veggies. As he questions his own zombie identity, Mo tries his best to convince his parents to give peas a chance. We chatted with Megan and Jorge about creating their first picture book together and where they got their inspiration from.
Released this past January in both English and Spanish, Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words is the picture book biography of the amazing Nobel Peace Prize winner and brave, outspoken girl who continues to fight for the millions of children worldwide who are not able to go to school. In this interview for Women’s History Month, we chatted with author Karen Leggett Abouraya and illustrator Susan L. Roth about their inspiration for the book and the women they look up to:
Released earlier this month, Under My Hijab is a book that provides a friendly introduction to hijabs for all readers, and celebrates the many Muslim women and girls who choose to wear them. Debut illustrator Aaliya Jaleel took us behind the scenes of her creative process. Read on for more!
Today is the official release of Under My Hijab, the new picture book written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel. With cheerful rhyming text and charming illustrations, Under My Hijab provides a friendly introduction to hijabs for all readers, and celebrates the many Muslim women and girls who choose to wear them.
Author Guadalupe García McCall’s debut Under the Mesquite came out seven years ago, but she has continued to take the young adult world by storm, going on to win the Pura Belpré Award for Under the Mesquite; winning multiple awards for her magical Mexican-American retelling of The Odyssey, Summer of the Mariposas; and earning wide acclaim for Shame the Stars, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set during the Mexican Revolution.
Released this year, Guadalupe García McCall once again highlights a story that reflects her Mexican heritage and the rich history of Mexico with All the Stars Denied, a companion novel to Shame the Stars. We interviewed her to talk about this latest title as well as her writing process. Continue reading →
This fall we released a new graphic novel by Coretta Scott King award-winning author G. Neri called Grand Theft Horse, which retells the life of his cousin Gail, a pioneer who challenged the horse racing world for the sake of one extraordinary horse. The graphic novel has already received two starred reviews:
“The graphic novel world isn’t full of true stories about nearly sixty-year-old, women of color who refuse to back down from wealthy, white men exploiting (and further corrupting) a corrupt system. Grand Theft Horse feels all the more timely and urgent because of it.” —Booklist starred review
“Superb. Ruffu’s tenacity and the book’s satisfying conclusion will appeal to fans of John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell’s “March” trilogy.” —School Library Journal starred review
In this blog post, author G. Neri shares some of the inspiration behind his newest graphic novel.
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 celebrate the release of The Wind Called My Name, the new middle grade historical fiction novel by Mary Louise Sanchez! Set in Wyoming during the Great Depression, The Wind Called My Name is a frontier novel told from a Latinx perspective, based on the author’s own family experiences. Here’s what critics and early readers have said:
“The Wind Called My Name opens minds, warms the heart, and renews our faith in one another.” –Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Medal-winning author of Moon Over Manifest and Navigating Early
“A hopeful historical story with a strong heroine.” —Booklist
“A beautifully touching story of family, culture, and resiliency.” –Christina Diaz Gonzalez, author of The Red Umbrella and Moving TargetContinue reading →