We’re excited to celebrate the upcoming release of Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou, the first in-depth picture book biography of Maya Angelou, ahead of the fiftieth anniversary celebration of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarian–Maya Angelou’s life was marked by transformation and perseverance. In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethany Hegedus lyrically traces Maya’s life from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas, through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of the people.
Released earlier this month, Under My Hijab is a book that provides a friendly introduction to hijabs for all readers, and celebrates the many Muslim women and girls who choose to wear them. Debut illustrator Aaliya Jaleel took us behind the scenes of her creative process. Read on for more!
In this age of rigor, text complexity, and higher standards for younger and younger readers—why do wordless picture books continue to be so popular?
Wordless, or minimal-text, picture books:
- enable children to explore the art of storytelling and world-building
- are a wonderful medium for expression and creative thought
- are a natural introduction to inferencing, a metacognitive skill that is often taught in the later grades
- help readers practice reading facial cues and studying visual context clues for vocabulary and plot development
- engage visual learners or visually-motivated readers
- alleviate struggling readers who may feel overwhelmed by dense text and long print sections
- offer a launch pad to a lifelong love of other visually-rich formats, including comics and graphic novels
Why choose a wordless, or minimal-text, picture book for your next storytime?
Released this month from LEE & LOW BOOKS, Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! is a picture book biograpy of James VanDerZee, a groundbreaking photographer who chronicled an important era in Harlem and showed the beauty and pride of its people. He took photographs of legendary figures of the Harlem Renaissance—politicians such as Marcus Garvey, performers including Florence Mills, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and Mamie Smith—and ordinary folks in the neighborhood too.
We asked illustrator Keith Mallett to take us behind the scenes of his art process bringing Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee to life: Continue reading