• 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!

credit card personal finance for teens and tweens

Credit Card Lessons for Kids Before They Use Them!

Please welcome my guest blogger, Barbara Stapleton, who teaches middle school students about personal finance. Today, she is going to be sharing her lessons on how to teach tweens about credit cards versus debit cards because this is not the kind of personal finance lesson you want your kids to learn the hard way!

p.s. I have another related post: Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College.

Read more…

Japanese picture books for kids giveaway

Japanese Heroes Picture Book of the Day and GIVEAWAY

Do all little boys go through a Ninja phase? I was waiting at PickyKidPix‘s soccer practice and I noticed another little boy, perhaps 3rd or 4th grade, amuse himself by hurling himself at his mom using a series of martial arts moves to play ninja. Unfortunately, his mom was attempting to work from her computer so he had to find another playmate.

To celebrate the ninja spirit with us all, I’ve found a collection of picture books including Japanese traditional folk tales with young heroes. To promote learning about Japan and a Japanese culture, I’m also doing a giveaway of two more books. I would have given away a single book but the number four is unlucky in Japan so I added a Japanese poetry book to bring the total book count up to five. Five is a good number, phew! Read more…

Meeting Eoin Colfer

Meet Eoin Colfer with Me (he’s hysterically funny!)

My son and I attended the Mega Awesome Book Event which starred Rick Riordan, but Eoin Colfer emerged as the star of the day. (Ridley Pearson was a rockstar too!)

Eoin Colfer and Rick Riordan

Boy is that guy funny and charming! If I could invite just one author to dinner, I would pick him. He’d have you in stitches all night! Read more…

eb white best read aloud books for kids

Best Read Aloud Books and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

The E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards recognize books that reflect the playful, well-paced language, the engaging themes, and the universal appeal to a wide range of ages embodied by E.B. White’s collection of beloved books.

E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards Middle Reader

2014: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell

2013: Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Read more…

Noah Zarc Mammoth Trouble blog tour

Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble Blog Tour

I discovered the first Noah Zarc chapter book a few years ago and I loved it! It has the same action adventure as a Percy Jackson chapter book but with time travel! I also like that Noah just so happens to have special needs — he’s in a wheelchair — but it doesn’t impede his ability to be a hero and it’s presented as “no big deal.”

In this first book, humans a thousand years in the future time travel back in time to capture pairs of animals now extinct so that they may be eventually be returned to future earth for repopulation after Cataclysm. It seems that humans have destroyed the earth and killed off every last species of animals in our not so distance future during a bad time called Cataclysm but can easily be imagined as nuclear disaster. Only Noah’s family is allowed to time travel back for the animal rescue mission but it’s a dangerous job, more so because of Haon, the bad guy, who wants this repopulation of earth’s animals plan to fail.

A Noah’s Arc story, of sorts, but action packed!

Read more…

Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College,

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 list!

IMG_1068

What are the life skills that you think kids need before leaving the nest? Do you remember struggling with any life skills while in college? Please share! Read more…

Why Your Kids Should Keep Up with Science News

Why Kids Should Keep Up with Science News

Please welcome my guest blogger today,  of  Kids Learning Games!

 

There are plenty of websites that provide science news for kids. With the latest updates on research findings, cool inventions, and scientific expeditions in various fields, these websites provide scientific content that would interest kids in a manner that they can understand. Scientific news stories are always interesting, and it is understandable that the public would want to read about them.

But why all the focus on kids? How much difference does it make to a ten-year old what Curiosity is doing on Mars? There are various ways in which kids can benefit by staying up to date on the latest science news stories. Here are just a few of them.

IMG_3468 Read more…

Seal Beach California pier

Where Am I From? A loaded question?

After the brouhaha from Thoroughly Modern Millie, I feel like I am way more sensitive to racism and when I get asked “Where am I from?”, this video immediately comes to mind.

So where am I from? Or where am I from … from?!

I was born in Anaheim, California, not far from Disneyland. I grew up about 15 minutes from Anaheim, in a small beach town called Seal Beach.

Disneyland california Read more…

huge board book giveaway, kid lit giveaway hop

Huge Board Book Giveaway: Kid Lit Giveaway Hop

I love the Kid Lit Giveaway Hops! It motivates me to do spring cleaning. Today, I am sharing and giving away a pile of adorable board books! If my kids were younger, I’d be selfish and keep them all for myself.

 

What’s in Your Purse? by Abigail Samoun, illustrated by Nathalie Dion

What could be cuter for a little girl? A purse board book that snaps open and has five more purses inside it with interactive flaps to open! This makes a wonderful gift too! [board book, ages 2 and up]

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