Tuesday, September 2, 2014

We want diverse books

The Loft asked me for a blog post about diversity in kidlit:

“It’s so easy as an adult to fall into rigid and boring habits of mind about what young people “need” from us—as if all we had to offer was medicine—but a great thing about teaching a class for teens about fisticuffs and fornication is that conventional notions of what young people today “need” are pretty much out the window from the start. This was a class about wanting…”

The rest is at The Loft’s Writers’ Block blog.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Remembering Those Who Fight for Us

cesar chavez beasts of burden 13942

As summer comes to an end and we look ahead to the Labor Day holiday weekend, it seems fitting to remember Cesar Chavez and the struggle for farmworkers rights, encapsulated beautifully in Stuart A. Kallen’s We Are Not Beasts of Burden: Cesar Chavez and the Delano Grape Strike, California, 1965-1970 (TFCB, 2010). And lest we think the struggle for workers rights is over, Alison Marie Behnke’s Up for Sale (TFCB, new for Fall 2014) gives a sobering overview of human trafficking around the world, inclusive of trafficking for sex, body parts, human labor, babies, and more. Kirkus gives the book a star review, noting that, “This. . .volume makes clear the grinding reality of the cheapest labor and presents a welcome chance to act."

Labor Day is a time to relax, enjoy a picnic or barbecue with family and friends—and to remember the work that others have done before us to secure the rights and privileges from which we benefit. Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Free Book Friday: Dear Wandering Wildebeest

Congratulations to Robin Nyzio (@readingrobin)! You've won Party Time! Please send us a DM on Twitter or an email to publicityinfo@lernerbooks.com with the subject line "Free Book Friday" and your mailing address so we can get your books in the mail.

This week, enter to win Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole, a delightful collection of poetry written by Irene Latham with imaginative illustrations by Anna Wadham.

Welcome wildebeest 
and beetle, 
Oxpecker and lion. 
This water hole is yours. 
It offers you oasis 
beside its shrinking shores. 

Spend a day at a water hole on the African grasslands. From dawn to nightfall, animals come and go. Giraffes gulp, wildebeest graze, impalas leap, vultures squabble, and elephants wallow. Irene Latham's gorgeous poems are accompanied by additional facts that provide further details about the animals and their environment.

If you'd like to win Dear Wandering Wildebeest, please leave a comment on this post (including your first and last name), or tweet this line: "Free Book Friday! RT to win DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST from @LernerBooks. bit.ly/1OrSN"

We'll announce the winner on Friday, September 5, so check the blog then to see if you've won!

Good luck!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Seeking Samples

Attention, authors! The Lerner Publications imprint here at Lerner Publishing Group is seeking unedited, unpublished School & Library nonfiction writing samples at the K-8 level to help us expand our author pool. Please send your samples to SHoffmann@lernerbooks.com. Only samples from published and experienced S&L authors will be considered. Looking forward to receiving your submissions!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Diversity and Photo Research

This April, in response to an all-white, all-male panel at BookCon, the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks exploded. The publishing world started having more conversations about how to change and improve the diversity in children’s and young adult literature, and the public at large started pushing for more diversity in children’s books as well. As a photo researcher, one part of my job that I love is contributing to the diversity within Lerner’s books. From the First Steps series to books for older readers, I love finding photos that will appeal to the broad range of Lerner readers.

Sometimes seeking out certain types of photos can be tricky – the flip side of #WeNeedDiverseBooks is #WeNeedDiversePhotos. The budget of the project sometimes limits what’s accessible for a project, which makes it harder to find the ideal photo and combination of people in that photo. Getty’s Lean In collection showcasing women in more diverse roles is a great example of how stock photo sites can purposefully create content that highlights diversity. The publishing world is coming to terms with the idea that diversity in books must be intentional, not just something that happens by chance. When photo websites share this goal with publishers, it makes creating content that features all different types of diversity just a little bit easier.