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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Free Upcoming Webinar: Guided Reading Tips & Strategies for Beginning Readers

Guided Reading Tips Webinar
Need to freshen up your Guided Reading block at the beginning of the school year? Are you looking for more ideas to incorporate in your small reading groups with your early readers? Join Katie Potter, Lee & Low’s Literacy Specialist, for the Guided Reading in Kindergarten Webinar as she breaks down and discusses Jen Serravallo’s Reading Conferences with Your Beginning Readers. Learn about strategies and techniques to use with your readers at Fountas and Pinnell Levels A, B, and C, and watch her model with some of our beloved Bebop Books!

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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

How to Use Pictures to Help Students Read in Kindergarten

In the third post of our Reading Conferences with Beginning Readers blog series, renowned literacy expert Jennifer Serravallo shares how to use pictures to help children read text. This post is taken from our free, downloadable “Success Starts Early: Reading Conferences with Your Beginning Readers” guide.

Teaching valuable reading skills and behaviors is essential in the beginning of kindergarten. When children start to read and engage with texts at levels A, B, and C, they need to know different strategies to use when they come to a word they don’t know or have to figure out what’s happening in the story.

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Exploring Children's Books Through the Lens of Diversity