• Bootstrap Marketing 101 for Authors

    I thought I would talk about branding, SEO and social media marketing for authors even though I am not an author, nor have ever marketed a book. So then, you might ask, why would I be qualified to talk about bootstrap marketing for anyone, let alone authors? Thanks for asking. When I was twenty years […]

  • 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 …  followed by Jacqueline Woodson! (and stay tuned for Margarita Engle, Lisa Yee, and Cynthia Kadohata!) Coming in January — Multicultural Children’s Book Day Spotlight: Shining the Light on Inclusive Authors & Illustrators! From January 1st through the […]

  • Predicting 2015 Caldecott & Newbery

    I have a selfish reason for compiling this list. It’s my Christmas book list for my kids. It’s also because my kids won’t read (probably like yours!) unless they have a really good book and so I search and search and present, like a game show hostess, blog posts of books that I think my […]

  • 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!

A Year in the Secret Garden blog tour, Valarie Budary, Marilyn Scott Waters

A Year in The Secret Garden Interview

I am so excited that my partner-in-crime, Valarie Budayr of Jump into a Book, for Multicultural Children’s Book Day is also an author and owner of publishing company, Audrey Press. She has a new book out, A Year in The Secret Garden, that celebrates an iconic classic with activities to do with kids all year!

A Year in The Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters

A Year in The Secret Garden Read more…

positive affirmations for kids

Positive Affirmations for Kids

Every year, Grasshopper and Sensei‘s sleepover summer camp has a mother/daughter weekend where we set up our own tent and spend two days together. The idea is for me to shadow my daughter and participate in her life at camp; meeting her friends and their mothers, eating meals with her cabin, and participating in all her activities.

Positive Affirmations for GirlsRead more…

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Calling All Bloggers; Calling All Authors

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

 

The prep of the upcoming (1/27/15) Multicultural Children’s Book day is humming right along! In case you’ve missed all the details,  I am teaming up once again with Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book to bring awareness and shine the spotlight on all of the amazing multicultural children’s books that are available to readers, parents, teachers and libraries.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and I are on a mission to change that; it’s a mission to raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, and to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. This event also provides an excellent way for us to compile a list of book titles and blog reviews for everyone to use to expand their bookshelves.
Read more…

printable fill in the blank thank you notes for kids

Writing Charming Thank You Notes (FREE Printable) : Day 12 of 12 Days of Shopping

We are closing out our 12 Days of Shopping with the necessary thank you notes: Day 12 Etiquette of Thank you Notes. Thank YOU so much for joining us in this series. Jeanette and I really enjoyed your company! Thank you again! What gift categories would you like us to cover next year? How about for Valentine’s Day?!

Today we will cover:

  • How to write a thank you note
  • DIY printable thank you note for kids

Read more…

Giving and Receiving Unwanted Gifts

Giving and Receiving Unwanted Gifts: Day 11 of 12 Days of Shopping

For Day 11, I am exploring the art of giving and receiving unwanted gifts and Jeanette has 15 DIY holiday gifts you can make with your kids.

I doubt anyone would ever reject a handmade gift made with love (hence going DIY shows you really care), but are you inadvertently giving gifts that are being regifted? Do your kids know how to react when receiving a gift that does not excite them? What is the etiquette of handling an unwanted gift? I don’t have the answers so I went exploring…

I really liked what The Grio had to say about regifting.

Exchanging at the Store: She says it’s tacky to return for money but exchanging for something more suitable is ok.

Here’s what you say to the giftor (I thought this was genius): “I took the [insert gift] back to the store because it had a [insert defect], but they didn’t have anymore *look really sad for this part *, so I got a [insert much cooler gift] instead.”

The Perils of Regifting: You can’t get caught so you have to think 6 degrees of separation when you decide to regift. Does your intended gift receiver have any connection to the originator of the gift? If there is any hint of that, then No, No, No!! You will get caught and it will be ugly.

Donating Unwanted Gift: Find a local charity and get a two for one. You get rid of it and you get a tax deduction.

Here’s what you say to the giftor (again, pure genius): “Gosh, you know me so well! I already have a [insert gift], so I went ahead and donated the one you gave me to [insert awesome charity]. I know that will make someone really happy.”

Read more…

Gifts For New Year's Resolutions

Gifts For New Year’s Resolutions: Day 10 of 12 Days of Shopping

Hannukah is late this year, ending on December 24th, so holiday gifting can also roll right into New Year’s Resolutions. Why not gift someone something to help them kick off their goals for the new year? Jeanette and I thought we’d find gifts that help teach something new and help you reach your New Year’s resolution goals.

Jeanette’s New Year’s resolution goals include: personalized volunteer match, exercise trainer, photography class, public speaking like TED, cooking and knitting. I love hers! How about you? Would you give gifts for someone’s New Year’s Resolution? And how do you figure that out?

 

Artistic New Year’s Resolutions

I’m trying to return to watercolor painting. I used to take a lot of art classes before kids and now I’m ready to start back up. This is my first attempt in nearly a decade. It took me a month to rebuy art supplies, set up my watercolor palette and get myself to sit down and paint again.

poppies watercolor painting by mia wenjenRead more…

Gifts for the Forgotten

Gifts for the Forgotten: Day 9 of 12 Days of Shopping

Jeanette and I thought we’d try to remember those who are easily forgotten because … sometimes we forget about them. A small gesture goes a long way. Jeanette has Unique Client Gifts … helpful because one year, I forgot to gift my clients during the holidays so I had to do the late thing which is not very impressive.

If this list of the forgottens is too long, maybe this is a good list to DIY with your kids?! Everyone loves this granola recipe from Nigella Lawson. I’ve gifted it year round to teachers who love it!

best homemade granola recipe from nigella lawson Read more…

left brain right brain toys for kids

Left Brain/Right Brain Gifts: Day 8 of 12 Days of Shopping

For Day 8 of our 12 Days of Shopping, Jeanette and I thought we’d explore gifts for both sides of the brain for kids and adults. I have a selection of STEAM toys. STEAM is Science, Technology, Engineering, Art an Math. I think the math belongs with its more popular cousin,  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), because creativity is the root of all problem solving!

I also have two gift guides that fit the bill:  Science and Math Toys and Gifts for Arty Kids. I’m pulling out tried and true toys that we’ve really enjoyed for Right Brain/Left Brain toys for kids and adults! Read more…

12 Gift Guides for Your Holiday Shopping

12 Gift Guides for Your Holiday Shopping

Gratitude Advent Calendar, Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar for kidsgifts that give back, 12 days of shoppinggender bending gifts for kidsgifts for men and dogs gifts for kids who hate art and books for kids who hate reading ugly holiday sweaters and other terrible giftsGifts To Steal from Loved Onesleft brain right brain toys for kidsGifts For New Year's ResolutionsGiving and Receiving Unwanted GiftsGifts for the Forgottenprintable fill in the blank thank you notes for kids


12 Gift Guides for Your Holiday Shopping