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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Watch the Webinar: Guided Reading in Kindergarten

Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for our webinar, “Guided Reading in Kindergarten”! If you missed it live (or just want to watch again), here is a recording of the webinar:

Click below for Jennifer Serravallo’s Reading Conferences with Your Beginning Readers document and a one-hour professional development certificate. You can also learn more about Bebop Books and our leveled reading collections by clicking below.

Reading Conferences with Your Beginning Readers
Professional Development Certificate
Bebop Books
Leveled Reading Collections

Have additional questions or comments? Please leave them below in the comments!

An Interview with Mary Louise Sanchez, Author of The Wind Called My Name

The Wind Called My NameToday we celebrate the release of The Wind Called My Name, the new middle grade historical fiction novel by Mary Louise Sanchez! Set in Wyoming during the Great Depression, The Wind Called My Name is a frontier novel told from a Latinx perspective, based on the author’s own family experiences. Here’s what critics and early readers have said:

The Wind Called My Name opens minds, warms the heart, and renews our faith in one another.” –Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Medal-winning author of Moon Over Manifest and Navigating Early

A hopeful historical story with a strong heroine.” —Booklist

A beautifully touching story of family, culture, and resiliency.” –Christina Diaz Gonzalez, author of The Red Umbrella and Moving Target Continue reading

The Power of Athlete Activists: Making Connections in the Classroom

Athletes have the power and ability to inspire social action, even though they may face criticism that their work should be “left on the field.” Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, began #takeaknee by kneeling for the national anthem during an NFL football game in 2017. When people questioned him about his intentions, he stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a country that oppresses black people and people of color…”.

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The Whiteness of PBS’s Great American Read

The Great American Read

Last night, PBS announced the winner of their Great American Read, a poll to determine “America’s Favorite Novel.” The winner was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a story about racial tolerance that received 242,275 votes from a total of nearly 4.3 million cast.

According to PBS, the top 100 books were chosen by using the public opinion polling service “YouGov” to conduct “a demographically and statistically representative survey asking Americans to name their most-loved novel.” Once the Top 100 list was established, voting was opened to everyone to determine the winner and rankings of all 100 titles.

Given our focus on diversity and inclusion, we wondered how representative the list looked when compared to America’s demographics. Were authors of color represented? How did their books fare in the poll? Continue reading

Illustrator Ken Min Takes Us Behind the Art of Benji, the Bad Day, and Me

Released earlier this month, Benji, the Bad Day, and Me is about one of the rottenest, worst days that Sammy has ever had. His little brother, Benji, knows exactly what that’s like. In this tender story about siblings, author Sally J. Pla’s shares her experience of raising sons on different parts of the wide spectrum of neurodiversity. We asked illustrator Ken Min to take us behind the scenes of his art process bringing Benji, the Bad Day, and Me to life:
benji, the bad day, and me

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Using Children’s Books to Address Anxiety in Schools

There are many different factors behind why anxiety and depression have increased in children in recent years: limitations on free play, social media use, the current state of the political climate in this country, and more. According to a study about the lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in adolescents (ages 13-18) from the United States, nearly one in three fit the criteria for an anxiety disorder. The Center for Disease Control found that 32% of teens reported persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness in a study that ranged from 2007 to 2017. Mental health awareness is crucial for all of us, and it needs to be discussed with children starting at an early age.

Books are a great way to bring up these topics to let children know that it’s okay to talk about these things, especially through the lens of a beloved character or riveting storyline. Continue reading

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki

This month, Lee & Low Books will mark the 25th anniversary of its Baseball Saved Usfirst book release, Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki and illustrated by Dom Lee. With over half a million copies sold, this groundbreaking picture book about a young boy playing baseball in a Japanese American Internment Camp continues to be one of the company’s most popular and bestselling books.
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7 Children’s Books That Transcend Hispanic Heritage Month

In this guest post, New York Public Library Head of Teen Services Elisa Garcia shares some of her favorite titles for fostering conversation and dialogue during Hispanic Heritage Month and BEYOND. Welcome, Elisa!

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated September 15- October 15. While it is great that these days are solely dedicated to celebrating and highlighting Hispanic Heritage, in public libraries part of our mission is to ensure that our collections reflect the diversity of our users and that culture and diversity are celebrated year round! The following recommended titles are valuable additions to our library collection that not only celebrate the diversity of Latinx culture, but can be used year-round to celebrate culture and diversity of all peoples. Continue reading

Watch the Webinar: Teaching Tough Topics with Children’s Literature

Thank you to everyone who joined us this week for our webinar, “Teaching Tough Topics with Children’s Literature”! If you missed it live (or just want to watch again), here is a recording of the webinar:


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Exploring Children's Books Through the Lens of Diversity