LEE & LOW BOOKSis a family-owned company, a throwback to what many publishers used to be: independent, generational businesses in which the people running the company have a personal stake in its success. What does it mean to be an independent publisher? It means we are extremely fortunate to be able to make our own decisions and publish what we want. It means we control the quality of our books and keep books in print for a long time so they have a chance to find their audience. It means we have the freedom to pursue our mission of focusing on diversity.
A major goal of the company is to meet the need for stories that children of color can identify with and that all children can enjoy. In addition, we make a special effort to work with writers and illustrators of color, and take pride in nurturing many talented people who are new to the world of children's book publishing with our annual New Voices Award.
The company was founded by Philip Lee and Tom Low in 1991 and published its first list in spring 1993. Since then LEE & LOW BOOKS' titles have won numerous awards and honors, including the Coretta Scott King Award, the Pura Belpré Award Honor, the Parents' Choice Award, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, ALA Notable Children's Books, Child magazine's Best Books Award, American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists" honors, "Choices" honors from the Cooperative Children's Book Center, and Best Children's Books of the Year honors from Bank Street College. LEE & LOW BOOKS has also received praise from a broad range of media, such as The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, CBS This Morning, USA Today, Kirkus Reviews, and Smithsonian magazine.
LEE & LOW BOOKS is one of the few minority-owned publishing companies in the country. "When we started the company, there was a lot of interest in books focused on multiculturalism," says CEO/co-founder Tom Low, "but most of the titles were folktales about exotic people from distant lands. We felt strongly that it was important to have books with contemporary settings that reflect how people live today."
In 2000, LEE & LOW launched the imprint BEBOP BOOKS, which extends the company's mission by bringing diverse stories to children who are just beginning to read. "We believe instructional reading materials in the classroom should be fun for students, so they are encouraged to learn how to read. In addition to making BEBOP BOOKS titles culturally diverse, we incorporate engaging and dynamic illustrations, photographs, and design to make the books stand out. When we present the books to Literacy Coaches and Reading Specialists across the country, often their first response is 'Wow!'" says president Craig Low.
In 2004, Philip Lee retired from the company.
In 2010, TU PUBLISHING, an independent press focusing on diverse fantasy, science fiction, and mystery for middle grade and young adult readers, was acquired. "This is a natural fit for us," says, publisher Jason Low. "Our customers have been asking us for years to publish stories for older readers. TU represents an excellent way for us to bring diversity to a whole new audience."
In 2012, Children's Book Press (CBP), the first multicultural children's book publisher in the United States, became an imprint of LEE & LOW. "This acquisition is a tremendous honor for us - to keep the prestigious collection of Children's Book Press alive and to have the opportunity to build on its 36-year history." said Jason Low. The majority of CBP's list is bilingual.
As of 2012, LEE & LOW BOOKS has published more than 650 titles in hardcover, paperback, lift-the-flap, and board book formats. Many of our titles have also been adapted for Spanish editions.
To learn more about us read the article Balancing Words, Pictures, and Diversity. Or peruse our site, starting with the Home page.
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