Category Archives: Tu Books

Anything related to our Tu Books imprint, publishing books for older readers with a focus on speculative fiction.

An Interview with Award-Winning YA Author Guadalupe García McCall

guadalupe garcia mccallAuthor 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 OdysseySummer 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

G. Neri on the Inspiration Behind Grand Theft Horse: “Gail’s a Superhero to Me”

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 graphicGrand Theft Horse 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.

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Authors Guadalupe García McCall and David Bowles on the Mexicanx Initiative at WorldCon

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.

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Most of the Mexicanx Initiative takes the stage at the beginning of WorldCon.

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.

It was a gamechanging moment.

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Cover Reveal: Cat Girl’s Day Off

Released in 2012, Cat Girl’s Day Off introduces readers to Natalie (Nat) Ng, a typical teenager…except for the fact that she can talk to cats, which she tries very hard to hide. When one of her best friends, Oscar, shows her a viral Internet video featuring a famous blogger being attacked by her own cat, Nat realizes what’s really going on. Soon her and her friends are caught in the middle of a celebrity kidnapping mystery that takes them through Ferris Bueller’s Chicago and on and off movie sets.

Now we’re excited to release a new paperback version of Cat Girl’s Day Off.  Check out the new cover below! Continue reading

Interview: David Bowles + Guadalupe García McCall on Translating a Novel Into Spanish

Six years ago, we released Summer of the Mariposas from our Tu Books imprint. Set in Texas, Summer of the Mariposas is a Mexican retelling of the Odyssey, but it’s also a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love. It went on to win numerous awards, including the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Finalist, Lone Star Reading List, and the Amelia Bloomer Project – Feminist Task Force.

Now, we’re excited to say that this beautiful story has been translated into Spanish! We’re releasing El verano de las mariposas this May, and it will be our first young adult novel to be translated into Spanish. We interviewed author Guadalupe García McCall and translator David Bowles on the translation process, what it was like working together, and their upcoming projects. Continue reading

Teacher’s Guide for Ahimsa Now Available

Ahimsa Cover ImageLast October was the release of Ahimsa by New Visions Award winner Supriya Kelkar. Inspired by her great-grandmother’s experience working with Gandhi, Kelkar shines a light on the Indian freedom movement in this poignant middle grade novel.

In 1942, after Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle. But it turns out he isn’t the one joining. Anjali’s mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use “ahimsa”—non-violent resistance—to stand up to the British government.

Accompanying this title is the Ahimsa Teacher’s Guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions on the Indian freedom movement, colonialism, civil disobedience, and the connection to the civil rights movement in the United States. Our teacher’s guide also features summary and background information, prereading and discussion questions, ideas for reader’s response and writing activities, strategies for ESL/ELL, and interdisciplinary activities and connections. Below we’ve shared a few prereading questions, discussion questions, and resources from the Ahimsa teacher’s guide. Continue reading

Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Middle School

While reading books with children will help them better prepare for school and opens their minds to new cultures and experiences, it’s important to keep cultivating that love of reading into middle school. Exposing children to both “mirror” and “window” books—that is, books in which they can see themselves, and books in which they can learn about others—is the best way to create engaged readers and support social and emotional growth.

Lee & Low Books offers hundreds of great books for middle schoolers. Our books include English, Spanish, and bilingual titles; books about many different cultures; books that span a wide range of subjects and themes; and both fiction and nonfiction. Browse our middle school classroom collections to see what we have to offer, and check out our other book lists by grade:

While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are 10 of our absolute favorite diverse books for middle school!

Favorite Multicultural Books for middle school
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The Role of Cultural Experts and Sensitivity Readers

After her recent interview about sensitivity readers in the New York Times, Editorial Director and Publisher of Tu Books, Stacy Whitman, further discusses the role of cultural experts and sensitivity readers and the important part they play in the editorial process.

Over the last several months, outlets like the New York Times have started discussions of the use in publishing of what are now being called sensitivity readers—what we here at Lee and Low have called cultural experts. In particular, the New York Times framed their take on the subject as a question of censorship. The current headline reads, “In an Era of Online Outrage, Do Sensitivity Readers Result in Better Books, or Censorship?” which is updated from the print version, “Sensitivity or Censorship? The Vetting of Children’s Books in an Era of Outrage.”

I’m not sure that the update changes the framing, which still implies that what should be a standard part of the editorial process is somehow a form of censorship.

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Book Pairing: In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson + Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

Step Up to the Plate, Maria SinghIn this blog post, our Literacy Specialist, Katie Potter, discusses how educators can use texts, like Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, to keep lessons fresh and engaging.

Out with the old, in with the new? How about—supplement and complement the old with the new?

When I read our middle grade novel, Step up to the Plate, Maria SinghI was immediately reminded of In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson that I read with my fifth-grade literature circle in NYC (and in middle school almost 20 years ago!) and the challenges teachers face to make required core texts fresh and relevant to students, especially when a text (no matter how many awards) may “feel” old to students.

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Read Bryan Stevenson’s Foreword for I AM ALFONSO JONES

I AM ALFONSO JONES cover imageToday, we are proud to release I Am Alfonso Jones, a heartbreaking exploration of the Black Lives Matter movement and the impact that police brutality has on families, young people, and communities. Written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings, this title offers a powerful entry to discussion as well as essential historical context to today’s discussions on police brutality. Below is the powerful foreword by Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy.

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