• Top 10 Must Read Banned Books for Kids

    Censorship makes me angry (but many things do) and it tends to make me go on the offensive. Instead of my diatribe, I found some words of wisdom by authors on how to handle censorship. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Most of the censorship I see is fear-driven. I […]

  • Top 10 Hispanic American Heritage Books For Kids

    I was confused on the nomenclature of Hispanic American versus Latino American so I looked it up: Hispanic: a person of Latin American or Iberian ancestry, fluent in Spanish. It is primarily used along the Eastern seaboard, and favored by those of Caribbean and South American ancestry or origin.  English or Spanish can be their […]

  • 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!).

Hindi Nursery Rhyme Videos to Teach Kids Indian Culture

Hindi Nursery Rhyme Videos to Teach Kids Indian Culture

Please welcome my guest blogger Shailee Butalia of Ghotu Motu Ki Toli. Ghotu Motu is a live action series focused on Indian nursery rhymes. What a fun way to teach kids about Indian culture!

Shailee Butalia of Ghotu Motu Ki Toli


I was fortunate to have a new child within the last year. Of course, my concerns as soon I found out that I was pregnant revolved around how I would raise my baby and what I needed to do to keep her healthy and thriving. As she’s grown bigger, a new set of concerns have crossed my mind. How will I make sure that my child knows her South Asian Indian culture and her heritage when we live outside of our country of origin?

Hindi Nursery Rhyme Videos to Teach Kids Indian Culture

I was born and raised in the US. My parents still spoke Gujarati at home which is how I learned it. They took us to the local Indian festivals and listened to Indian music. We traveled to India at least a few times so we could see where they had grown up. Read more…

Papa John's Pizza Fuels After School Activities with #BetterIngredients

Papa John’s Pizza Fuels After School Activities with #BetterIngredients

Is pizza healthy? I think that depends on what the pizza is made of and how much you eat. But for my kids, a slice pizza with a side of fruit is a healthy mini-meal after school snack they need to fuel up before heading out to a sports practice.

My kids typically come home from school ravenous which puts them in a terrible mood. They need to eat immediately and they need something hearty and healthy because they are usually gone for 3 to 4 hours for their practice. There’s also that weird time slot that one of my kids will usually get for their school lunch. An early lunch slot at 10:50 am will consistently result in a tired, hungry and cranky kid after school. Read more…

SAT Vocabulary Flashcards to Learn New Words

SAT Vocabulary Flashcards to Learn New Words

PickyKidPix just turned 13 years old and she’s quite the long-term planner. Because she intends to get a high score on the SAT test four years from now, she’s taken immediate steps to improve her vocabulary.

The first thing she did was sign up for Latin for 7th grade based on the assumption that Latin, with its roots and suffixes, will help her break down unfamiliar words.

She asked me how I scored a decent but in no way perfect score on my SAT 30+ years ago. I told her that I memorized a box of 1000 SAT vocabulary cards over one summer. It really worked for me; my SAT verbal score went up a whopping 600 points! One of my college roommates got similar results by memorizing the dictionary.
Read more…

18 Wonderful Picture Books about the Arab Nation

18 Wonderful Picture Books about the Arab World

When a country is at war, it’s easy to get a distorted view of the “enemy”. The media also plays a role in showing a certain point of view meant to stir the populace into support of their government backing the war effort. But this kind of distortion trickles down to oversimplifying things to a black and white point of view. That never does justice to the true situation and is a hurdle for our kids to overcome in order to get a more balanced world view.

One way to demystify the Middle East as religious fanatics bent on destroying the free world is to let them see the many, many stories of the Arab people, both past and present. This collection of picture books about the Arab nation attempts to gather up these stories so please help me out by suggesting you favorites! If we all teach our children that Muslim families are no different from ours, this might pave the way for a generation that can find a way to figure out world peace. Thank you!

Read more…

Father's Day Humor & GIVEAWAY

Father’s Day Humor & #GIVEAWAYS!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, grandfathers and godfathers out there! And especially to my husband to whom these cartoons are dedicated to that I found on Pinterest. No schmaltzy memes for him. He likes humor!

father's day print

This is a print you can buy. Read more…

Percy Jackson Boxed Set GIVEAWAY #ReadRiordan

Percy Jackson GIVEAWAY #ReadRiordan

Percy Jackson pack

Can you  believe it’s the 10th Anniversary of the Percy Jackson series? I’m thrilled to be part of this celebration and I’ll be posting all year and doing giveaways as part of the #ReadRiordan fan club.

CELEBRATE PERCY’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY with The Lightning Thief, the book that started the internationally best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

THE LIGHTNING THIEF has sold millions of copies worldwide, appears on school reading lists nationwide, and inspired a major motion picture. Accolades include:

  • Included in Time Magazine’s 2014 List of 100 best Young-Adult Books of All Times
  • A New York Times Notable Book of 20015
  • A Child Magazine Best Book of the Year
  • A School Library Journal Best Book of 2005
  • More than 6 year on the New York Times Best Sellers List (and counting!)

Read more…

Connecting Art and Science with Hokusai's The Great Wave

Connecting Art and Science with Hokusai’s The Great Wave

It’s amazing how a single piece of art can have a ripple effect, inspiring others all around the world and for many generations. Hokusai’s iconic blockprint The Great Wave is one of the best recognized works of Japanese art in the world.

The Great Wave by Hokusai, Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Here are some of the spin offs from Hokusai’s The Great Wave

Couchabunga by John Cedarquist based on The Great Wave by Hokusai Read more…

#HorizonSnacks Bento for #CuriousKids

Bento Box Snacks for Volleyball Tournaments

Northeast Junior Volleyball Championships

This is the view from my hotel. It was mostly urban blight except for this garden oasis.

We spend a lot of time at kids’ sports games. This past three-day weekend was spent at Grasshopper and Sensei’s first big volleyball tournament, the New England Youth Volleyball Championships in Hartford, Connecticut. She stayed in a rooming group with her teammates and I had a room (for one) to myself. But we needed to bring food for the weekend — breakfast, lunch and snacks — with no refrigeration.

Northeast Junior Volleyball ChampionshipsRead more…

Bluebirds of Happiness KidLit & Kid Lit Blog Hop

Bluebirds of Happiness KidLit GIVEAWAY & Kid Lit Blog Hop

What is it about bluebirds that make us happy? Their association with happiness, prosperity, good health, and renewal of spring dates back thousands of years and across many cultures.

my son found a bluebird egg hatched out

My son found this shell outside his guitar teacher’s house. It looks like a successful hatching!

The Shang Dynasty in China, 1766-1122 BC, associates the bluebird with knowledge and enlightenment. “In Native American mythology, some tribes consider the bluebird a spirit in animal form that symbolizes the dawn of a new day; others associate the friendly bird with the sun. The Iroquois believe that the bluebird is a harbinger of spring that fights off the evil demigod of winter, Tawiscaron.” from LiveHappy

Eastern Bluebird Read more…