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.
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.
We had the largest virtual turnout ever for last week’s webinar, “Black Lives Matter in the Classroom: A Conversation with Experts” with Laleña Garcia and Caryn Davidson, author and illustrator of What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Principles Activity Book, and Jesse Hagopian and Denisha Jones, co-authors of Black Lives Matter at School. And as promised, the recording is finally here! 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.
Laleña Garcia has taught in New York City early childhood education programs for more than twenty years. What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Principles Activity Book grew out of her work with Black Lives Matter in Schools, a teachers’ organization striving for racial equity in education. In this post, she shares more about how and why she developed this special project.
Learn about how to bring the Black Lives Matter movement into your school, classroom, library or home in this powerful discussion on Wednesday, January 20th at 4:00 PM ET.
JAN REYNOLDS is an award-winning author and photographer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including National Geographic, The New York Times, and Outside magazine. Her nonfiction books for young readers include Celebrate! Connections Among Cultures; Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life; and Only the Mountains Do Not Move. She also holds the world record for women’s high altitude skiing, was part of the first expedition to circumnavigate Mount Everest, and performed a solo crossing of the Himalayas.
Jan’s newest picture book, The Lion Queens of India, follows a group of female park rangers in Gir, India who are tasked with protecting the endangered Asiatic lion. In this interview, we talk with Jan about writing the book and her life traveling the globe in search of stories and connections. Continue reading
We had a great virtual turnout for last week’s webinar, “A Discussion of Contemporary Native Children’s Literature” with authors Traci Sorell (Indian No More) and Carla Messinger (When the Shadbush Blooms). 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.