• 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!

My Son's 4th Grade Reading Log

My Son’s 4th Grade Reading List

I’m trying to keep track of my son’s 4th Grade reading log because if I don’t write it down, I forget what he read and at what age. I’m hoping that the books that appeal to him — he has very narrow range of book genres he likes — with help other parents find books for their 4th graders! Note that during my Parent/Teacher conference, his teacher wanted him to branch out to other genres besides Fantasy! We’re trying!!! I’ll keep updating this list as the year progresses!

I also have my son’s Going Into 4th Grade summer reading list.

My son and I are going to give feedback on each book. He’ll go first (in italics) and I add my take on his book selection. Read more…

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How to be a More Involved Parent

How to be a More Involved Parent

Sometimes it can be difficult to strike a healthy balance between the different areas of your life. Whenever something is urgent, everything else takes a back seat until the issue is resolved. But a happy and successful life requires more than just putting out fires, it requires proactive involvement in the areas of your life that deserve cultivation and nurturing, like your family.IMG_4477 Read more…

More 2015 Caldecott Picks & Picture Book of the Day

More 2015 Caldecott Picks & Picture Book of the Day

I wanted to share Maria Gianferrari‘s great Caldecott and Newbery picks that she left in my comments:

My vote for the Caldecott goes to Marla Frazee’s The Farmer and the Clown–I LOVE this book! It’s funny and touching–I laughed and cried :) I also loved Kelly DiPucchio’s Gaston w/ Christian Robinson’s amazing art, and The Right Word by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

I also loved Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin as well as Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

Read more…

New Whole Foods South End BOSTON Brings Me Home Again

New Whole Foods South End BOSTON Brings Me Home Again

When I was in college 30 years ago, I volunteered at Pine Street Inn, a homeless shelter for men. It was located in South End, Boston, then an area cut off from Boston proper by the orange line subway line which ran above ground. It wasn’t a safe area; I had to recruit my 6 foot 2 inch football player friend Neal to come with me.

Our job was pretty straightforward. We mixed up a pitcher of KoolAid and offered multi-vitamins to guests as they came in to sleep there for the night. I was the front person; Neal, amused by the action we’d get, kept pace by filling paper cups of KoolAid. One night as we were leaving the premises, a strung out homeless man followed us, yelling garbled expletives and closing in quickly!

We screamed “RUN!” to each other and sprinted the half mile to the subway station (and by “sprinting” I mean that I held Neal back as I am a slow runner and he chivalrously slowed down for me to catch up. He noted at our 25th college reunion that I wasn’t a very good runner back in college. I never improved much either). The weird guy opted not to chase us so it ended up being an “All’s Well That Ends Well” tale of excitement to be retold around the dining hall that night. We did end up returning to Pine Street Inn the next week and the week after that with no other incidents of excitement.

South End BostonRead more…

Best Easy Readers & Early Chapter Books: Cybils 2015 Shortlist

Best Easy Readers & Early Chapter Books: Cybils 2015 Shortlist

I am thrilled to be judging the Cybils in the category of Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books but mum’s the word on my opionion of the short list until the winners are announced on February 14th (also International Book Giving Day!).

All I can say is that this is a great list for emerging readers and newly independent readers. I’ve read the entire list there is something great about every single book! Feel free to find at your local library!

Cybils 2015 Best Easy Readers

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Trades of Hope

Helping Women in Haiti Rebuild Their Lives

Please welcome my work friend Jeradina today. She is guest posting on a cause that is near and dear to heart: helping women in Haiti rebuild their lives through an organization called Trades of Hope.

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Monday, January 12th marks the 5th anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. When the disaster struck many of you felt empowered to help in some small way; you probably gave money, donated clothes, shoes etc. Although the country is rebuilding itself, there are still large areas in Haiti affected by abject poverty. There are many companies out there giving aid to the families that are still suffering from the effects of the earthquake.. But still poverty prevails.

Fortunately there are some organizations that help families build sustainable businesses. Trades of Hope is built upon helping women out of poverty. Read more…

Five Books to Get Your Young Gamer Reading

Five Books to Get Your Young Gamer Reading & GIVEAWAY!

My son and I LOVED the Max Finder by Liam O’Donnell graphic novel mystery series when he was in first and second grade. These short mysteries were HARD to figure out; sometimes the two of us would be right, sometimes we missed the mark entirely. But, Liam’s books worked beautifully to keep my son reading and wanting more.

Now, he has a new series that is honestly sheer genius! A chapter book series based on MINECRAFT! My son is a serious gamer — he actually went to Minecraft camp not once but twice! — and my husband and I work hard but futilely to keep his screen time down to two hours a day. Our policing job is going to get easier!

Please welcome my guest post author today, Liam O’Donnell! Read more…

Blue Birds Caroline Starr Rose

Roanoke Lost Colony Imagined in Blue Birds

I have been reading author Caroline Starr Rose’s blog for a few years. I really like her mix of children’s book reviews, quotes on reading, writing links and author interviews. As mom of two kids, a full-time writer AND blogger on social media, I don’t know how she does it all!

As an ex-social studies and English teacher, Caroline Starr Rose intuitively understands how to make history come alive for kids. If novels-in-verse seem like a stretch to get kids reading, I would hypothesize that they just need to give it a try with a few pages … novels-in-verse lure the reader in. I am a converted fan who was never comfortable reading poetry myself!

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kids reading, kids caught in the act of reading

Caught in the Act … of READING

Thank you to everyone who sent me photos of their kids caught reading. They are wonderful! As always, I will send you a children’s book for each photo. Please email me at pragmaticmomblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

This Family Circus cartoon is courtesy of Ann of Doodles and Jots who sent it to me by way of Instagram.

Family Circus cartoon of kids reading

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