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 Julieta from Julieta and the Diamond Enigma (plus…recipes for blueberry pancakes and elotes!)

In this interview with the sweet and spunky Julieta from Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendáriz, the nine-year-old titular character talks about her love of elotes and blueberry pancakes (with recipes to share!), her favorite art piece in the Louvre, and her excitement for the reopening of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

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Lee & Low Books Announces 2020 New Visions Award Winner

After this week’s sad news about our co-founder, we are happy to be able to share some happy news to end the week!

Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, is thrilled to announce the results of its seventh annual New Visions Award for new authors of color. This year, Tracy Occomy Crowder has won the New Visions Award for her manuscript, Montgomery and the Case of the Golden Key.

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Interview: Author Sherry Thomas on Mulan and Writing The Magnolia Sword

magnolia swordReleased last week, The Magnolia Sword is 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

Diverse Summer Reading Recommendations for Grades 6-8

Summer Reading List

We’re closing out our Summer Reading “For Fans Of” series with our last age group, grades 6 to 8! In our last post, we posed some questions that could ask to get kids thinking across their texts to keep their brains energized during the summer. Additional questions and probes are listed below:

  • How did the authors use symbolism in their books? What were some of the symbols in the two books? Did they relate in any way? Why or why not?
  • Did the main characters change over the course of the books? How?
  • What big lesson did you learn from this book? How did that impact you?

See our Diverse Summer Reading List for the full list of titles from grades PreK to grade 8. Continue reading

Cover Reveal: Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell

We’re excited to reveal the full cover for Indian No More, a moving middle grade novel about Regina, a ten-year-old Umpqua girl, whose family is forced to relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles during the Indian termination era of the 1950s. Written by the late Charlene Willing McManis, and completed by author Traci Sorell, Indian No More (September 2019) draws upon Charlene’s own tribal history and we are so excited to see it all coming together!

In this blog post, editor Elise McMullen-Ciotti dives into the symbolism and meaning behind the cover of Indian No More and how the cover came to be.

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Sneak Peek: Lee & Low’s Spring 2019 Titles

It’s the new year, and what better way to bring in the new year than to check out new and exciting books coming out in 2019! Here’s a sneak peek of our Winter and Spring 2019 titles ranging from delightful picture books to heart-pounding middle grade.

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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