• 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!

Predicting the 2015 Newbery, Caldecott

Predicting 2015 Caldecott & Newbery

I have a selfish reason for compiling this list. It’s my Christmas book list for my kids. It’s also because my kids won’t read (probably like yours!) unless they have a really good book and so I search and search and present, like a game show hostess, blog posts of books that I think my kids will like and they unceremoniously, nay or approve each selection. Usually a nay, by the way. This is what I get back:

“No thanks mom.” (Grasshopper and Sensei politely declining)

“That looks boring.” (PickyKidPix; she is the least concerned about my feelings)

“Ummm, can we choose something else?” (My son squirms uncomfortably when he dislikes a book choice)

“I’ll just re-read Percy Jackson. I don’t want you to spend any of your money.” (What my son actually did all summer to avoid reading a “boring” book)

 

And now I need chapter books besides action adventure for my son (his teacher is trying to broaden his horizens); realistic fiction and dystopian for PickyKidPix; dystopian, non-stupid helpless girl romance and realistic fiction YA for Grasshopper and Sensei. And picture books for all of us, but only the “good” ones. Read more…

Raising Money for First Book at Multicultural Children's Book Day

Raising Money for First Book at Multicultural Children’s Book Day

We have some wonderful news about Multicultural Children’s Book Day! We are now a non-profit! This status will help us with our mission to get diversity books into the hands of underserved children.

multicultural children's book day January 27 2015

To help us with this goal, we are partnering with First Book. We will be both helping them to raise money and donating money we raise through our Multicultural Children’s Book Day to donate multicultural books to kids who need them most!

First Book and Multicultural Children's Book Day

 

About First Book

First Book provides access to new books for children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 120 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada.  Read more…

wisdom tales press

What Would You #WishForOthers?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Capital One for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

What would you wish for this holiday season? After spending the weekend with Valarie Budayr of Jump into a Book and the wonderful staff at Wisdom Tales Press at the National Social Studies Council conference (NSSC) in Boston this past weekend, we would wish for all kids to be able to see themselves in children’s and young adult books. Read more…

Great New Picture Book Finds and GIVEAWAY!

Great New Picture Book Finds and GIVEAWAY!

Today is my turn for Picture Book of the Day and I had a hard time choosing because I’ve been reading and hoarding a small pile of really great picture books.

In the end, I went with my Caldecott contenter picture book,  Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by two Caldecott honored authors, Mac Barnett  and Jon Klassen. They both won a Caldecott honor for Extra Yarn last year when Jon Klassen also won the Caldecott medal for This is Not My Hat. Klassen also won a Caldecott honor for I Want My Hat Back.

Will this winning duo pull it off again this upcoming Caldecott?!! My money is on them!

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Caldecott, Picture Book of the Day

Have you read any great new picture books lately? Please share! Read more…

Plimoth Plantation: Learning About The Mayflower

Plimoth Plantation: Learning About The Mayflower

The first stop for the third grade field trip  to Plimoth Plantation on a wet and dreary day was the Mayflower II.  It’s a replica of the Mayflower ship that the Pilgrims sailed on. We also learned about the life for Pilgrims and Native Americans.

photo (10)

Here’s a model boat version of the Mayflower at Plimoth Plantation. Read more…

The Science of Japanese Ramune Soda for Kids

Science of Japanese Ramune Soda for Kids

My kids discovered the Japanese Ramune soda recently. It was a discovery PickyKidPix made while eating at a Japanese restaurant with her friend. She was determined to hunt them down and we found them at our local Chinese grocery store.

ramune japanese soda and history of codd neck bottle

While the flavors of the Ramune sodas seem overly sweet and subtle to me, my kids seem to like them. I think it’s possibly the cool bottle design though. There is a marble in the neck that you have to push down into the bottle using a plastic piece. Sometimes it’s hard to push that sucker down!codd neck bottle and ramune japanese soda
Read more…

My Best Energy Saving Idea

My Best Energy Saving Idea

I live outside of Boston and our house energy bill surges in the winter. And our winter lasts a long, long time! It’s not just three months, but the snow will start to fall as early as Halloween (ok, that only happened once) and last though April. We typically get a White Christmas.

Saving money on energy is always on our mind because our rising energy bill to heat our home coincides with the holiday spending season! My best idea to save energy is pretty simple yet very effective. It’s really to block the gaps in the doors of your house that let in the cold air.

The fix can be expensive — get new doors and door frames — or inexpensive. We go for easy and inexpensive by using this cold air blocking device called a door sweep by Frost King that my husband bought from Home Depot.

My Best Energy Saving IdeaRead more…

New York Life Keep Good Going Twitter Party

Do Good, Share Traditions and Win Prizes

I’m so thrilled to be co-hosting a Twitter party on behalf of New York Life‘s Keep Good Going on Monday, November 24th at 5pm PST/8pm EST.  What does that mean exactly — Keep Good Going? To me, it means many things:

  • Gratitude for what is in my life.
  • Celebrating family traditions.
  • Remembering those who aren’t with us.
  • Giving back during the holiday season.

My kids are concerned about children who don’t have enough food and so we dug into our pantry for the school food drive which will help our local food pantries. Do you need a book list to help kids learn about hunger? I wrote a book list for Let’s Lasso the Moon and here are a few of my picks:

Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen (Reading Rainbow Book) by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan

A little boy wants to learn more about the people he sees on the street so he accompanies his Uncle Willie to the soup kitchen where they work with other volunteers to help feed the hungry and homeless. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Read more…

Great Biographies for Kids and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Great Biographies for Kids and Kid Lit Blog Hop

I loved biographies as a child. When I was in 4th grade, I polished off the entire section of biographies book by book, just going alphabetically down the line. It was an amazing way to meet a lot of interesting people and it probably plants a sublinminal message of “be awesome” like these people. Make your mark on history.

This is a pile of newly published biographies that found their way to my doorstep. I had the great pleasure of meeting Anita Silvey at a book event and am thrilled that she has a book out (it’s wonderful!).

I hope you enjoy this pile too! What great biographies for kids have you read lately? Please share! Read more…