• 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!

funny math science chapter books for boys ages 9 and up

Funny Science-y Math-y Chapter Books for ages 7 and up

There seems to be a new sub-genre in children’s books that target boys to get them reading. It’s for boys like my own who graduated from potty and underwear humor (ok, maybe they never do!) and still want funny but with a science twist.

This is not to say that these books are science fiction; it’s more like Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets Mad Scientist. In any case, these are fun books to get boys reading. If they like chapter books. And science. And humor. And potty humor never hurts either!

What are your favorite books for boys (or girls!) that are funny but with a science bent? Please share and I’ll keep adding to the list. Thanks! Read more…

judging the cybils graphic novels

Judging the Cybils Graphic Novels Category

There were so many great graphic novels on the short list for the Cybils, particularly in the Young Adult category! The Cybils do not include honorable mentions so my take is just my own opinion and not that of the Graphic Novel judging committee. I wanted to spotlight a few standouts that are worth hunting down.

2013 Cybils

YA Graphic Novel Notables from 2013

Young Adult Graphic Novel winner, Templar by Jordan Mechner and illustrated by husband and wife team LeUyen Pham  and Alex Puvilland and Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang and Lark Pien both tackled epic historical events where the story is told through imagined characters.

Read more…

The Jungle Book Mangos4Mowgli

#Mangos4Mowgli Twitter Party with Great Prizes!

Do you love mangos too? They taste like summer to me and I could use some sunshine after the winter we’ve been having here in Boston! Do you know the trick to cutting a mango into easy-to-eat cubes? Try this!

Mangos and The Jungle Book movie! We’re throwing a Twitter party with great prizes that will bring a little sunshine to your winter! I’m excited to be co-hosting the #Mangos4Mowgli Twitter Party with The Motherhood and The National Mango Board this Tuesday at 1 pm EST. I hope you can join us to win some great prizes.

Here are the details:

When: Tuesday, February 25 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #Mangos4Mowgli hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite.

Hashtag: #Mangos4Mowgli Read more…

kids and nunchucks, should kids learn nunchucks

Nunchaku: My Son Teaches Himself Nunchucks

It was a long winter break and I didn’t plan anything special to entertain the kids. After a week of being mostly house bound, out of sheer laziness I took my kids to check out the crafts store, hoping that a few key purchases would keep them entertained and off screens.

My son only wanted two rolls of Duck duct tape so he was easy to please. When he got home, he used aluminum foil and makes what he always makes with duct tape and aluminum foil: weapons. This is the third set of nun chucks he has made, and they were a little short when he went to use them, so I finally asked him if he wanted a real pair.

nun chucks, nunchucks, nunchucku

My son’s duct tape crafts from top to bottom: a ball handled weapon, a grappling hook, a hammer,  nunchucks and a sword.  Read more…

multicultural book winners from ALA 2014

Multicultural Winners from ALA and Kid Lit Blog Hop

I was so happy to see multicultural children’s book win ALA awards (that were not specific diversity awards such as the Pura Belpré, the Coretta Scott King or the Schneider Family Book Award. Many are on my to-be-found-and-read-pile so I thought I’d share a few of them today.

2014 Printz Award Honor Books: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor, 15, is the new girl at school and bullied because she’s overweight and dresses in a flamboyant manner. Park is a half-Korean boy who has lived in Omaha, Nebraska, all his life but still feels like an outsider. This is a story of first love, which very slowly builds from the first day Eleanor sits next to Park on the school bus. from School Library Journal

Read more…

archery birthday party with 3rd grade boys

My Son’s Archery Birthday Party

My three kids had learned archery at summer camp and each of them mentioned separately how much they liked it so I posted a few months back about finding an archery class near us to try out. My son decided to do an archery party for his 9th  birthday and that was the perfect opportunity to check it out.

The archery place has 13 shooting stations, very tightly spaced together, with the targets set much further  back than the targets at camp.

archery party, archery birthday party

Putting 13 boys with bows and arrows practically shoulder to shoulder did make me a little nervous!

DSC_0095 Read more…

26 books for kids about arab world middle east

27 Books for Kids About the Arab World (ages 4-18)

Please welcome my guest blogger, author Elsa Marston who has a wonderful book list for children about the Arab World including picture books, advanced picture books, chapter books, a graphic novel and young adult books.

 

How can we Americans hope ever to understand the Middle East?  Not very easily, I’m afraid,  it’s complicated.  But we can gain appreciation of the PEOPLE of the Middle East from the books that have been published in just the last twenty years.  I mean books written for young people, which don’t have an axe to grind (almost literally), an enemy to attack, a case to make or deflate, or an ideology to push—as do so many books published for adult readers.  Good books for youth tell a story that engages not only the intellect but the heart.  They introduce us to “real people” whom we can care about, even if they come from life situations very different from ours.  If the story is well written, we can identify with those fictional people and want to know more about them: why they believe as they do, what they love and what they fear, how their lives as children shape the lives they may lead as adults. Read more…

peanut butter and jellyfish by jarrett krosoczka trailer exclusive

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish Trailer Exclusive!

Do your kids love book trailers as much as my kids do? It’s a great way, I’ve found, to get kids interested in a book and these days children’s book trailers can be as exciting as movie trailers!

It’s also new medium for creative types like illustrators and authors to play in. And if they have a background in art like Jarrett Krososczka who graduated from Rhode Island School of Design, then WATCH OUT because you are in for a treat!

I’m so excited to debut his trailer for his newest picture book, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish!!!

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett Krosoczka

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are the best of friends. They swim up. They swim down. They swim all around. Except near Crabby, who never has anything nice to say to them. “You two swim like humans” is the least of his insults.

Then one day Crabby is caught in a lobster trap and needs their help! Should they help him? It’s Peanut Butter and Jellyfish to the rescue! Crabby might be afraid of heights . . . but will he be brave enough to apologize?

If you want to preorder Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, please click on image to purchase from Amazon. I’m an affiliate.

Zoe and Zak blog tour

Riordan-Like Hindu Mythology Adventure Series!

Tiger Temple - Blog Tour Button

About the Book

Title: Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple (Zoe & Zak Series, Book #3)

Author: Lars Guignard

Publisher: Fantastic Press

Publication Date: January 1, 2014

Number of Pages: 267

Recommended Age: 8+ Read more…