• 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!

5 Feel-Good Books About Africa & Kid Lit Blog Hop

5 Feel-Good Books About Africa

5 Wonderful Picture Books on Africa

I know very little about the continent of Africa so today I wanted to explore it through picture books. These five books show different perspectives from the story of young Masaii girl who wants to touch the moon to visiting family in Tanzania and The Gambia. I was surprised to learn that the people in Mauritania, West Africa are Muslim and that Jackie Robinson’s daughter wrote a book about her mother. Finally, there’s the true story of Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia who turn trash into treasure with an ecological bent.

I hope you enjoy this five book trip to Africa too! What are your favorite books on Africa? Please share! Thank you!

map of Africa Read more…

Animal Friendship Picture Books & Giveaway!

Animal Friendship Picture Books & GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome Maria Gianferrari today who is making lists of her favorite books in honor of her debut picture book out next week! You might recognize Maria from blog comments here; she always has the best book recommedations!

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Mia kindly agreed to participate in my blog tour to celebrate the release of my debut picture book, Penny & Jelly: The School Show, illustrated by Thyra Heder, which will be published by HMH Books for Young Readers on July 7th. Penny & Jelly: The School Show by Maria G.

In honor of my main character, Penny, who’s a list-maker, here are my Top 5 book recommendations pertaining to some of the book’s themes. Since Penny’s best friend is her canine companion, Jelly, these are some of my go-to picture books that highlight friendship. Read more…

Free Summer Math program

FREE Summer Math Program from TenMarks

My middle school principal is encouraging students to stay sharp in math by doing a great free summer math program through TenMarks that I wanted to share with my readers too!

TenMarks summer math program Read more…

Write First Read Later: Alien Writing Prompts for Kids

Write First Read Later: Alien Writing Prompts for Kids

Alien Writing Prompts for Kids

A reader asked me for summer writing ideas and I sent her all the links I could find. It made me think about what a challenge it is to get my own kids writing when they don’t have too so I came up with an idea of Write First Read Later: Writing Prompts for Kids. The idea is fun writing prompts and a book to go along with it either to inspire or just for comparison. This week’s Write Now Read Later is about aliens. I hope to get my son writing this summer too! Read more…

Hindi Nursery Rhyme Videos to Teach Kids Indian Culture

Hindi Nursery Rhyme Videos to Teach Kids Indian Culture

Please welcome my guest blogger Shailee Butalia of Ghotu Motu Ki Toli. Ghotu Motu is a live action series focused on Indian nursery rhymes. What a fun way to teach kids about Indian culture!

Shailee Butalia of Ghotu Motu Ki Toli

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I was fortunate to have a new child within the last year. Of course, my concerns as soon I found out that I was pregnant revolved around how I would raise my baby and what I needed to do to keep her healthy and thriving. As she’s grown bigger, a new set of concerns have crossed my mind. How will I make sure that my child knows her South Asian Indian culture and her heritage when we live outside of our country of origin?

Hindi Nursery Rhyme Videos to Teach Kids Indian Culture

I was born and raised in the US. My parents still spoke Gujarati at home which is how I learned it. They took us to the local Indian festivals and listened to Indian music. We traveled to India at least a few times so we could see where they had grown up. Read more…

Papa John's Pizza Fuels After School Activities with #BetterIngredients

Papa John’s Pizza Fuels After School Activities with #BetterIngredients

Is pizza healthy? I think that depends on what the pizza is made of and how much you eat. But for my kids, a slice pizza with a side of fruit is a healthy mini-meal after school snack they need to fuel up before heading out to a sports practice.

My kids typically come home from school ravenous which puts them in a terrible mood. They need to eat immediately and they need something hearty and healthy because they are usually gone for 3 to 4 hours for their practice. There’s also that weird time slot that one of my kids will usually get for their school lunch. An early lunch slot at 10:50 am will consistently result in a tired, hungry and cranky kid after school. Read more…

SAT Vocabulary Flashcards to Learn New Words

SAT Vocabulary Flashcards to Learn New Words

PickyKidPix just turned 13 years old and she’s quite the long-term planner. Because she intends to get a high score on the SAT test four years from now, she’s taken immediate steps to improve her vocabulary.

The first thing she did was sign up for Latin for 7th grade based on the assumption that Latin, with its roots and suffixes, will help her break down unfamiliar words.

She asked me how I scored a decent but in no way perfect score on my SAT 30+ years ago. I told her that I memorized a box of 1000 SAT vocabulary cards over one summer. It really worked for me; my SAT verbal score went up a whopping 600 points! One of my college roommates got similar results by memorizing the dictionary.
Read more…

18 Wonderful Picture Books about the Arab Nation

18 Wonderful Picture Books about the Arab World

When a country is at war, it’s easy to get a distorted view of the “enemy”. The media also plays a role in showing a certain point of view meant to stir the populace into support of their government backing the war effort. But this kind of distortion trickles down to oversimplifying things to a black and white point of view. That never does justice to the true situation and is a hurdle for our kids to overcome in order to get a more balanced world view.

One way to demystify the Middle East as religious fanatics bent on destroying the free world is to let them see the many, many stories of the Arab people, both past and present. This collection of picture books about the Arab nation attempts to gather up these stories so please help me out by suggesting you favorites! If we all teach our children that Muslim families are no different from ours, this might pave the way for a generation that can find a way to figure out world peace. Thank you!

Read more…

Father's Day Humor & GIVEAWAY

Father’s Day Humor & #GIVEAWAYS!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, grandfathers and godfathers out there! And especially to my husband to whom these cartoons are dedicated to that I found on Pinterest. No schmaltzy memes for him. He likes humor!

father's day print

This is a print you can buy. Read more…