• Top 10 Must Read Banned Books for Kids

    Censorship makes me angry (but many things do) and it tends to make me go on the offensive. Instead of my diatribe, I found some words of wisdom by authors on how to handle censorship. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Most of the censorship I see is fear-driven. I […]

  • Top 10 Hispanic American Heritage Books For Kids

    I was confused on the nomenclature of Hispanic American versus Latino American so I looked it up: Hispanic: a person of Latin American or Iberian ancestry, fluent in Spanish. It is primarily used along the Eastern seaboard, and favored by those of Caribbean and South American ancestry or origin.  English or Spanish can be their […]

  • 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!).

Gifts to Steal from Loved Ones

Gifts to Steal from Loved Ones

Jeanette Nyberg of Craftwhack and I are back for year two to bring you a holiday shopping series. Today we are back with our ever popular gifts to steal from loved ones. Our clever idea was to gift something that you can steal, share or snag a taste of. A gift for you is a gift for “us.” We’re sneaky that way. Her post is here.

November 3, 2015: Gifts That Give Back (Hers, Mine) (Last year’s: Hers, Mine)
November 10, 2015: DIY Gift Ideas (Hers, Mine) (Last year’s: Hers, Mine)
November 17, 2015: Gender Bending Gifts for Kids (Hers, Mine) (Last year’s: Hers, Mine)
November 24, 2015: Gifts to Steal from Loved Ones (Hers, Mine) (Last year’s: Hers, Mine)
December 1, 2015: Left Brain/Right Brain Gifts for Kids (Last year’s: Hers, Mine)


Cook Books

Cook books are the gift that keeps on giving … imagine your loved one making food out of that cookbook for everyone to enjoy! Kids and teens are also learning a great life skill. I also really like this new hybrid of cookbook: the cookbook memoir. Sometimes it’s in the guise of a cookbook; othertimes it’s a paperback that looks like a novel but has recipes at the end of every chapter. I like them all!

Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach magazine

Read more…

Numbers 1 to 11 Drawing Game

Numbers 1 to 11 Drawing Game

My husband learned this drawing game using numbers 1 to 11 in numerical order as a little boy growing up in Korea which is probably why I have never seen it before. He must have learned it really well because he whips it out whenever a restaurant that we are waiting at has brown paper and crayons on the table.

It’s a fun way to entertain the kids! Here it is:

Number 1: Draw it in the center of the page.

Numbers 1 to 11 Drawing Game

Number 2: Draw the number 2 right below number 1.

Numbers 1 to 11 Drawing GameRead more…

DIY Gamer Kit STEM Toy

DIY Gamer Kit STEM Toy

I thought my son would enjoy the STEM toys from Technology Will Save Us, so I was thrilled when they offered me two kits. As soon as they arrived, my son wanted to build the DIY Gamer Kit in which you build your own remote control. We opted for the version with the parts already soldered in as my husband thought soldering might be too dangerous for our 10-year-old son.

DIY Gamer STEM Toy

My son looked for the instructions in box and was puzzled not to find any. Instead, he figured out that he needed to go to their website to watch video tutorials.

DIY Gamer STEM Toy Read more…


Staples and City Year Help Boston School

Staples Unveil Renovated Afterschool Resource Room at
Curley K-8 School with City Year Boston

Curley K-8 Gets Resource Room from Staples!

Staples also will donate school supplies to improve learning environment for young students

Staples and City Year help school in Jamaica Plain

Students entering the afterschool program at the Curley K-8 School in Jamaica Plain on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 17th, received a surprise when they saw their newly remodeled resource room, a gift from Staples. Educators and students from the Curley K – 8 School and the City Year Boston AmeriCorps members who served at the school as tutors, mentors, and role models supporting student success welcomed representatives from Staples for a tour of the school, distribution of school supplies, and the room reveal makeover. Read more…

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland's Good Fortune

Thanksgiving Picture Book

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland's Good FortuneI was thrilled to be invited to a lunch hosted by Candlewick Press to meet author and illustrator P. J. Lynch who was here all the way from Ireland for the release of his first advanced picture book. He has illustrated more than 26 picture books over his 30 year career and this is the very first book he’s written!

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland's Good Fortune

Is it me or are all Irish authors charming and funny? Eoin Colfer comes to mind and now P. J. Lynch as well! After thirty years as a children’s book illustrator, P. J. reveals how this story about John Howland hooked him and converted him into an author:

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland’s Good Fortune by P. J. Lynch

Told in fascincating first person, P. J. Lynch tells the Mayflower story from the perspective of an indentured servant, young John Howell who actually fell off the ship during a storm and survived! John’s story begins from the perils of escape from England to the difficult voyage on the Mayflower and continues through the winter in the New World in which only half their party survive. John meets Massasaoit and Squanto who are instrumental in keeping the remaining settlers alive. By the end of his first year, John faces a difficult decision to stay or return home.

This is a picture book that begs to be read aloud. It’s also a great way for kids to feel like they are experiencing the Mayflower journey alongside John Howell. The gorgeous watercolor artwork reminiscent of old world Renaissance masters illuminates the story. [advanced picture book, ages 8 and up]

I interviewed P. J. Lynch in four parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. Each video is about 3 minutes

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.


Hello! Welcome to the November 2015 Kid Lit Blog Hop. This exciting, now monthly hop,  is where we develop an engaged group of people who love everything that has to do with children’s literature. Everyone is welcome to join us: bloggers, authors, publicist, and publishers!

Simply create a post and add it to the linky. (Please make sure to add your direct post only) 
Once you are done, then hop around to visit others. Please visit at least the two people above your link. Please leave a comment when you do visit, we all like those.
Also, it would be appreciated if you grab the Kid Lit Blog Hop Badge and display it on your blog and/or your post.

The hostess will be around to see you. It would be nice if you followed all of them. Happy Hopping!

Reading Authors

Julie Grasso

Author/ Blogger Cheryl Carpinello


Pragmatic Mom

The Logonauts

A Book Long Enough

Spark and Pook




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Gender Bending Gifts for Kids

Gender Bending Gifts for Kids

Jeanette Nyberg of Craftwhack and I have teamed up again to bring you a holiday shopping series. Today we bring you Gender Bending gift ideas for kids because we are both a little subversive, if you haven’t noticed.

November 3, 2015: Gifts That Give Back (HersMine) (Last year’s: HersMine)
November 10, 2015: DIY Gift Ideas (HersMine) (Last year’s: HersMine)
November 17, 2015: Gender Bending Gifts for Kids (HersMine) (Last year’s: HersMine)
November 24, 2015: Gifts to Steal from Loved Ones (HersMine) (Last year’s: HersMine)
December 1, 2015: Left Brain/Right Brain Gifts for Kids (Last year’s: HersMine)

Gender bending is sometimes a form of social activism undertaken in response to assumptions, over-generalizations about genders, or transphobia. Some gender benders identify with the gender assigned them at birth, but “challenge” the norms of that genderthrough androgynous behavior and atypical gender roles. from Wikipedia

Gender Gending Gifts … let’s all be a little subversive this year and gift in ways that challenge stereotypes, like coloring books for adults! Check out Jeanette’s list here.


Dolls for Boys that Teach Emotional Intelligence

These dolls for boys include a child-sized matching-piece of adventure gear. for the child too, giving them an instant sidekick for adventures! The idea is that this connectedness deepens the imaginative play experience.

Wonder crew dolls for boys Read more…

Giving Tuesday & Giving Back in Boston

Giving Tuesday & Giving Back in Boston

Thank you Capital One for sponsoring this post. Click here to learn more about how Capital One is celebrating local heroes who are making Boston a better city with the “Everyday Money Boston” program.

Today, November 17th, is Giving Tuesday and I thought I would reflect on gratitude, giving back, and the ways kids can give back despite their limited incomes (if any). It turns out that gratitude and giving back are sure-fire ways to happiness.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. From Harvard Health Publications

I’ve been trying to teach my kids about personal finance. They get a small allowance and they are supposed to allocate into three piles: spend, save and donate. In this way, I want to teach them about budgeting and “everyday money” which is the money leftover after you pay your overhead like bills, rent and food. This leftover money can be allocated into spend, save and donate. And while it might seem like SPEND would bring immediate gratification, SAVE is also satisfying and DONATE brings happiness. donating allowance at grocery store But there are other ways to donate if you are short on money. Read more…

Native American Heritage Month Books for Kids

Books for Kids to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

This we know; the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Chief Seattle’s Thoughts

Chief Seattle's Thoughts

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, I rounded up some newly published books that speak to the speech made by Chief Seattle: Read more…

Top 10: Afraid of the Dark Picture Books

Top 10: Afraid of the Dark Picture Books

Nyctophobia, or fear of the dark, is one of the most common phobias in children.

With the time change for fall back, come the dark, now earlier than ever. I don’t like it when it gets dark where I live at 4:30 at night either! I hope these picture books help with fear of the dark. I love how there are so make different and original takes on the dark and how to make it less scary for kids in these ten picture books. Which ones are your favorites? Let’s add them to the list! Thank you!

Top 10: Scared of the Dark Books for Kids

10. There’s A Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer

My favorite book about being scared of the dark is this picture book, read aloud by Billy Crystal. It’s perfection! [picture book, ages 2 and up]

Read more…