• 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!

Asian American Books for kids

My Favorite Asian American Books for Kids

I’m so sorry to be late for the Homeschool Blogging Carninal hosted by hosted by Lisa at The Squishable Baby and Keisha at Unschooling MommaI’ve been distracted by racism in a musical at my local high school that has hit a nerve and generated a lot of press including a front page article in The Boston Globe, 2 OpEd articles in The Boston Globe, an article across the pond at The Daily Telegraph and a slew of blog posts both by me and other bloggers. If you want to read them, they are all here.

This makes me realize that multicultural books for kids are, perhaps, the first step for breaking racist stereotypes and introducing diversity in a positive way into the lives of our children. Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Asian American children’s books. I hope you enjoy them with your children.

I chose a picture book, easy reader, easy chapter book, chapter book and a young adult novel that portray contemporary Asian Americans.  That’s 5 books. 5 is a lucky number in Chinese culture. 4 is bad because it signifies death. Read more…

ebayMarchofdimes

eBay Collections to help The March of Dimes

I’m glad to be participating in eBay’s collections to raise money for the March of Dimes. The goal is to celebrate the potential in all. Everyone is born to be something great, don’t you think?!

ebay collections march of dimesHelp eBay reach their goal of raising $25,000 for March of Dimes this month by helping to create 25,000 eBay collections. For every collection created, eBay will donate $1 to March of Dimes! Read more…

choosing books for advanced young readers, after school with smarty pants

Choosing Books for Advanced Young Readers

Please welcome my guest author, Natalie from After School with Smarty Pants. She has wonderful enrichment activities and life skills for advanced learners on her blog. Today, she covering how to find books for an advanced young reader which can be tricky because the content might be too advanced or inappropriate for them.

Who Is an Advanced Reader?

Every parent probably knows if they have an advanced reader. Here is my definition from my post on book recommendations for advanced readers:

  • Advanced readers don’t need reminders, rewards, or any other encouragement to read.
  • Started reading early or progressed very rapidly in their reading levels.
  • No longer interested in most books recommended for their age.
  • Choose reading over other activities, read to relax and chill out.
  • Not intimidated by the length of the book or by font size.
  • Can spend hours in the library.
  • Might have a passionate interest in something and look for every possible book on that subject.
  • Have good comprehension and usually test significantly higher than their age on reading and comprehension tests. Read more…
Doug Cushman skype author visit

Skype School Author Visit with Doug Cushman in Paris!

The Miracle of a Skype Author Visit! My son’s third grade teachers requested a school author visit from Doug Cushman. They teach a mystery writing unit and they use Doug’s mystery picture books to start off the unit.

Doug Cushman author illustrator, 2nd grade school author visit, Doug Cushman Skype author visit

A picture book mystery is perfect for breaking down the elements of a good mystery story:

  • leading and minor characters
  • setting that changes in order to create action and adventure
  • an intriguing plot with suspense and a clear beginning, middle and end
  • a problem to solve
  • a solution that is believeable Read more…
PickyKidPix cuts my hair, my daughter cuts my hair

My Daughter Cuts My Hair and Picture Book GIVEAWAY

I mentioned many times how my 11-year-old daughter, PickyKidPix, wants to learn to be a hair stylist in order to earn money in high school. What I didn’t realize was how sneaky and persistent she has been to learn.

In the beginning, she would invite her friends over for a playdate and let them watch TV so they would sit still while she styles their hair. Her friends would leave with elaborate braids á la Katniss. And, after she received flat irons and curling irons for birthday gifts, with straight and/or curly hair; the opposite of what they came in with. Read more…

women's history month picture book of the day

March is Women’s History Month Picture Book of the Day

March is Women’s History Month and one great way to celebrate is to go to my friend, Margo Tannebaum’s joint blog, KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month. For the month of March, Margo of The Fourth Musketeer and her partner in this endeavor, Shelf Employed, have lined up guest bloggers to celebrate children’s books featuring women in history. Both are children’s librarians with wonderful blogs!!

Today is my turn for Picture Book of the Day, so I thought I would jump on their bandwagon and cover five picture books of women to celebrate and learn about in honor of Women’s History Month.

Alice Coachman, Picture Book of the Day

I hope you share with me your favorite children’s book celebrating a women who made a difference. Thank you! Read more…

Multicultural Books for Kids from the Kid LIt Blog Hop

Multicultural Books for Kids from the Kid Lit Blog Hop

I wanted to share some of the great multicultural books from the last Kid Lit Blog Hop.

Sam and the Lucky Money from Randomly Reading

Sam and the Lucky Money is is a wonderful read aloud for kids.  It is not so much about teaching young readers about the Lunar New Year, as it is about helping them to understand the importance of being thankful for what they have.  Besides gratitude, Sam also learns about compassion and generosity.  The nice part about all that is it comes in the form of a lovely story that young readers will no doubt enjoy.

Sam and the Lucky Money reviewed by Randomly ReadingRead more…

racist Thorough Modern Millie

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 Correspondent

In case you are trying to find the posts, they are here:

Thoroughly Modern Millie is Thoroughly Racist

NNHS Responds to Concerns About Thoroughly Modern Millie

My Take on Thoroughly Modern Millie

Talk Back: Racism in Thoroughly Modern Millie at NNHS

Throwndown NNHS: Talk the Talk or Walk the Walk? Regarding Racism in Thoroughly Modern Millie

MTI Advises How to Squelch Dissent on Thoroughly Modern Millie

Rebuttal to ’Millie in Newton: Turn Stereotypes into Lessons

More Than 50% of Asian American Teens are Bullied in School

White Privilege and Thoroughly Modern Millie

 

I need one day to clear my head but tomorrow I will post my response on I Love Newton to the Talk Back and article. Thank you so much for caring about this issue.

Read more…

History of St. Patrick's Day

History of St. Patrick’s Day for Kids

I have to confess that I thought St. Patrick’s Day was about pots of gold, leprechauns and four leaf clovers. I suppose if I thought hard about it, I would have guessed that St. Patrick was a Catholic saint. So, in a fit of curiosity and because I recently subscribed to a blog, Celebrating Holidays, to help me blog, I read the true history of St. Patrick. He’s like Joan of Arc!

So, here is the blog post on the History of St. Patrick’s Day. And here is a video if you prefer something visual. Read more…