Tag Archives: environmentalism

Beyond “Did you know…”: Teaching Geo-Literacy Using the Vanishing Cultures Book Series

JillJill_Eisenberg Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Vanishing Cultures: Mongolia
Vanishing Cultures: Mongolia

Last week on the blog we spotlighted the work of Jan Reynolds, an author and explorer who has written nonfiction for young readers about cultures across the globe. If we had read the Vanishing Cultures series when I was a classroom teacher, my students would have been competing with each other over who knew the most outrageous fact. Did you know the Tiwi, an aboriginal tribe from an island off the coast of Australia, eat mangrove worms fresh? Did you know the Inuit from the Hudson Bay build rock piles that are stacked to look like men in order to scare caribou toward the real Inuit hunters?

My students loved to play the “did you know…” game. That became a popular sentence starter in our classroom. Students would scramble for the latest book or periodical on animals, prehistoric times, and exotic locales. The peregrine falcon, megalodon, and the giant panda were unshakable favorites.

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Raising Global Citizens: Jan Reynolds Author Study

Today’s world is smaller than ever, and as technology continues to advance it will only get smaller. Raising students for success means teaching them how to be global citizens, emphasizing cultural literacy and geoliteracy, and exposing them to people whose lives differ from theirs.

Jan Reynolds
For this, there’s no better author than Jan Reynolds. Reynolds is a writer, photographer, and adventurer who has written over fourteen nonfiction books for children about her travels. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including National Geographic, The New York Times, and Outside Magazine. Reynolds is an avid skier, mountain climber, and adventurer who holds the record for women’s high altitude skiing, was part of the first expedition to circumnavigate Mount Everest, and performed a solo crossing of the Himalayas.

Throughout April, we’ll be exploring how Jan’s books can be used in the classroom to teach about the environment, geoliteracy, global citizenship, and nonfiction. Today, we wanted to share Jan’s books and some of our favorite resources available to help teach them:

Jan Reynolds
image from Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life

Jan’s Books:
Vanishing Cultures: Sahara (North Africa)
Vanishing Cultures: Mongolia (Mongolia)

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Resources For Teaching About Wangari Maathai and Seeds Of Change

Jill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Seeds of Change cover
Seeds Of Change

In honor of Wangari Maathai’s birthday on Tuesday, April 1 and upcoming Earth Day later this month, we at Lee & Low Books want to share all the fantastic resources and ideas that are available to educators who are teaching about Wangari Maathai’s legacy and using Seeds Of Change: Planting a Path to Peace.

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SNEAK PEEK: Parrots Over Puerto Rico

Iguaca! Iguaca! 

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Puerto Rican parrot!

Out in October, we’re excited to give you a sneak peek at Parrots Over Puerto Rico!

Parrots Over Puerto Rico
Puerto Rican parrots

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Unpacking the Common Core Standards Horizontally: Informational Text

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about the importance of looking at the standards horizontally as well as vertically, and in this final installment in the series, I’m going to do just that as I walk you through what effective close reading questioning can look like, unpacking one strand at a time using texts of varying complexities.  Last up:

READING STANDARDS FOR INFORMATIONAL TEXT K-3, Craft and Structure, Strand 5

LIVING-IN-AN-IGLOO

In Kindergarten, the strand reads:  Identify the front cover, back cover, and title page of a book.

Example text:  Living in an Igloo by Jan Reynolds

genre: informational text

Strand-specific questions:

  • Point to the front cover of the book.  What information can you find on the front cover of the book?  Why is that information important?
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The biggest full moon of the year

In our busy day-to-day life, certain things often slip by unnoticed. When is the last time you stepped outside to admire a full moon?

A Full Moon is Rising image

If you can’t remember the last time you admired the moon, tomorrow night is the night to do it. Thanks to the fact that our lunar neighbor will be especially close to Earth (a mere 221,802 miles away!), tomorrow’s moon is expected to be the biggest, brightest full moon of the year, also known as a supermoon.

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Earth Day 2012: Saving the Pufflings

This is a post from our marketing intern, Maryann Yin:

Everyone at the Lee & Low office has become quite enamored with pufflings since the release of our spring title, Puffling Patrol. Without this book, we probably never would pufflingshave learned about these adorable baby birds because they don’t really appear alongside the pigeons of New York City. In the last five years, the puffin population on the Westman Islands in Iceland has decreased sharply due to environmental changes and global warming. Inspired by the child activists that star in the book and with Earth Day approaching, we started wondering about what we can do to ensure that puffins continue to be part of our world ecosystem.

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The Meaning of Diversity Becomes More Diverse

Since the company was founded in 1991, diversity at LEE & LOW has been defined by ethnicity. Our focus has always been on multicultural stories that explore racial and cultural diversity, from remembering the experiences of past generations to reflecting on the world in which we live today.

For the first time in twenty-five years, our mission is expanding to include themes outside the conversation of race. Here are three new books that charted new territory for us:

Irena’s Jars of Secrets (Fall 2011)Irena's Jars of Secret
The riveting, true story of Polish social worker Irena Sendler, who lived during World War II. Using creative means, and at great personal risk, she saved thousands of Jewish children from Hitler’s Nazis by smuggling the children out of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Why we published this story: In 1997, we published a book called Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story, about a Japanese diplomat who defied his government during World War II to help thousands of Jewish refugees elude the Germans. While the themes of Irena’s Jars of Secrets and Passage to Freedom are similar, acts of extreme heroism for the sake of others are rare, timeless, and worth celebrating. Another reason Irena Sendler’s story spoke to us was the chilling fact that although nearly seventy years have passed since World War II ended, crimes of genocide continue into the twenty-first century. We felt that young readers should know about Irena Sendler as someone who stood for justice and compassion in times like these, and we discovered there were no other picture books that told her story. (Note: One season before our book was published, another book on Irena was released, so now there are two picture books about her.)

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Free webinar with Jan Reynolds, live from Bali!


Cycle of rice photograph from BaliOur very own author/adventurer/world record-breaker Jan Reynolds will be hosting a live, free webinar this Friday from Bali, the site of her award-winning book, Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life: A Story of Sustainable Farming.Cycle of Rice photo 1

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Remembering Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai

“We have tried to instill in [young people] the idea that protecting the environment is not just a pleasure but also a duty.” -Wangari Maathai

This weekend marked the too-soon passing of Wangari Maathai. Maathai was the great mind behind Kenya’s Green-Belt movement, which trained women throughout Kenya to plant trees, addressing Kenya’s environmental problems and empowering women at the same time. For her groundbreaking work, Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize – the first environmentalist and the first African woman to do so.

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