Progressive Publishing in an Intolerant World

Virtual panel. Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 6:00PM to 7:30PM

The world is at a crossroad. On the one hand significant progress has been made in terms of concepts like antiracism, equity, and privilege being recognized in the current zeitgeist, but on the other hand the media portrays people as more divided and siloed than ever before.

While the echo chamber on both sides makes those with similar beliefs more emboldened, it does nothing to win the hearts and minds of people who are not already onboard with inclusion efforts. The belief that what we have in common outweighs our differences will never gain purchase if the talking and listening ceases outside of our close-knit circles.

What do progressive, diverse authors think about the state of the world as it is today? How do they continue to do the necessary work that requires reaching readers who may not want to be reached and may be adamantly opposed to the core beliefs that they hold dear? How have diverse authors displayed empathy through the books that they have published? What are some of the ways that reading still represents the best way forward in an increasingly contentious world?

Guadalupe Garcia McCall was born in Mexico and moved to Texas as a young girl, keeping close ties with family on both sides of the border. Trained in theater arts and English, she is now an assistant professor of English at George Fox University in Oregon. Her poems for adults have appeared in more than twenty literary journals, and she won the Pura Belpré Award for her first novel, Under the Mesquite. You can find her online at
Joseph Bruchac (Nulhegan Abenaki) is among the most respected and widely published Native American authors, with over 170 titles in print, including Crazy Horse’s VisionWolf Mark, Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path, and Killer of Enemies, all from Lee & Low.  A Rockefeller Fellow and an NEA Poetry Writing Fellow, he was the 1999 recipient of the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award.  To find out more visit
Laleña Garcia has been teaching children in New York City since 2000, and educators across the country since 2017. How We Can Live grew out of her work with Black Lives Matter at School, a coalition of educators and parents striving for racial justice in education. A graduate of Yale University and Bank Street College of Education. Please visit her website at


Jason Low is publisher/co-owner of Lee & Low Books, founded in 1991, the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the United States. Lee & Low is the originator of the Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS), which measures inclusivity behind the scenes in publishing. DBS has become the largest data sampling of its kind within the industry and acts as both a catalyst for change and an accountability tool to push for more equity.