• 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!

We Need Diverse Books

#WeNeedDiverseBooks and Joseph Bruchac YA GIVEAWAY

Have you been following the brouhaha on Twitter: #WeNeedDiverseBooks ?

This is what went down:

“Last week, BookCon announced their event’s lineup of blockbuster kid lit panelists. Jeff Kinney, James Patterson, Rick Riordan, and Lemony Snicket, four white men, will be starring as luminaries in the field for this event.

Even the invited panelists have begun raising important questions, as Rick Riordan tweeted the following:

Rick Riordan Tweet
Read more…

2014 Boston Marathon Man

Boston Marathon View From My House

This is the last year we’ll be able to watch the Boston Marathon from our living room window because we are moving nearby but no longer on the route. I am happy that we were able to watch this special year, reeling from the bombings that affected everyone by two degrees of separation. It was especially weird for me because my office is at the finish line.

My kids spent the day on one side the street due to increased security wandering up and down a small stretch with their friends from our house to the marathon and back. The weather was perfect for the runners and many of our friends and neighbors were running for charities. My son’s soccer teammate’s dad ran for a particularly poignant cause. He was the soccer coach for 8-year-old Martin Richard who died last year from the bomb.

Over 100,000 daffodils bulbs were planted along the Marathon route to commemorate the victims of the bombings and more than 36,000 runners signed up.

daffodils for Boston Marathon mile 18
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free books through scholastic

FREE Books from Scholastic through EVEREADY® Gold®

Now that it’s spring and we can finally get outside here in Boston, it’s a great time to explore. My kids have this aversion to insects — I’m not sure why, but they are terrified by spiders in particular — so some outside insect exploration would be a good thing. I like to use books to both entertain and to teach and I wanted to introduce this wonderful program where you can get a FREE Scholastic book with a purchase of EVEREADY® Gold® batteries.

The book options include Fly Guy, The Magic School Bus and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Let’s explore how to use these books for some outside fun (and insect aversion therapy for my kids!). Read more…

Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Why Social Emotional Skills Rule the World! My College Roommate Will Fix Obamacare

I am so proud of my freshman college roommate, Sylvia Mathews Burwell. She will be the next Health Secretary  on Obama’s Cabinet.

“President Barack Obama announced Friday that he will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who currently directs the White House budget office, to be the next health secretary, the Cabinet official who’s ultimately responsible for overseeing Obamacare. During the ceremony, Obama touted Burwell skills as someone who can handle tough challenges.

‘Sylvia is a proven manager, and she knows how to deliver results,” he said. “And she’ll need to be a proven manager because these are tough tasks, big challenges.’

She also has a history in Washington circles that extends beyond her current position.” From CNN Read more…

10 Books to Help Kids Become More Responsible

10 Books to Help Kids Become More Responsible

Mamoo Kids asked me for a list of books to help kids become more independent. That got me thinking … can books for kids teach kids about responsibility? Why not? It will help start the discussion and that might lead to better remembering which might lead to being more responsible!

Mamoo Kids ‏@mamookids

@pragmaticmom great site! love your recommendations. do you have suggestions for books on helping kids become more independent? responsible?

 

re·spon·si·ble
riˈspänsəbəl/
adjective
  1. having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one’s job or role.

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World Book Night book list for kids and teens

World Book Night Books for Kids and Teens

Today is World Book Night and the purpose is to spread the love of reading from person to person.

World Book Night

World Book Night has assembled a book list for 2014 and I’ve hightlighted the books for kids and teens.

World Book Night

I hope you get a chance to spread the love of reading tonight by reading together or gifting a book!

Read more…

Meeting Ridley Pearson and Rick Riordan, Kingdom Keepers

Meeting Ridley Pearson and Rick Riordan

My son and I have been really excited to meet Rick Riordan now that he moved to Boston. Our first opportunity was at the MegaAwesome Author Event one town over. Rick was speaking along with three other authors: Ridley Pearson (Kingdom Keepers, Peter and the Star Catchers), Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl), and Jonathan Stroud (Bartimaeus).

Rick Riordan and Mega Awesome book event

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imagesbaby1

5 Thoughtful and Creative Baby Shower Gifts to Show You Care

Baby shower gifts can really put the pressure on. You want to get your friend or family member just the right thing, but you’re not sure what’s going to do justice for the occasion. With that in mind, many people turn to creative, do-it-yourself inspired gifts if they’re too late to snag something useful from the registry. These gifts are all great ideas, and vary between the practical to the decorative. When you’re pressed for time and need to get something for a baby shower now, you can turn to these. Read more…