• 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!

Making Math Fun!

Making Math Fun!

Please welcome my guest blogger, Michele Williams, Ph.D., who has a math tutoring company. Today she will be sharing tried-and-true ideas for making math fun for kids!

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I can’t think of anything more rewarding than tutoring, especially in math. That’s why I spent nights and weekends helping family and friends with math during my years as an engineer, and it’s why I eventually made the transition to tutoring full time. What could be better than helping a child go from “I can’t do fractions” to “Fractions are fun!”? Read more…

25 Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

Our 25 Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

First of all, I have to say that December is a crazy busy month to attempt to complete 25 Random Acts of Kindness for our family. We are busy and stressed out and giving back isn’t top of mind. Which is why this is so good for us!

25 acts of kindness advent calendar that you make yourself

It’s almost easier to do an Act of Kindness as it is to keep track of it. And forget getting everyone in my family to complete one per day. I think that is a great goal but not feasible for us right now. Completing one a day as a family will have to do.

So my upshot is: do it but be kind to yourself. Good enough is … good enough. Even thinking about doing an Act of Kindness every day is an improvement for us so baby steps! Read more…

Writing for Reluctant Readers by Ty Drago

Writing for Reluctant Readers by Ty Drago

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Ty Drago of The Undertakers series. He’s giving advice based on years of school visits on how to get reluctant readers writing.

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I often tell people that I “scare children for a living.”

It’s a cute, funny thing to say — and it’s true, given the fact that my claim to fame is a series of horror novels written for middle grade kids (ages 10 and up). Read more…

Science of Flu for Kids

Flu Season Science for Kids

PickyKidPix 7th grade science started off with microbes and how the immune system works. Despite this information, she still doesn’t understand why she needs to get an annual flu shot. I found some great videos and a picture book to help kids understand Flu Season Science!

Flu Season Science

PickyKidPix’s 7th Grade Science Unit on Micro Organisms.

How do vaccines work with our immune systems to keep us from getting sick? Watch this 2 minute video from NOVA PBS, Immunity and Vaccines Explained, to learn how germs get killed by our immune system. After you watch this video, see if you can answer the question below.

Flu Season Science

How cells reproduce from PickyKidPix’s 7th Grade Science Class. Read more…

I'm Judging the Cybils!

I’m Judging the Cybils!

I am so excited to be a 2nd round judge for Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books for the Cybils Awards!

Cybils book awards

The Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal.

Read more…

My Son's Educational Video Picks

My Son’s Educational Video Picks

My son and I have been curating videos for your viewing pleasure. Many of them came our way via the excellent blog The Kid Should See This which selects videos created for adults but appropriate for a young audience. My son spends quite a bit of time on YouTube these days so he offered up some videos that he wanted to share with my audience as well.

This first video feeds my son’s interest in all things ninja. As a result, I have a ninja book list for him and a match up of picture books to a particular martial art. My son has expressed interest in making weapons like this Japanese artisan who makes traditional samurai swords and there is, in fact, a blacksmithing class near us that my husband wants to do with my son when he’s old enough. But for now, my son will just have to be content watching how swords are made.

Read more…

A Flock of Books about Birds from Suzanne Goldsmith Washashore

A Flock of Books about Birds

Please welcome author Suzanne Goldsmith, winner of the 2014 Green Earth Book Award in the Young Adult Category, for Washashore. Today she is sharing her favorite books about birds! Suzanne is giving away 3 signed copies of her book to 3 winners! See the Rafflecopter below to win. (This giveaway is going to have a short duration so that winners might receive their copies before the holiday season ends.)

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Birds. They have four limbs—just like us. They walk on two legs—just like us. They like to sing—just like us.

And yet they are so very different from us. Which is why we find them so fascinating. Read more…

middle east book award for kids books picture books ya

Middle East Outreach Council Book Award

I was thrilled to meet Barbara Petzen of the Middle East Outreach Council at the National Council for the Social Studies meeting. The Middle East Outreach Council just announced their award for best children’s and young adult books!

MEOC, middle east outreach council

Established in 1999, the Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures.

Books are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of a Middle Eastern subject, as well as on characterization, plot, and appeal for the intended audience. For this award, the Middle East is defined as the Arab World, Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Afghanistan.
Awards are given in three categories: Picture Books, Youth Literature, and Youth Nonfiction.

Now in its fourteenth year, the Middle East Book Award recognizes quality publications in three categories: Picture Book, Youth Literature, and Youth Nonfiction (not awarded this year).

Here are the winners! Read more…

My Son Gives to a Child in Need Through CWIST

My Son Gives to a Child in Need Through CWIST

I posted on CWIST’s learning challenges that parents select for their kids and reward them as they see fit. For the holiday season, CWIST has a program that lets kids earn a present for a child in need who might not have any presents under the tree this year!

my son gives to a child in need through CWISTRead more…