• What Do Muslims Really Want Anyway?! 17 Books on Muslim World for Kids

    Please welcome my guest poster today, author Elsa Marston who is my resident Middle Eastern Children’s literature go to! She has a list of recommended books for kids and teens at the bottom of the post. ———— Lately we’ve been reading about terrorist actions by Muslims in Europe and other places, events that have again […]

  • Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College

    My book list of Top 10 Books to Teach Kids to Be More Responsible made me start to think about life skills that kids need before going off to college. That and the fact that my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, will be starting high school next fall so we have only 4 years to tackle this […]

  • Get Kids Reading Strategies: 12 Surefire Ways

    I searched five years of digital photographs looking for photos of my kids reading and I only came up with the handful here. Why? It’s not easy getting kids reading, especially to love reading enough that they choose it over more exciting things like screens, playdates or sports! I started my blog after my oldest […]

  • 10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade

    I had the great fortune to meet The Nerdy Book Club founders at a dinner for Anne Ursu hosted by Walden Pond Press to celebrate her latest chapter book, The Real Boy. (It’s wonderful. I put it on my  Newbery 2014 Contenders list! And it just won a Middle Grade Fiction Nerdie). Colby Sharp, one of […]

  • Best Beginning Chapter Books for 2nd and 3rd Grade

    Best books for beginning readers from my library. This list is perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade.

  • How To: Create a Great Kids’ Book Club (Activity and Book Suggestions)

    Some ideas on how to set up a book club for your child with examples of successful book club meetings.

  • Best Science Apps for Kids (ages 4-21)

    I am starting to buy into this idea of teaching and really connecting material through games and apps. I was sort of on board with this concept, but since playing around with The Elements (a Harry Potter version of the Periodic Table) that my brother-in-law turned me on to, I am now a believer as I saw, with my own eyes, how captivated my kids were with the Periodic Table, an otherwise dull chart.

  • Newbery Winners by Grade Appropriateness!

    Thank you to Hubpages for this information. There are additional book suggestions by grade if click here to see their post. I have added an asterisk to the books that I’ve read and loved (and two astericks for must reads!).

  • Top 10: Best Beginning Chapter Book Series (ages 6-9)

    Dragons and aliens and dinosaurs, oh my! And for girls, there are interesting slightly mischieveous girls to meet as well as cousins who are really sweet. Short chapter book series can often have repetitive plot lines about nothing or language that is neither rich nor interesting. There is something special about each of these book series for the child AND the adult reading along.

  • Top 50: Best Multicultural Children’s Books

    Every summer I stress out about what books to get for my kids that they will like but are also exposing them — as only books can do — to the wide world all around them both past, present and future. This summer, we are going to take a trip around the world by reading these multi-cultural books. What is great about this list is that it covers all the ages of my kids: from preschool through elementary school. I will be sneaky and check out these books for them and leave them strewn about the house for them to examine when they are bored. I will keep you posted on what books my kids actually liked because that is a whole ‘nother list! See you at the library!

17 Wonderful Multicultural Picture Books About Food

17 Wonderful Multicultural Picture Books About Food

My favorite way to learn about other cultures is through food. It can be intiminating to cook a new ethnic cuisine for the first time, so consider this list a menu of sorts to decide if there is anything you want to make at home. What wonderful multicultural picture books about food did I leave out? I’d love your favorites! Please share! Thanks!

 

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez

One of my best friends growing up in Southern California is half Mexican and I would go to her house after opening presents at my house to eat tamales that her family purchased. Soon, my whole family would join me. My friend’s parents didn’t mind. I always heard that tamales are a bit tricky to make and I have always purchased them and steamed them at home.

In Too Many Tamales, Maria and her family make tamales for Christmas but she tries on her mama’s ring even though she’s not supposed to and loses mama’s diamond ring in the masa dough. Before mama finds out, she must get the other kids to help her eat the 24 tamales to locate the ring. It’s a lot of food but no ring appears. Did someone accidentally eat it? When Maria goes to confess to her mother, she makes a happy discovery … and now they need to make more tamales! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

tamales

A batch of Mexican tamales in the tamalera. Image from Wikipedia Read more…

Kobo Glo HD : Read Anywhere Anytime!

#KoboGloHD : Read Anywhere Anytime! Giveaway!

I received a Kobo Glo HD to review and it immediately disappeared, snatched up by my kids. We have other eReaders in the house but I had loaded this one with the new Rick Riordan ebook, The Crown of Ptolomy, and more Wonder stories by R. J. Palacio.

My son has been waiting for the newest Riordan book and he took theKobo Glo HD and went off to read it, despite being in the middle of three other books. Read more…

Poetry in Sports Books for Kids and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

Poetry in Sports Books for Kids and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

My son has a poet in residence for fourth grade. For three sessions, he’s learning to write poetry. There’s even homework assignments that he agonizes over. He’s had a poetry unit every year — in 2nd grade, he wrote a color poem based on Mary O’Neill, but this is the first year that the poetry seems to flow out of him. To encourage the poet inside him, I’m introducing books about sports that use poetry to tell the story.

Hoops by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson

The ball

like a piece

of the thin long reach

of your body.

Read more…

Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Getting out of Boston during Snowmageddon was a challenge since we were scheduled to fly out on Sunday during a snowstorm and the next flight out after that was three days later and probably full. My husband spent hours trying to book a new flight, knowing that our flight would be canceled and managed to pull off a flight that left three days earlier on Friday before school vacation. We pulled our kids out of school for the day, spent the night in Houston and then spent another night near the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica, because the house we rented wasn’t available earlier.

Family vacation Costa Rica, Houston TX, Playa Flamingo, Guanacasta

I have to say that it was totally worth the mad scramble to get out before Mother Nature shut down Boston Logan airport! Houston turned out to be a food mecca for TexMex and BBQ. On the recommendation of a Dad Friend who grew up in Houston, we went to Pappacitos for TexMex and their sister restaurant, Pappas for BBQ. Both were exceptional!

Pappas, best BBQ in Houston, Family vacation Costa Rica, Houston TX, Playa Flamingo, Guanacasta

Read more…

Great Books for Reluctant Boy Readers

Great Books for Reluctant Boy Readers & GIVEAWAY

Please welcome author David Kelly of the Ballpark Mystery series and also my neighbor here in Newton, MA. We’re not exactly next door neighbors but we live in the same town! How cool is that? Other notable children’s book authors from Newton include Mitali Perkins (until she moved two years ago) and Karen Day. Jacqueline Davies of The Lemonade War series lives one town over in Needham, MA.

Today, David Kelly is writing about finding books for reluctant boy readers. His series is another great choice for boys or girls who like baseball, particularly those of the Red Sox Nation.

How about you? What books have kept your kids reading? Please share! Thanks! Read more…

How to Make Origami Shirukan Throwing Star

How to Make Origami Shirukan Throwing Star

My son was obsessed with learning how to fold an Origami Shirukan Throwing Star. He had trouble cutting perfectly square pieces of paper so I handed him My First Origami Kit which I received from a publisher to review.

Unfortunately, the book did not include instructions on how to make a Shirukan Throwing Star but the origami paper was beautiful and just the right size. The kit comes with a book, 60 papers, 150 stickers and 22 projects.

Read more…

PARCC Resources for Parents

PARCC Resources for Parents

My kids have been taking the PARCC standardized test for the new Common Core standards this past month. They do not enjoy standardized tests but the upside is that the elementary school Physical Education teacher opens the gym early on test days and has them play Pickle Ball. He says the research shows that exercise before tests helps them perform better so he’s happy to come to school early to run games for them.

In Massachusetts where I live, there was concern that the Common Core standards would be lower than the current ones. This concern is in the minority for most states but Massachusetts students score among the highest in the world in reading, math and science. Still, I can attest to anxiety among kids, parents and teachers when it comes to standardized tests. I know that my kids get stressed out even though they are well prepared. Read more…

Arctic Egg Science: Books, Experiment and Videos

Arctic Egg Science: Books, Experiment and Videos

Now that the snow is gone after Boston’s Snowmaggedon, I can finally appreciate the cold again so I’m combining some newly published non-fiction science picture books with some videos on the artic. I hope you are ready to face the cold again too!

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern 

Two guiding thoughts about the Artic today: protection and eggs. Here’s how they all tie together …

A Children's Guide to Arctic Birds eggs

Bird Eggs from A Children’s Guide to Arctic Birds
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What Moms Actually Want on Mother’s Day

Ebates Mother’s Day Gifts Infographic
Find Mother’s Day deals at Ebates – shop and earn Cash Back!