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The Lerner Podcast

Author: Lerner Books

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Join us for author interviews, book chat, and more!Lerner Publishing Group creates nonfiction and fiction books that educate, empower and entertain readers. Whether you are looking for engaging picture books, high-quality supplemental nonfiction, graphic novels, or boundary-pushing young adult novels, you will find what your readers need to grow and learn. Visit our website at credits:"Farm" Kevin MacLeod ( under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
43 Episodes
Today on The Lerner Podcast, we talk with Nina Crews, illustrator of A Girl Like Me. Nina is a critically acclaimed children's book author and illustrator. She uses photographs and photocollages to create energetic stories about young children. In this book, she uses her signature style to illustrate Angela Brown's empowering poem, "A Girl Like Me". “Once I dreamed I swam / the ocean / and saw everything deep, cool / and was part of the waves. / I swam on by the people / onshore / hollering, / ‘A girl like you needs to / stay out of the water / and be dry / like everyone else.’”Empower young readers to embrace their individuality, reject societal limitations, and follow their dreams. This inspiring picture book celebrates girls of color.Nina discusses how the book came to be, her hopes for young readers to continue making the world a better place, and artists whose children's books she loves. Show notesNina's Recommended ArtistsCharles R. Smith Jr.’s My People: Pulley Sayre: Wick: and an in-progress sketch can be viewed on the Lerner Blog. Read a transcript of the interview here. Visit Nina Crews' website. Music credits:"Farm" Kevin MacLeod ( under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Join Lerner Publishing Group editors for a rundown of our Fall 2021 nonfiction titles from our flagship Lerner Publications imprint. There's something for every library in our list: high-interest nonfiction featuring cryptology, sports superstars, curricular support for topics like nature cycles, science and STEM topics; social-emotional offerings from Sesame Street; paired fiction and low-level early readers; and an important new series examining Issues in Action in partnership with Read Woke Librarian Cicely Lewis. Visit to learn more about our forthcoming titles.
Illustrated and Photo Picture Books from Carolrhoda and Millbrook Press | Lerner Publishing GroupJoin associate publisher Carol Hinz as she shares highlights from Lerner Publishing Group's Fall 2021 picture books and photo books published in the Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books imprints. These titles will appeal to readers looking for science, nature, entertainment, and more. Robo-Motion highlights technology inspired by animals. In Night Becomes Day, readers learn about changes in nature, from waves washing away a footprint in the sand to the day-night cycle. In Tracking Tortoises, author Kate Messner visits the Galapagos Islands and brings back information on the endangered tortoises who live there. Animals to the Rescue features hero animals of all kinds, from elephants who help with tsunami clean up to the lamb who befriended a baby rhino. Author Kao Kalia Yang shares her story of living in a refugee camp in Thailand, and how parents can help their children see over the limitations of their own circumstances. Night Creatures covers the amazing nightlife of forest creatures. In A Peek at Beaks, veterinarian and best-selling author Sarah Levine uses a guessing game format to share details about the unusual beaks birds have. Author Chris Barton goes behind the scenes in How to Make a Book (about My Dog), taking a meta look at the process of publishing a children’s book. Everyone’s favorite Monkey with a Tool Belt is back with a Christmas caper that celebrates gift-giving from the heart, and NoNieqa Ramos tells a Hair Story of two little girls whose natural curls simply can’t be constrained. Learn more about these and other forthcoming titles at
Check out our new Fall 2021 titles coming from Graphic Universe, the graphic novel imprint of Lerner Publishing Group. Presented by Greg Hunter, editorial director of Graphic Universe, this sneak peek shares details on the forthcoming series Amazing Inventions, covering the history of favorite items like cell phones, sneakers, video games, and electric guitars. Greg also highlights the first US release of Josh Hicks’ Glorious Wrestling Alliance (“GLOW meets Bojack Horseman”), the seventh book in the widely praised Super Potato series, a debut #ownvoices supernatural graphic novel from Olivia Stephens called Artie and the Wolf Moon, and the third in the Spanish translation of the Cici: A Fairy’s Tale series. See all of Graphic Universe's upcoming titles at
After sneaking out against her mother's wishes, Artie Irvin spots a massive wolf—then watches it don a bathrobe and transform into her mom. Thrilled to discover she comes from a line of werewolves, Artie asks her mom to share everything—including the story of Artie's late father. Her mom reluctantly agrees. And to help Artie figure out her own wolflike abilities, her mom recruits some old family friends.Artie thrives in her new community and even develops a crush on her new friend Maya. But as she learns the history of werewolves and her own parents' past, she'll find that wolves aren't the scariest thing in the woods—vampires are.Learn more at
Ashley "Ash" Bishop has always known who he is: a guy who loves soccer, has a crush on his friend Michelle, and is fascinated by the gruesome history of his hometown—Salem, Massachusetts. He's also always known that he's intersex, born with both male and female genitalia. But it's never felt like a big deal until his junior year of high school, when Ash gets his first period in front of the entire boys' soccer team. Now his friends and teachers see him differently, and his own mother thinks he should "try being a girl."As tensions mount with his parents and Ash feels more and more like an outcast, he can't help feeling a deeper kinship with his ancestor Bridget Bishop, who was executed for witchcraft. She didn't conform to her community's expectations either; she was different, and her neighbors felt threatened by her. And she paid the ultimate price. Ash is haunted by her last recorded words: You will keep silent.Ash realizes that he needs to find a way to stand up for who he really is, or the cost of his silence might destroy his life, too.Learn more at
Chico Bon Bon's epic Christmas party is three days away! Is our intrepid monkey ready? Of course not!But thanks to his trusty tool belt and plenty of ingenuity, Chico helps his friends decorate, turns a pile of junk into a bundle of gifts, and finishes preparing for the party just in the nick of time. WHEW!The latest installment from author and illustrator Chris Monroe is packed full of fun, friendship, and holiday cheer!"Monroe's manic cartooning will have kids laughing from start to finish."—starred, Publishers Weekly for Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Maniac MuffinsThe inspiration for the Netflix original series Chico Bon Bon!
Editorial director Amy Fitzgerald book talks new middle grade and YA novels from Carolrhoda Books and Carolrhoda Lab. For the science fiction fans, Eighth Grade vs. the Machines picks right up where Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy leaves off, with Jack and his friends now having to save their trusty public school spaceship from a robot civil war—all while keeping up with their homework. A contemporary middle grade novel, Eddie Whatever follows thirteen-year-old Eddie as he begins a community service project at a nursery home, and has his expectations of the residents turned upside down as he learns about their past lives, their current intrigues, and even a dramatic courtship. Fully of whimsy and intrigue, this is ultimately a touching and humorous story of intergenerational bonds. AfterMath introduces readers to seventh-grader Lucy, who’s struggling with the recent loss of her brother to a congenital heart defect, and who’s also the new kid at school. Her classmates are dealing with the effects of a school shooting four years ago. As Lucy finds comfort in math and mime, this sensitive, poignant book explores all kinds of grief and healing. Teen and young adult readers can follow the story of Millie Vargas, a high school senior trying to figure out her next steps. Now a citizen, Millie was brought to the US by her parents as a baby, and when her family is unexpectedly held up as “deserving immigrants” by a Senator on the campaign trail, Millie must decide what she wants to stand for. In Just Ash, intersex teen Ashley “Ash” Bishop has always known who he is – but when he gets his period in front of the whole boys’ soccer team, other people, including his parents, start to question him. A rare book about an intersex character, written by an intersex author, this story explores identity, acceptance, and empowerment. Learn more about these and other forthcoming Fall 2021 titles at
"Father, is all of the world a refugee camp?"Young Kalia has never known life beyond the fences of the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp. The Thai camp holds many thousands of Hmong families who fled in the aftermath of the little-known Secret War in Laos that was waged during America's Vietnam War. For Kalia and her cousins, life isn't always easy, but they still find ways to play, racing with chickens and riding a beloved pet dog.Just four years old, Kalia is still figuring out her place in the world. When she asks what is beyond the fence, at first her father has no answers for her. But on the following day, he leads her to the tallest tree in the camp and, secure in her father's arms, Kalia sees the spread of a world beyond.Kao Kalia Yang's sensitive prose and Rachel Wada's evocative illustrations bring to life this tender true story of the love between a father and a daughter.Learn more at
How do you make a picture book? Well, you need an author, an illustrator, and . . . a dog?!Acclaimed author Chris Barton and his trusty pooch Ernie talk about how to make a nonfiction picture book . . . about Ernie! From coming up with ideas, researching, and writing a first draft to finding the perfect illustrator, deciding what goes on the cover, and getting every last wrod—er, word just right, you'll see how a book is made from beginning to end.From acquisitions and editing to graphic design and dog treats, find out what's required to bring a book to life. This title perfectly blends how-to and humor for an informative look at book publishing. And look, this is part of the marketing step!Chris Barton shares why and how he researched this book (and whether Ernie helped!). Learn more at
"This book is a gift to the culture." —Amy Schumer, writer, actor, and activistAfter her brother's death from a congenital heart defect, twelve-year-old Lucy is not prepared to be the new kid at school—especially in a grade full of survivors of a shooting that happened four years ago. Without the shared past that both unites and divides her classmates, Lucy feels isolated and unable to share her family's own loss, which is profoundly different from the trauma of her peers.Lucy clings to her love of math, which provides the absolute answers she craves. But through budding friendships and an after-school mime class, Lucy discovers that while grief can take many shapes and sadness may feel infinite, love is just as powerful.Learn more at
In this new series, examine hard topics facing our society—from gun violence to immigration. Learn how problems developed and hear from underrepresented persons involved in these struggles. Reflection questions help readers challenge their perspectives, while an activism toolkit and a Read Woke reading list empower readers to make a difference.Read Woke™ Books are created in partnership with Cicely Lewis, the Read Woke librarian. Inspired by a belief that knowledge is power, Read Woke Books seek to challenge social norms, give voice to the silenced, provide information about groups that have been disenfranchised, disrupt the status quo, and share perspectives from underrepresented or oppressed groups.Issues in Action includes:- Gun Violence and the Fight for Public Safety: Among similar countries, the United States has a unique problem with gun violence. Gun-related deaths and injuries happen at high rates every year. Debates over how to reduce gun violence wrestle with defining Second Amendment rights, different ideas of freedom, and which reforms to enact. Learn how organizations and governments are working to stop gun violence; which laws, regulations, and technology could effect change; and how young activists are fighting for public safety.- Immigration, Refugees, and the Fight for a Better Life: Throughout history and into the modern day, people have moved from place to place to flee danger and seek out better lives. But immigrants and refugees often meet harsh realities on their journeys. Learn about immigration and refugee resettlement within the United States and throughout the world. Follow both historical and recent large migrations, understand the challenges of life in a new country, and see how activists fight for immigrants' and refugees' rights.- Income Inequality and the Fight over Wealth Distribution: In America, the amount of money people earn for doing the same job isn't always equal. The United States only recently made it illegal to pay men more than women for the same job, and the country's history of racism has created big wealth gaps between white and Black people that persist in the twenty-first century. Learn how income inequality originated, why it is a problem, and the ways people are fighting for an equal playing field.- Mass Incarceration, Black Men, and the Fight for Justice: In the United States, Black men are almost six times more likely to be imprisoned than white men. This disproportionate impact can be traced back to slavery, Jim Crow laws, and the criminalization of Black people into the modern day. With growing awareness about unfair treatment in the justice system, more and more people are calling for change. Read more about the history and causes of mass incarceration and how activists are reforming and rethinking justice.- The Opioid Epidemic and the Addiction Crisis: The US has seen an alarming rise in the numbers of people addicted to and overdosing on opioid drugs, including oxycodone, codeine, fentanyl, and heroin. Learn about history of the opioid crisis, the science behind addiction, and how people help those in danger.- Use of Force and the Fight against Police Brutality: In the spring and summer of 2020, several high-profile cases put a renewed spotlight on law enforcement's use of force in the United States, especially against Black people. Activist groups such as Black Lives Matter demanded accountability for police and justice for victims of police violence. Read about the history of police brutality in the US, the role of technology in police accountability, and community movements calling for changes to police training, equipment, and funding.Learn more at and
"History" sounds really official. Like it's all fact. Like it's definitely what happened. But that's not necessarily true. History was crafted by the people who recorded it. And sometimes, those historians were biased against, didn't see, or couldn't even imagine anyone different from themselves.That means that history has often left out the stories of LGBTQIA+ people: men who loved men, women who loved women, people who loved without regard to gender, and people who lived outside gender boundaries. Historians have even censored the lives and loves of some of the world's most famous people, from William Shakespeare and Pharaoh Hatshepsut to Cary Grant and Eleanor Roosevelt.In No Way, They Were Gay?, author Lee Wind takes readers on a fascinating journey through primary sources—poetry, memoir, news clippings, and images of ancient artwork—to explore the hidden (and often surprising) Queer lives and loves of two dozen historical figures.Learn more and download a discussion guide at 
Some parents want their children to turn out just like them. Only a few secretly turn their kids into elite special operatives.Josie Black can infiltrate any building, speak a dozen languages, and fight like a martial arts master. But no one told her that. After J.B. detects gaps in her memory, her mom reveals the truth: she works for a covert agency, and she's given J.B. the skills of a super spy. After J.B. freaks out, runs off, and tries to escape the weird world of espionage, she'll have to decide who she wants to be.Learn more at
Miranda Paul shares the inspiration for her new picture book, Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space. Journey far beyond our solar system and explore the marvels of interstellar space. A wonder-filled poem and spectacular illustrations bring readers across the observable universe to encounter dwarf planets, black holes, brand-new stars, and other incredible phenomena. Award-winning author Miranda Paul and illustrator Sija Hong present a fresh and fascinating journey to the outer reaches of outer space.Learn more at
"Books like this one help lead the way to a better climate future for all inhabitants of Mother Earth. We are all in this together!" — Jeff Bridges, Academy Award winner and environmentalistA little more than 70 percent of Planet Earth is ocean. So wouldn’t a better name for our global home be Planet Ocean?You may be surprised at just how closely YOU are connected to the ocean. Regardless of where you live, every breath you take and every drop of water you drink links you to the ocean. And because of this connection, the ocean’s health affects all of us.Dive in with author Patricia Newman and photographer Annie Crawley—visit the Coral Triangle near Indonesia, the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest, and the Arctic Ocean at the top of the world. Find out about problems including climate change, ocean acidification, and plastic pollution, and meet inspiring local people who are leading the way to reverse the ways in which humans have harmed the ocean.Planet Ocean shows us how to stop thinking of ourselves as existing separate from the ocean and how to start taking better care of this precious resource.
Mary Golda Ross designed classified airplanes and spacecraft as Lockheed Aircraft Corporation's first female engineer. Find out how her passion for math and the Cherokee values she was raised with shaped her life and work.Cherokee author Traci Sorell and Métis illustrator Natasha Donovan trace Ross's journey from being the only girl in a high school math class to becoming a teacher to pursuing an engineering degree, joining the top-secret Skunk Works division of Lockheed, and being a mentor for Native Americans and young women interested in engineering. In addition, the narrative highlights Cherokee values including education, working cooperatively, remaining humble, and helping ensure equal opportunity and education for all. Learn more at
Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford provides a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa's Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community. News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.Learn more and download an educator's guide at 
Award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper brings to life the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa's Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community. News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.Learn more and download an educator's guide at
Today I chat with Ginger Garrett, author of Name Tags and Other Sixth-Grade Disasters, about inspiration, bullying, and selfies, and how to start a teen writer's club in your school or library. Twelve-year-old Lizbeth always has a plan, and those plans have usually worked—until now. No matter what she tries, she can't get rid of her dad's new girlfriend, Claire. And when she and her mom move, Lizbeth has to join a sixth-grade class already in progress, where her teacher makes her wear a name tag and she's seated with three notorious "weirdos."When faced with mandatory participation in a school talent show, Lizbeth and the Weirdos decide to create self portraits. Reluctantly, Lizbeth finds herself becoming friends with people she thought she had nothing in common with—and coming to terms with the things she can't control.Praise for Name Tags and Other Sixth-Grade Disasters"Disasters averted in this realistic yet amusing take on sixth grade life."—Kirkus Reviews"Fun, funny, and fully heartfelt. Everyone needs true-blue friends like Lizbeth's. SuperChicken for life." —Kristin L. Gray, author of The Amelia Six and Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge"One of those books that explores difficult topics—divorce, a new school, being dubbed a "weirdo"—with grace and good humor." —Rebecca Petruck, author of Boy Bites Bug and Steering Toward Normal"This hilarious and heartfelt gem is moving straight to my "favorites" shelf." —Lisa Lewis Tyre, author of Last in a Long Line of Rebels and Hope in the HollerYou can find Ginger online at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and don't miss her resources on Pinterest.Here's a link to the Google Classroom collection of selfies that we discussed, as well as the awesome Calculus Roundtable that Ginger is involved with.  Music credits"Farm" Kevin MacLeod (  Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License 
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