Last 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
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!
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.
In 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 Singh, I 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.
Today, 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.
Today we are pleased to welcome two fabulous authors to our blog, Cynthia Leitich Smith and Uma Krishnaswami, for a discussion about writing and reading humor. Welcome, Cynthia and Uma!
New York Comic Con is next weekend (Oct. 5-8) and we couldn’t be more excited! If you’ll be there, be sure to stop by booth #1140 and say hello. We’ll have some great giveaways (including an amazing EXCLUSIVE poster) from Tu Books and you’ll also get to meet the creators of I Am Alfonso Jones, Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings.
If you don’t have tickets to New York Comic Con, you can still join the celebrations! We have two book launch events lined up for I Am Alfonso Jones next week, both free and open to the public.
Join us at Poets House in conjunction with Kweli Journal and at the Langston Hughes House in conjunction with I, Too Arts Collective. See below for our full schedule of events!
Last week was the release of Rebel Seoul, the New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut by Axie Oh! If you’ve read Rebel Seoul (and if you haven’t what are you waiting for?), then there’s no denying the influence of Korean action dramas in Oh’s novel. So for those of you who want to know more about Korean dramas and films (or for those of you who can’t get enough), Axie Oh created this amazing list of Korean dramas and films for everyone to watch.
Today is the release day of Rebel Seoul, the New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut by Axie Oh! When Lee Jaewon is assigned to partner with supersoldier Tera in Neo Seoul’s top weapons development division, he must decide where he stands: with the people his rebel father protected or with the totalitarian government that claims it will end all war.
To celebrate today’s release, we asked author Axie Oh about her writing process, the inspiration behind Rebel Seoul, and her advice to aspiring authors.
The New Visions Award is open to all authors of color who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel or graphic novel published. The winner receives a cash prize of $2000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first writingtime author. An Honor winner will receive a cash prize of $1000.
In general, we are looking for novels and graphic novels for young readers that have a strong voice, a commercial hook with a strong institutional appeal, and an entrancing plot. Check out the archives of our webinar on preparing your manuscript for more specific information on what we’re looking for in the craft department. Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions: Continue reading