Category Archives: Musings & Ponderings

Native American Heritage Month: Our Favorite Children’s Books by Native Authors

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

The Book So Good He Stole It: Our Intern on “Family Pictures”

summer 2017 internSantiago 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

Illustrator Keith Mallett Takes Us Behind the Art of Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee!

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

Rent Party Jazz Activities and Teaching Resources

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

Judging Books by Their Covers

Today we are pleased to share this guest post from LGuest Bloggeribrarian and Diversity Coordinator Laura Reiko Simeon on the power of book covers.

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Black History Month Spotlight: William “Doc” Key

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:

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8 Black History Month Books for Middle School

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

10 Black History Month Books for Grades 3-6

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 third grade through sixth grade: Continue reading

Five Inspiring Reads from Around the Web

Between the news, the changing administration, and the constant fight for rights and equality, we know that we’ll experience some trying times ahead. But if nothing else, protests across the country and the world indicate that people will fight for their basic human rights and the human rights of others. To stay inspired, we’ve gathered five of our favorite reads from around the web.

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Book List: 7 Children’s Books About Immigration

For many people, the United States is the beacon of hope, a place to live the “American Dream.” From the first Irish immigrants who arrived in the early 19th century to the current refugees trying to escape their war-torn countries, the United States was and continues to be shaped by the different cultures and groups that come to live a better life. With the recent political rhetoric and the increase in anti-immigrant sentiment, it’s now more important than ever to not see an “us versus them” situation, but rather to celebrate the differences that actually make America great. In this book list, we’ve rounded up seven of our titles that are about the immigrant experience, and encourage readers to be accepting of all people from different backgrounds.

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