As the United States continues to feel the ripple effects of its family separation policy, caretakers are tasked with the difficult job of helping young people make sense of what’s happening—a tall order when we often struggle to understand ourselves. Adults may feel an initial impulse to shield children from today’s news, but we know that this is not a solution, and may instead contribute to more confusion and fear.
So, how can we address this topic in a respectful, honest, and age-appropriate way? Here are a few tips:
Today we’re excited to announce the release of our new title, Every Month is a New Year: Celebrations Around the World, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Susan L. Roth. In many places around the globe, the new year starts on January 1. But not everywhere! Chinese New Year is celebrated in January or February. Iranians observe Nowruz in March. For Thai people, Songkran occurs in April. Ethiopians greet the new year at Enkutatash in September. All these celebrations, and many others, have deep-rooted traditions and treasured customs.
The holiday season is upon us and we feel lucky to be surrounded by people that want to share in the togetherness and love that accompanies the colder months of the year, which is why we’re excited to share this roundup of books that teach about empathy.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, empathy is “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” Books allow us to put ourselves in another person’s (literary) shoes, and show readers how characters relate and navigate the relationships they have with others.
November is Native American Heritage Month! Native American Heritage Month evolved from the efforts of various individuals at the turn of the 20th century who tried to get a day of recognition for Native Americans. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a resolution that appointed November as Native American Heritage Month. You can learn more about Native American Heritage Month here.
For many years, Native people were silenced and their stories were set aside, hidden, or drowned out. That’s why it’s especially important to read stories about Native characters, told in Native voices. Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with this updated list of books by Native writers: Continue reading
Santiago Montoya is LEE & LOW’s summer intern and a recipient of the We Need Diverse Books Internship Program grant. A rising junior at Brandeis University, Santiago is majoring in Hispanic Studies and Sociology with minors in Comparative Literature & Culture and Legal Studies. He is originally from Medellín, Colombia, but moved to the US permanently to complete his education. He occasionally goes back to Colombia to reconnect with his roots and his loved ones. LEE & LOW’s title Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia was the inspiration for this blog post because it reminded him of an important quality of being Latino, which is family and togetherness. Continue reading
Released this month from LEE & LOW BOOKS, Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! is a picture book biograpy of James VanDerZee, a groundbreaking photographer who chronicled an important era in Harlem and showed the beauty and pride of its people. He took photographs of legendary figures of the Harlem Renaissance—politicians such as Marcus Garvey, performers including Florence Mills, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and Mamie Smith—and ordinary folks in the neighborhood too.
We asked illustrator Keith Mallett to take us behind the scenes of his art process bringing Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee to life: Continue reading
April is Jazz Appreciation Month, so we wanted to highlight our picture book Rent Party Jazz, by William Miller, illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb. Continue reading
Today we are pleased to share this guest post from Librarian and Diversity Coordinator Laura Reiko Simeon on the power of book covers.
As February comes to an end, we round out Black History Month with a spotlight on William “Doc” Key, a self-taught veterinarian who taught his horse Jim Key how to read, write, and calculate math problems. Teaching a horse these skills might sound preposterous, but Doc was able to nurture Jim’s ability through kindness, patience, and empathy. Together they traveled throughout the United States and impressed audiences with Jim’s amazing performances. In the process, they broke racial barriers and raised awareness for the humane treatment of animals.
Here’s what Donna Janell Bowman, author of Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, had to say about William “Doc” Key’s legacy and the amazing duo’s story:
February is Black History Month and while we think it’s great to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions made by African Americans, we also believe that Black history is American history and should be celebrated and taught all year long. But this month can be a great time to shine a spotlight on favorite books or freshen up a dated collection with new titles. Here are ten of our favorite Black History Month Books for middle school: Continue reading