• 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!

  • 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!

F T Bradley Double Vision giveaway

7 Ways to Get Your Kid to Read

Please welcome my guest blogger today, the author F.T. Bradley who has great advice on how to get kids reading. At the end of the post, she is also hosting a GIVEAWAY with signed copies of her three spy chapter books!

F. T. Bradley Double Vision series giveawayRead more…

Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor: Andy Smithson Book 3 by L. R. W. Lee

Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor GIVEAWAY

Andy, now twelve, discovers more than he bargained for when his parents reveal his mom’s past and he realizes she will die when he breaks the curse unless he intervenes.

Andy returns to Oomaldee to find its citizens on edge after many have been turned into vulture-people. Against this background, Andy and his company embark upon the next quest, to retrieve the horn of a unicorn. But not long into it, a seductive voice calls to Andy, tempting him to surrender the next ingredient in exchange for a promise to preserve his mom. Will he be able to stop the transformation of Oomaldee’s citizens? Will he jeopardize his ability to end the curse to save Mom? Read more…

Boston Book Festival Kids and Teens

Boston Book Festival Coming Up!

I’m really excited to go to the Boston Book Festival which starts Thursday, October 23 but the big day is really Saturday, October 25, with a schedule that includes …

Boston Book Festival

Rick Riordan kicking of the Kids’ Keynote at 10:45 at Trinity Sanctuary. My son was recently hospitalized due to a large congenital cyst that was surgically removed and we got through those three days in the hospital because of The Blood of Olympus. My son preferred it to the television selection!

Blood of Olympus while at the hospital Read more…

how college changed my life and going back to college

Can College Change Your Life?

My first semester of college was as struggle. I was an unhappy pre-med taking “dumb” chemistry and it was kicking my butt. My chemistry professor‘s lectures made no sense to me. He didn’t follow the chemistry textbook but talked on and on in an arbitrary way, working his way through the periodic table.

The assigned problems, however, didn’t reflect his lecture or the textbook. It turns out that his graduate students made them up. And, not surprisingly, the exams were a total mystery to me. It tested the concepts he taught but were never a regurgitation of what was presented in either the textbook, the lecture or the homework problems.

I was in deep trouble. I was used to being spoon fed: the lecture = the homework = the quiz = the final. There were no surprises in my not-so-great high school chemistry class. All necessary information was always provided to me including formulas. Read more…

JumpRope

How to Jump Rope Like a Supermodel

I’ve been jumping rope for the past year as part of my boxing training with my mom group of friends and we’ve all complained about it for various reasons.

  • We suck at it.
  • It’s ridiculously difficult to jump rope for a short duration as, say, a mere two minutes.
  • We know we could do it in elementary school!
  • It makes us pee in our pants. Which is very embarrassing.

Read more…

How Tutoring Can Help Your Child Learn to Embrace Reading

What a Reading Tutor Can Do to Get Kids Reading

I noticed how parents will often hire a tutor for math for their kids, but less so for reading. Today, my guest author Dusty Fox writes about what to expect from a reading tutor.

How Tutoring Can Help Your Child Learn to Embrace Reading

How Tutoring Can Help Your Child Learn to Embrace Reading (and Education!)

If you are a parent who loves to read, it can certainly be saddening and even frustrating if your child doesn’t share that same passion. Not only does reading have the ability to bring joy to an individual’s life–regardless of age–but it is often closely related to our ability to do well in formal learning and work environments. If your child doesn’t enjoy reading, this may lead to difficulties in the classroom and could even be directly linked to future issues in high school, college, and work. Read more…

diwali picture book of the day with hannukah picture book of the day

Diwali and Hannukah Picture Book of the Day

My friend Isra who blogs at The Frugalette told me a few years ago how few Diwali books there are, so when The Diwali Gift floated across my email, I thought it would be nice to learn more about this Hindu holiday. My only impression of Diwali was that it was a festival of lights and that it involved feasting. There is much more to it I learned! Read more…

Massachusetts Book Awards for children's books and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

Massachussets Children’s Book Award Part I and Kid Lit Blog Hop

The fifth graders at our elementary school are challenged every year to read all the books listed on the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award. I really love this book list because it has a variety of newly published and slightly older books such that you can actually find the books on the library bookshelves. Our school librarian also makes a point of making a special display and buying multiple copies of these books.

I’ve also discovered gems on the list from years past. The list doesn’t necessarily feature Massachusetts’ children’s authors but it was how I found Mitali Perkins’ Rickshaw Girl eight years ago!

Does your state have a book award too? How does it work?

 

Third Grade and Low Fourth Grade Books

This is the first part of the Massachusetts Book Awards which I’ve divided by suggested grade level. Part I covers Third Grade, Low Fourth Grade and Fourth Grade Books. At the next Kid Lit Blog Hop in two weeks, I’ll cover Part II which covers Fifth and Sixth Grade.

We the Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School) by Andrew Clements

The Trouble with Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery by Doreen Cronin

Read more…

chocolate medicine for kids Dr. Cocoa

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

Mary Poppins may have preferred Rum Punch as preventative medicine but some of us prefer the flavor of chocolate!

When PickyKidPix got sick last week, she tried powering through the school week, going to class and her activities including three soccer practices as usual. But by Friday, she was coughing up a storm and generally miserable so she finally took a sick day and slept in. Read more…