• 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!

2014 Cybils Winners: Early Chapter Book and Easy Reader

2014 Cybils Winners: Early Chapter Book and Easy Reader

It was so much fun to judge the final round of the Cybils for Best Easy Reader and Early Chapter Book. I felt like our committee really pondered long and hard to come up with the winners in a multi-step process:

  • We procured the books, mostly from the library (copies were sent by publishers if your library didn’t have it)
  • We read all the books within about a 3 week period
  • We shared notes on each book via a shared Google Doc
  • We ranked the books within each category on the Google Doc
  • We meet via Google Chat to discuss and choose winners (about an hour)
  • The winners were written up with editing from the group

And the Cybils winners are …

Cybils 2014 Easy Reader Winner

Read more…

Body Armour sports drinks

BODYARMOR Sports Drink Coupon

My son plays soccer for Valeo Futbol Club and every practice ends with a mock tournament of four on four. These teams are formed in nanoseconds by the boys themselves; usually the same group tries to reform each week, especially if they have had success in the past.

FC Valeo Soccer, U9, 2014 Read more…

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Do you have a child interested in science competitions? If so, you must read on! If not, just read the next paragraph because the PRIZE money might motivate your middle school child!

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the nation’s premier science competition for middle school students. Ten finalists in grades 5-8 will be selected from around the country to compete in the challenge and the winner will receive a $25,000 prize and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist”!

Read more…

Top 10 Multicultural Board Books for Babies and Toddlers

Top 10 Multicultural Board Books for Babies and Toddlers

Valarie from Jump Into a Book and I are starting series of book lists to highlight our favorite multicultural children’s books. We plan to turn this into an eBook which we will give away next January for Multicultural Children’s Book Day and sell the rest of the year to raise money for our non-profit so that we can donate more books to kids.

I’m kicking off my lists with my favorite multicultural board books for babies and toddlers. I’ve always loved board books; they are full body entertainment for babies who might explore them with their teeth and virtually indestructible for toddlers! But it was surprisingly hard to find board books with diversity and inclusive themes. I hope you like my first list!

What are your favorite multicultural board books? Please share!

Read more…

aquent story

How Do You Teach Innovation? My Entrepreneurial Story

A few readers have asked me to post more on my entrepreneurial experience (b.k. — before kids). I co-founded a dorm room enterprise, now called Aquent, with two friends that has grown, now nearly 30 years later, into a mid-sized company (as defined by “less than one billion in sales but larger than one hundred million”).

history of Aquent, aquent: innovation culture, John Chuang, Mia Wenjen

It does feel like a different era now that I spend most of my time blogging, but starting my company also feels like just yesterday. The foundation of our business was the new Macintosh computer and desktop publishing software (PageMaker) that we learned to publish a liberal political magazine back in 1986.

MacIntosh 128k, first macintosh computer

 

The computerized version was less costly and time-consuming than the old way of waxing up galleys into place. Read more…

#SaveKidsLives #Safie

#SaveKidsLives #Safie to Save Lives

Grasshopper and Sensei turned 15-years-old recently which means my husband is going to start taking her to empty parking lots to learn to drive. She’s had some driving experience in golf carts and via Mario video driving games; enough for us to realize that she’s a cautious driver but needs to learn how to take corners.
My ninety-two-old mother in California is on the other end of the driving spectrum. She just stopped driving completely. She had tailed back by not driving at night or on highways a few years ago but now she’s done driving, relying on friends, my sister and Über instead.
#SaveKidsLives

Read more…

Easter Eggs Pysanka Style: Video, Picture Books and GIVEAWAY

Easter Eggs Pysanka Style: Video, Picture Books and GIVEAWAY

In celebration of Easter, I wanted to share this video and two picture books about the Ukranian craft of egg painting called Pysanka.

A pysanka is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs using a wax-resist (batik) method. The word pysankacomes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax.

Many other eastern European ethnic groups decorate eggs using wax resist for Easter. These include the Belarusians (пісанка, pisanka), Bulgarians (писано яйце, pisano yaytse),Croats (pisanica), Czechs (kraslice), Hungarians (hímestojás), Lithuanians (margutis), Poles (pisanka), Romanians (ouă vopsite, incondeiate or impistrite), Russians (расписанное яйцо “rаspisannoe yaitsо”), Serbs (pisanica), Slovaks (kraslica), Slovenes (pisanica, pirhi or remenke) and Sorbs (jejka pisać). from Wikipedia

Read more…

Best Multicultural Chapter Books and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Best Multicultural Chapter Books and Kid Lit Blog Hop

This is Part 2 of the 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society Award, for middle grade readers ages 8 and up. I haven’t read them all so I’ll use book jacket blurbs with age range to make this list more helpful for parents and teachers looking for books for kids.

Many of these chapter books deal with difficult themes like genocide, racism, and violent civil wars. Will kids and parents actually put themselves through these kinds of experiences where the protagonist goes through unimaginable hell? I hope so. These are important stories that haven’t received the attention they deserve and if kids are aware of the mistakes made by their elders in the past, perhaps this is our best hope they will not be repeated in the future.

Part I from the list of picture books are here. I will post on the best young adult books from this list at the next Kid Lit Blog Hop. Read more…

#TeamPuracynPlus GIVEAWAY for Active Kids

#TeamPuracynPlus GIVEAWAY for Active Kids

It’s hard to get kids to try new things, be it new food, new sports or new summer camps. Sigh! I think it’s just a personality trait — risk taking. Grasshopper and Sensei who is my least risk taking child is the most resistant to trying new foods as well as sports! PickyKidPix, however, is a daredevil. She’ll eat off your plate at restaurants so as not to miss out on anything good. She’s also game to most sports. My son is somewhere in between.

Read more…