Increasing Diversity in the World of Children’s Literature

November 05, 2015

Cathryn Mercier

Simmons College and Lee & Low Books Establish New Scholarship

The Graduate Programs in Children’s Literature at Simmons College and publisher LEE & LOW BOOKS have established a scholarship to increase diversity in the world of children’s literature. The new Lee & Low and Friends Scholarship will provide opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to enroll in the most prestigious children’s literature graduate programs, the first Master of Arts in Children’s Literature in the United States as well as and the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children.

The scholarship initiative is a partnership between two organizations committed to diversity in children’s literature. LEE & LOW BOOKS is the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the country and a leader in the movement for more diversity in the publishing industry. The graduate programs in children’s literature at Simmons College are dedicated to bringing a wide range of voices into books for children and young adults, and to providing students access to careers that diversify the field of children’s literature. 

“Children’s Literature at Simmons welcomes this collaboration with Lee & Low as we team up to create venues of access that lead to lasting change,” says Cathryn M. Mercier, Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons. 

The $100,000 scholarship fund was created through donations from LEE & LOW BOOKS and Simmons College alumni. The first recipients will be chosen for fall 2016. For more information, contact childrensliterature@simmons.edu.

“Lee & Low is excited to be partnering with Simmons College to provide a meaningful way to address one of the most challenging obstacles in bringing more equity to publishing: the pipeline problem,” says Jason Low, publisher of LEE & LOW BOOKS.

Unpaid internships and costly graduate programs, combined with low entry-level salaries, are significant barriers for many hoping to work in publishing. The Lee & Low and Friends Scholarship will support students for whom the traditional entrances to publishing remain closed, and thus create a pathway for diverse graduate students to positions in which they can influence what and how children’s literature is created. 

LEE & LOW BOOKS is the largest children’s book publisher in the United States specializing in diversity. Under several imprints, the company provides a comprehensive range of notable diverse books for beginning readers through young adults. Visit leeandlow.com to learn more. 

Established in 1977, the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature supports the advancement of the study of children’s and young adult literature through nationally recognized partnerships and graduate programs, including the nation’s first Master of Arts in Children’s Literature and Master of Fine Arts: Writing for Children, as well as several innovative dual degree options. The Center and the Graduate Degree programs in Children’s Literature are housed in the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science, ranked in the top 10 graduate schools by US News and World Reports.  To learn more, visit simmons.edu/academics/graduate-programs/childrens-literature-ma.