Does Back Matter Matter? A Peek at New Picture Books and their Back Matter

Does back matter . . . matter?

If you’re reading our blog, you probably already know that yes, of course it does! Who doesn’t love a good context-exploring author’s note, an events-organizing timeline, or a pronunciation guide that helps make sure you’re not butchering unfamiliar terms? Back matter can be useful for the curious adult reading to a child, for the teacher creating a lesson plan, for the child looking up glossary words, and so much more. Here is a look at some recent picture books and their illuminating back matter. Click each back matter image to take a closer look at the stellar information and context it provides.

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Visit Lerner at ALA Annual!

By Megan Ciskowski, Associate Publicist

After a long period of virtual events, educators and publishers from around the nation will gather in Washington, DC for this year’s ALA Annual. We want to see you at the Lerner booth 1307! Come meet some of our authors and illustrators, learn about our upcoming titles, and grab some free ARCs. Read on to see all Lerner events.

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A Summer for Sweetgrass

by Megan Ciskowski, Associate Publicist

In 2013, Milkweed editions published Braiding Sweetgrass by Indigenous botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer. Since that time, the book has become a New York Times Bestseller and continues to earn recognition in both the literary and science fields.

This November, Zest Books ™, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, will release the new YA adaptation of this breathtaking nonfiction titled Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer and Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt.

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Addressing Race and Racism with Readers

This week and throughout the coming month, the United States marks several notable anniversaries: The 2nd anniversary of George Floyd’s death on May 25, the 101st anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre on May 30, and Juneteenth on June 19 commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in Texas.

These events are emblematic of a long and continuing reckoning with racism in the US. While educators, librarians, and parents recognize the importance of discussing these distant and not-so-distant histories with readers of all ages, approaching these topics requires care, nuance, and consideration for students’ own experiences.

Below is a selection of books—both fiction and nonfiction—that offer historical context and provide foundations for discussions about race. We’ve also included links to downloadable teaching guides where available to help further facilitate discussions with readers.

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