• 12 Gift Guides for Your Holiday Shopping

       Related posts: Gender Bending Gifts for Kids: Day 3 of 12 Days of Shopping Gifts for Kids Who Hate Art and Reading: Day 5 of 12 Days of Shopping

  • Gifts for Kids Who Hate Art and Reading: Day 5 of 12 Days of Shopping

    Jeanette and I thought we’d search for gifts today that open young minds; gifts for kids who hate art, and books for kids who don’t like to read. What gifts have you had success in introducing your kids to something mind-expanding that they have resisted?   Wreck This Journal, $9, to bring out the inner […]

  • Gender Bending Gifts for Kids: Day 3 of 12 Days of Shopping

    For Day 3 of the 12 Days of Shopping, Jeanette and I wanted to break down gender stereotypes with gender bending gifts for kids. We want to celebrate mighty girls AND sensitive boys; crafts for boys and science kits for girls; and imaginary play can go beyond tiaras and tutus! How about you? What are your […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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!

My Son's Educational Video Picks

My Son’s Educational Video Picks

My son and I have been curating videos for your viewing pleasure. Many of them came our way via the excellent blog The Kid Should See This which selects videos created for adults but appropriate for a young audience. My son spends quite a bit of time on YouTube these days so he offered up some videos that he wanted to share with my audience as well.

This first video feeds my son’s interest in all things ninja. As a result, I have a ninja book list for him and a match up of picture books to a particular martial art. My son has expressed interest in making weapons like this Japanese artisan who makes traditional samurai swords and there is, in fact, a blacksmithing class near us that my husband wants to do with my son when he’s old enough. But for now, my son will just have to be content watching how swords are made.

Read more…

A Flock of Books about Birds from Suzanne Goldsmith Washashore

A Flock of Books about Birds

Please welcome author Suzanne Goldsmith, winner of the 2014 Green Earth Book Award in the Young Adult Category, for Washashore. Today she is sharing her favorite books about birds! Suzanne is giving away 3 signed copies of her book to 3 winners! See the Rafflecopter below to win. (This giveaway is going to have a short duration so that winners might receive their copies before the holiday season ends.)

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Birds. They have four limbs—just like us. They walk on two legs—just like us. They like to sing—just like us.

And yet they are so very different from us. Which is why we find them so fascinating. Read more…

middle east book award for kids books picture books ya

Middle East Outreach Council Book Award

I was thrilled to meet Barbara Petzen of the Middle East Outreach Council at the National Council for the Social Studies meeting. The Middle East Outreach Council just announced their award for best children’s and young adult books!

MEOC, middle east outreach council

Established in 1999, the Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures.

Books are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of a Middle Eastern subject, as well as on characterization, plot, and appeal for the intended audience. For this award, the Middle East is defined as the Arab World, Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Afghanistan.
Awards are given in three categories: Picture Books, Youth Literature, and Youth Nonfiction.

Now in its fourteenth year, the Middle East Book Award recognizes quality publications in three categories: Picture Book, Youth Literature, and Youth Nonfiction (not awarded this year).

Here are the winners! Read more…

My Son Gives to a Child in Need Through CWIST

My Son Gives to a Child in Need Through CWIST

I posted on CWIST’s learning challenges that parents select for their kids and reward them as they see fit. For the holiday season, CWIST has a program that lets kids earn a present for a child in need who might not have any presents under the tree this year!

my son gives to a child in need through CWIST Read more…

Michelle Phan: Best Book Signing Ever

Michelle Phan: Best Book Signing Ever! #MYLifeGuide

I’ve been to many author book signing events since I start blogging including very popular authors like Rick Riordan where fans stood in a line that snaked around the building! But I have never waited in line for two hours just for a book signing; there wasn’t even a presentation or talk involved!

Have you heard of Michelle Phan? She’s a YouTube beauty and fashion vlogger rockstar with over 7 mllion subscribers and a growing media empire that includes a beauty sample subscription service called Ipsy, her own make up line Em and now a book, Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success–Online and Off. How does one become a YouTube rockstar? It’s a pretty simple formula:

  • Step 1: Make your own videos
  • Step 2: Get them to go viral
  • Step 3: Do this every week for nine years

Step 3, of course, is the hard part. Michelle says its easy to make a video and get it to go viral. It’s about doing something outrageous and then timing the release of the video. But to do this weekly? That’s where the real work comes in.

Read more…

Bombadier Beetle Fun & Educational App for Kids

Bombadier Beetle Fun & Educational App for Kids

My kids think farting is extremely funny. I think they would love this interactive app about Luna, a Bombardier Beetle, with a unique talent. The talent of the toot! But first, some background on the Bombardier Beetle to put Luna’s talent into context.

 bombadier beetle

The amazing defense strategy of the Bombardier beetle! Read more…

Arturo Avina kindergarten videos

Madonna Teaches the Alphabet

Do you remember Arturo Avina who made those wonderful Miss Nelson is Missing  and Miss Nelson is Back with his kindergarten class? Well, he and his kids have made another video!

Arturo Avina kindergarten videos

He says:

We recently wrapped up an education-related video that the LA Times called “innovative” and “ambitious,” and I think it could be of interest to your readers and the education community. My colleague and I recently filmed a video with our kindergarteners where we strived to reinvent the alphabet with 26 Madonna songs. Who knew Madonna songs could teach the alphabet, right!? Read more…

25 diversity authors and illustrators highlighted

25 Diversity Authors & Illustrators Spotlighted!

To kick off our Author and Illustrator interviews at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog, we interviewed Joseph Bruchac …

Joseph Bruchac

 followed by Jacqueline Woodson! (and stay tuned for Margarita Engle and Lisa Yee!)

Jacqueline Woodson

Coming in January — Multicultural Children’s Book Day Spotlight: Shining the Light on Inclusive Authors & Illustrators!

multicultural children's book day January 27 2015

From January 1st through the 25th, the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog — in collaboration with the Children’s Book Council — will feature interviews with 25 inclusive authors and illustrators, giving you a behind-the-scenes peek at their creative processes.

Children's Book Council

Please welcome (in alphabetical order):

Tracey Baptiste was born in Trinidad, where she grew up on jumbie stories and fairy tales. Her debut, a young adult novel titled Angel’s Grace, was named one of the 100 best books for reading and sharing by New York City librarians. Tracey is a former teacher, textbook editor, ballerina, and amateur librarian who once started up a library in her house in the hope that everyone would bring their books back late and she would be rich! You know, like other librarians. She is now a wife and mom and lives in New Jersey, where she writes and edits books for kids from a very cozy office in her house that is filled with more toys than she can count. The Jumbies is her second novel.

Read more…

Flipp app Twitter Party

#Flipp4Holiday Twitter Party with Prizes!

How is your holiday shopping going? I typically want to be done before Thanksgiving but this rarely happens. Now, I’m at the point where I’m shopping for a few “perfect-but-not-expensive” gifts for the family that really nail it. That means a lot of searching. And frustration.

So … I’m happy to have discovered Flipp App!

Flipp app Read more…