New York, NY—Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, is thrilled to announce the results of its sixth annual New Visions Award for new authors of color. This year, Monica Zepeda has won the New Visions Award for her manuscript, Boys of the Beast. Michelle Jones Coles’ manuscript Woke received the New Visions Award Honor.
Established to increase the number of authors of color writing for children and teens, the New Visions Award is given to a middle grade or young adult manuscript by a new author of color or Native author. Winners receive a cash prize and a publishing contract with Lee & Low Books, a children’s book publisher specializing in diversity. Previous winners include Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani, named one of the Best Books of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, and Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar, named a Notable Social Studies Trade Book.
Looking for the best books to gift teen readers? Check out our suggestions below for intriguing, electrifying, diverse books for the teens in your life!
And if you missed our gift guide for younger children, you can find our gift recommendations for children ages 0-5 here and our recommendations for children ages 6-12 here.
Last October was the release of Ahimsa by New Visions Award winner Supriya Kelkar. Inspired by her great-grandmother’s experience working with Gandhi, Kelkar shines a light on the Indian freedom movement in this poignant middle grade novel.
In 1942, after Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle. But it turns out he isn’t the one joining. Anjali’s mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use “ahimsa”—non-violent resistance—to stand up to the British government.
Accompanying this title is the Ahimsa Teacher’s Guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions on the Indian freedom movement, colonialism, civil disobedience, and the connection to the civil rights movement in the United States. Our teacher’s guide also features summary and background information, prereading and discussion questions, ideas for reader’s response and writing activities, strategies for ESL/ELL, and interdisciplinary activities and connections. Below we’ve shared a few prereading questions, discussion questions, and resources from the Ahimsa teacher’s guide. Continue reading
In this blog post, our Literacy Specialist, Katie Potter, discusses how educators can use texts, like Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, to keep lessons fresh and engaging.
Out with the old, in with the new? How about—supplement and complement the old with the new?
When I read our middle grade novel, Step up to the Plate, Maria Singh, I was immediately reminded of In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson that I read with my fifth-grade literature circle in NYC (and in middle school almost 20 years ago!) and the challenges teachers face to make required core texts fresh and relevant to students, especially when a text (no matter how many awards) may “feel” old to students.
Last month was the release of I Am Alfonso Jones written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings. In this book, Alfonso Jones can’t wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school’s hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.
When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.
Accompanying our title is the I Am Alfonso Jones teacher’s guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions of race, racism, and social justice in the classroom. Our teacher’s guide also features summary and background information, prereading and discussion questions, ideas for reader’s response and writing activities, strategies for ESL/ELL, and interdisciplinary activities and connections. Below we’ve gathered a few prereading questions, discussion questions, activities, and resources from the I Am Alfonso Jones teacher’s guide.
Today, we are proud to release I Am Alfonso Jones, a heartbreaking exploration of the Black Lives Matter movement and the impact that police brutality has on families, young people, and communities. Written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings, this title offers a powerful entry to discussion as well as essential historical context to today’s discussions on police brutality. Below is the powerful foreword by Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy.
Today is the release day of Rebel Seoul, the New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut by Axie Oh! When Lee Jaewon is assigned to partner with supersoldier Tera in Neo Seoul’s top weapons development division, he must decide where he stands: with the people his rebel father protected or with the totalitarian government that claims it will end all war.
To celebrate today’s release, we asked author Axie Oh about her writing process, the inspiration behind Rebel Seoul, and her advice to aspiring authors.
Pacific Rim meets Korean dramas in Rebel Seoul, the electrifying new sci-fi thriller out this September from the Tu Books imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS. When Jaewon is recruited into the most lucrative weapons development division in Neo Seoul, he’s eager to claim his best shot at military glory. His objective is simple: report on Tera, the test subject in the government’s supersoldier project. But when he becomes Tera’s partner and starts to fall for her, Jaewon begins to question his loyalty to an oppressive regime. He must decide where he stands: with the people, or the totalitarian government that claims to end all war.
We asked Tu Books editor and publisher Stacy Whitman to take us through the process of bringing the cover of Rebel Seoul to life:
LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! To recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today and hear from the authors and illustrators.
Today, we are celebrating Tankborn by Karen Sandler. First published in 2011, Tankborn was one of the original launch books for our Tu Books Imprint, which publishes diverse middle grade and young adult literature. Since its launch, Tu has published nearly 20 titles for older readers featuring diverse characters, stories, and worlds. Tu Books also established the New Visions Award, an annual writing contest for unpublished authors of color (and today is the deadline for submitting your manuscript!). Continue reading