Tag Archives: author interview

The Importance of Black Joy in Children’s Books: A Conversation with Kelly J. Baptist and Darnell Johnson

A few years ago, conversations surrounding the importance of joyful books that feature Black characters finally started to pick up steam. Though BIPOC readers, specifically Black readers, have noticed the lack of joyful diverse books for some time, publishing is finally getting to a  place of recognition that Black characters are more than just oppression and a teaching moment for outside readers. BIPOC are just like everyone else with varied lived experiences that aren’t always rooted in pain. In this guest blog post, we hear from author Kelly J. Baptist and illustrator Darnell Johnson to discuss the importance of Black joy in children’s books and how that translated into their newest title The Electric Slide and Kai.

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Upcoming Spring 2021 Tea Time Talks: Meet Our Editors and Authors

Tea Time Talks

Curious about the ins-and-outs of the editorial process? Join us for our Spring 2021 Tea Time Talks  between our authors and editors!

In these short, casual conversations, get a behind-the-scenes look at our publishing process as our Lee & Low editors share a (virtual) cup of tea with their authors. Hear them describe the initial inspiration and the development process, discuss questions that came up during the editing, and reflect on decisions they made.

Join us live, or register for a link to watch the recordings later!

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Defining Activism and Allyship: An Interview with Laleña Garcia and Caryn Davidson

What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Activity Book is a collaboration between Laleña Garcia, who identifies as Black, and Caryn Davidson, who identifies as white. After learning author Laleña Garcia’s story behind What We Believe, we asked the author and illustrator to share a bit about their partnership, and how they define the role of activist and ally.

What We BelieveHow do you define activism?

Laleña Garcia: In my school, we talk about activists as people who work together with other people to make the world a better place. We emphasize the importance of collective action and solidarity, and that, even though we sometimes learn about one or two people — like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks — they had to work together with lots of other people to make change.

There’s a part of me that thinks that individual actions — like turning off the lights, recycling, or choosing to buy from BIPOC-owned businesses — is part of being a good, decent, human, but is maybe a little bit different from being an activist, but it’s not something I’m willing to have a fight about. If you’re organizing other people to do those things, or writing letters to people in power to get them to make changes, then I think it’s more like activism, because of the collective nature.

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The Story Behind What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Principles Activity Book

Laleña Garcia has taught in New York City early childhood education programs for more than twenty years. What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Principles Activity Book grew out of her work with Black Lives Matter in Schools, a teachers’ organization striving for racial equity in education. In this post, she shares more about how and why she developed this special project.

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Free Upcoming Webinar: Black Lives Matter in the Classroom

Learn about how to bring the Black Lives Matter movement into your school, classroom, library or home in this powerful discussion on Wednesday, January 20th at 4:00 PM ET.

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Upcoming September Tea Time Talks: Meet Our Editors and Authors

Tea Time Talks

Curious about the ins-and-outs of the editorial process? Join us for our September Tea Time Talks  between our authors and editors!

In these short, casual conversations, get a behind-the-scenes look at our publishing process as our Lee & Low editors share a (virtual) cup of tea with their authors. Hear them describe the initial inspiration and the development process, discuss questions that came up during the editing, and reflect on decisions they made.

Join us live, or register for a link to watch the recordings later!

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Interview: New Visions Award Winner Tracy Occomy Crowder

Recently, we announced that Tracy Occomy Crowder has won the seventh annual New Visions Award for her manuscript, Montgomery and the Case of the Golden Key. In this blog post, we ask Tracy about her inspiration behind her winning manuscript and her writing experience.

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An Interview with Hena Khan, Author of ‘Under My Hijab’

Today is the official release of Under My Hijabthe new picture book written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel. With cheerful rhyming text and charming illustrations, Under My Hijab provides a friendly introduction to hijabs for all readers, and celebrates the many Muslim women and girls who choose to wear them.

Under My Hijab Interview

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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

Interview: Author Janet Halfmann on Lilly Ann Granderson’s Legacy

Midnight TeacherToday is the release day of Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School, a picture book about the little-known story of Lilly Ann Granderson, an African-American teacher who risked her life to teach others during slavery. To celebrate, we interviewed author Janet Halfmann to find out more about the story behind Midnight Teacher.

Many of us have not heard of Lilly Ann Granderson’s story. How did you find out about her legacy? What inspired you to write about Lilly Ann Granderson?

I learned about it in bits and pieces. I have long been interested in early black educators, partly because so many books about teachers in the early schools for African Americans are about white teachers from the North. I wanted to shine the spotlight on an amazing early black teacher. The first mentions I found about Lilly Ann Granderson were under the name Milla Granson, the name used by a northern abolitionist who met this teacher and wrote about it in her book. Once I started researching, I learned that Lilly Ann Granderson was known as the Midnight Teacher because she held her secret classes from midnight until two in the morning. That fact made the story all the more intriguing to me, and I thought it would be for kids too. All accounts I found about this teacher ended shortly after the Civil War, so I am honored to have had the opportunity to flesh out Lilly Ann Granderson’s amazing and inspiring story and share it with the world.

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