While the term “social justice” may seem overly complex or political to adults, young people are deeply attuned to concepts of equality and fairness and how these play out within their homes, classrooms, and communities.
Children’s books are an excellent entry point into units on social justice and social activism. Narrative nonfiction provides models of real people who have stood up for what’s right; fiction provides opportunities for discussion about difficult choices and character traits like courage, persistence, and respect.
Below are some of our favorite social justice books for middle school and high school that allow young readers to build an understanding of social justice and activism in the context of gender, socioeconomic status, race, or the environment:
In this guest post, Natasha Thomas, senior at Princeton University, discusses the importance of studying East Asia past and present. Thomas proposes creating a diverse collection that shows the multiple ethnic groups and tensions that contributed to the development of such influential cultures and helps American students understand this region with a rich, complicated history rather than the monolith it’s often portrayed as.
The Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 2.0) was created by Lee & Low Books with co-authors Laura M. Jiménez, PhD, Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and Betsy Beckert, graduate student in the Language and Literacy Department of Wheelock College of Education & Human Development
Lee & Low Books released the first Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 1.0) in 2015. Before the DBS, people suspected publishing had a diversity problem, but without hard numbers, the extent of that problem was anyone’s guess. Our goal was to survey publishing houses and review journals regarding the racial, gender, sexual orientation, and ability makeup of their employees; establish concrete statistics about the diversity of the publishing workforce; and then build on this information by reissuing the survey every four years. Through these long-term efforts, we would be able to track what progress our industry shows over time in improving representation and inclusion. Continue reading
It’s the start of a new decade, and what better way to launch into the new year than to check out new and exciting books coming out in 2020! Here’s a sneak peek of our Winter and Spring 2020 titles ranging from boogie-down picture books to magic-filled middle grade.
It’s already the end of the year! A time to look back on the accomplishments and achievements earned in 2019. We have a lot to celebrate including the new titles that hit the shelves this year as well as the new authors who are putting their voices and stories to the forefront. For this blog post, we wanted to take the time to recognize some of our top-awarded titles of the year! Continue reading
Join us for a critical webinar on Wednesday, January 15th at 4:00 PM EST about using children’s literature and nonfiction to teach about slavery. We will discuss and demonstrate with award-winning titles to support your approach in teaching this complex, under-taught period of American history, with special focus on historical accuracy and culturally responsiveness. Katie Potter, Lee & Low’s Literacy Specialist, Dr. Amanda Vickery, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at the University of North Texas, and Dr. Noreen Naseem-Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Elementary Social Studies at Iowa State University, will discuss different pedagogical approaches, classroom activities, and books that approach slavery in elementary and middle school spaces so that teachers, librarians, and other professionals are aware of harmful stereotypes and inaccurate information when teaching about slavery.
Social and Emotional Learning is the process in which people of all ages recognize and manage emotions, make appropriate decisions, behave ethically and responsibly, develop and maintain positive relationships, and avoid negative behaviors.
Social and Emotional Learning strategies are important, but books that show characters demonstrating these strategies further emphasize the need for these positive actions inside and outside of the classroom.
Check out our social and emotional learning books roundup for elementary school below and find more social and emotional learning titles in our Social and Emotional Learning Diverse Reading List.
Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for our webinar, “Using Children’s Books to Approach Trauma-Informed Education”. If you missed it live, or just want to watch it again, here is a recording of the webinar:
In this guest blog post, educator Lindsay Barrett discusses the power and importance in having diverse books and mentors. Jill Eisenberg, director of curriculum and literacy strategy at Lee & Low Books, also discusses the role of diverse books in mentoring programs for developing readers. This blog post first appeared on Reading Partners.
In this guest blog post, Dr. Lisa Pinkerton, the Marie Clay Endowed Chair in Reading Recovery® and Early Literacy at The Ohio State University, discusses the importance of expanding diverse stories for young readers in Reading Recovery®.
I have long admired Lee & Low Books and their mission to publish contemporary diverse stories that all children can enjoy. As a Reading Recovery® trainer, imagine my delight to discover that Lee & Low Books is now on the RRCNA booklist!