• Today I am on the Front Page of The Boston Globe

    Today I am on the front page of The Boston Globe for the past week of posts that I wrote on my microblog, I Love Newton, about the anti-Asian racism in the local high school musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie. School play’s stereotypes bring outcry and apology. “Millie” touches nerve in Newton by Ellen Ishkanian, Globe […]

  • 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.

  • Top 10: Best Dragon Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

    The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog has a great post on dragons that preempted this post but I actually had been working on this for several weeks. There is something magical about dragons and I’m glad that some kids can keep the magic alive. I’ve gathered my favorite dragon books that range in age from picture books to young adult. What is your favorite dragon book? Please share!

  • 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!).

  • Best Picture Books That Teach Math Concepts

    Picture books can be a visual and fun way to introduce math concepts. I think it makes math less intimidating when it’s part of a story. For those kids who love math, it’s another way to eat it up!

  • 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.

You Were The First picture book and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

‘You Were The First’ and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

I don’t blog much about my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei. It’s not because she’s a teenager (8th grade!) though that would be reason enough. One reason is that she hates being photographed.

you were my first

The elusive Grasshopper and Sensei.

She’s never wanted to in the spotlight. She hates that. She’s a pretty wonderful kid though. Very kind (doesn’t get that from me or my husband!). Emotionally atuned to the collective vibe in any room and highly motivated to make sure that everyone gets along.

you were my first

They don’t intentionally dress alike any more but what do you know?! Read more…

Healthy Essentials Johnson and Johnson twitter party and coupons

Lots of Ways to Save: Healthy Essentials Twitter Party with Prizes

In celebration of Earth Day, I wanted to offer you a few ways to save:

  • Save money — over $55 — on HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® products with special coupons
  • Donate a photo to give $1 to a non profit partner of Johnson and Johnson
  • Save the earth by recycling packing for bathroom products
  • Join me for HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® Twitter party for prizes

HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® is offering amazing printable coupons on products you and your family probably use. Save over $55 by visiting their website in April and signing up for HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® program coupons.

Healthy Essentials coupons Earth Day Read more…

Guys Read Other Worlds 3rd grade book club for boys

3rd Grade Boy Bookclub for Guys Read: Other Worlds

We chose Guys Read: Other Worlds for our second 3rd Grade Book Club for Boys. Our first was a book swap and was meant to warm the boys up into believing that Book Club for Boys is SUPER FUN AND EXCITING! And, by parellel, reading is to! Did it work? Yes! They all showed up again!

Guys Read: Other Worlds books club for 3rd grade boys

Our motivation for Guys Read: Other Worlds was predicated on a few things: 1) Rick Riordan is wildly popular with the boys in our book club, 2) the boys have read all his books … but not this new short story and 3) short stories work for all different levels of readers.

3rd grade book club for boys Guys Read Other Worlds Read more…

Meet Editor behind The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

Meet the Editor Behind The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

Have you ever wondered what it takes to get a book published? Let’s take a look at Walden Pond Press and The Real Boy by Anne Ursu and meet the editor, Jordan Brown.

the team behind the real boy, Anne Ursu, Walden Pond Press

Name: Jordan Brown

Title: Senior Editor, Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins Children’s Books

Role at Walden Pond Press: I read and evaluate manuscripts for potential acquisition, work with the authors we acquire on revising and polishing their work, and serve as the author’s liaison and the general in-house champion for the book where production, packaging, and promotion are concerned. Read more…

girls and boxing, middle school girls and boxing,

Boxing and Bonding for Middle School Girls (and supermodels)

This is the first year that PickyKidPix doesn’t see her closest friends since Kindergarten on a daily basis. She’s in middle school now and she and her friends are on different teams,  different school buses, and doing different activities. They had no common activity, so I suggested boxing.

middle school girls learn to box

PickyKidPix started boxing with me during the summer weeks when she had a free week and she loved it. I had to give up my Thursday Mother/Daughter boxing slot since our boxing trainer had no more time to add in new sessions but it was worth it. Her two friends joined her and have been boxing all winter; a great way to get exercise in cold New England!


Read more…

how I got 55,000 followers, twitter tips, how to use twitter

Twitter Tips and how I got 55,000 followers

Last month, I went to a small blogger retreat for Multicultural Kids Blogs and part of the presentations were on using social media. MaryAnne from Mama Smiles taught us about Google +. Kim from The Educators’ Spin on It did a really helpful presentation on Pinterest. My contribution was on how to use Twitter.

Multicultural Kids Blog retreat

Read more…

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Science Competition for Middle School Students: $25,000 Prize

A dad friend encouraged me to sign my daughter up for an afterschool elementary school class called Wicked Cool Science. He was a high school science teacher and had a son and daughter of his own.

“If you don’t get your daughter’s interested in science before middle school,” he warned, “They will turn their backs on science permanently.”

That’s alarming. So I looked into this connection.

Many young students, particularly girls, see math and science as difficult, and don’t take any more classes than they have to, not realizing they are cutting themselves off from lucrative opportunities in college and careers.

“The relationship between confidence and interest is close,” says Fouad. “If they feel they can do it, it feeds their interest.”

From Science Daily Read more…

dear 16 year old me

Dear 16 Year Old Me

Dear 16 year old me,

Just a few quick things as I pop back in time.

Dear 16 Year Old Me, Pragmatic Mom, PragmaticMom

1) Swimming is not your sport

I know that you love this swim team. Your coach and teammates are amazingly supportive, kind and smart. They celebrate your personal best as enthusiastically as you do their blue ribbons.

It’s just that– you’re just not that fast.

You’ve learned to push yourself three hours a day in the pool even though you hate that first entry into a cold pool. And now you know your way around a weight room.

Learning to work hard for results is not a bad lesson for you. This will be your mantra from which success will come. Eventually. But that struggle to improve is what will drive you and that’s the part of the journey you will relish more than the final destination.

I think the biggest attraction for swimming was ditching the Nerd-dom label that plagued you in Junior High. Honestly, you will one day embrace your inner nerd. It will take you a few decades but it will serve you well.  Read more…

self published book gaveaway

Huge Self Published Kids Book GIVEAWAY and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Today, I am doing some serious Spring cleaning and I am giving away 6 packages of wonderful self published children’s books.

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter and please leave me a comment about which package you want. I’ll do my best to match up the packages to each winner.

Package 1:

book giveaway Read more…