• 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!

10 perfect read alouds for 5th grade

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 5th Grade

Fifth grade was a busy year for Grasshopper and Sensei and PickyPidPix. The year focused on getting them ready for Middle School both academically, socially and emotionally. Some of the highlights that my kids remembered included a Sharon Creech author study which they unfortunately don’t do anymore due to increased demands from Common Core, Holocaust, and a lot of science. I remember the science of weather being particularly in-depth.

There were books that they loved and discovered that year too! PickyKidPix’s studied SeedFolks and when the teacher omitted two of the stories due to mature content, she searched it out at the public library to read the censored content. We met Sharon Draper that year too who was here on behalf of Understanding Our Differences.

Puberty and anxiety around changing also marked 5th grade and there was no way to win; it was either too slow or too fast or too annoying. Coming of age for girls is a difficult time so we used books as a way to tiptoe and explore the drama that is a part of growing up.

This list is a walk down memory lane for me, as books often are. It includes books I read with my kids, books my kid were read to at school, books they loved and wanted me to read to blog on, and even a book I loved as a fifth grader.

What are your memories of 5th grade either for your kids or yourself? Are there any favorite books you recall as you go down memory lane too? Please share! Read more…

Zoomer Dino Toy for Dino Obsessed Kids Like Mine

Zoomer Dino Toy for Dino Obsessed Kids Like Mine

My son and I were waiting at the hospital to get an MRI scan for a bump on his neck that has persisted for about a month. It turns out that he will need surgery to remove what the MRI revealed to be a kind of cyst that mysterious popped up.

photo

My son’s mysterious cyst that popped up on the left side of his neck.

While we were waiting for our turn to be called, my son snatched a National Geographic Magazine with a Spinosaurus on the cover and an intriguing headline that the Spinosaurus could beat a T-Rex. Read more…

Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade

Do You Have a Signature Drink?

I participated in an influencers Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for mike’s hard lemonade. I received a Circle K gift card to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Do you have a signature cocktail or drink when you drink socially at a bar or a party? I don’t. I’m not much of a drinker but I will occasionally have a glass of wine when out socially. I tend towards light and fruity too. I’ve always wanted to have a Go To drink when ordering at a bar though, so I thought I’d branch out from my usual glass of wine or sangria or my non-alcoholic version of cranberry juice with a lime wedge. Read more…

bullying prevention, Be a Famous Writer Contest, Mrs. P

Bullying Prevention and Be A Famous Writer Contest!

I’m so excited to have Mrs. P of MrsP.com as my guest author today. Her passion is getting kids writing and she runs the very popular MrsP.com Be-a-Famous Writer Contest. Today, though, she’s here to talk about bullying prevention and the role that writing can play for kids. I hope you enjoy it!

p.s. You can also find her on Twitter @MrsPStorytime!

————–

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time when schools and organizations across the country can bring awareness and open up a dialog about the impact of bullying.  Since I am interacting with teachers and parents daily with my free reading website, I wanted to be able to join in these efforts aimed at educating ourselves and the young people in our lives.    Read more…

amazing videos to share with kids

The Kid Should Really See This Part II

My son curated the curated videos made for adults but great for kids at The Kid Should See This. I’m sharing 4 videos that I loved from this great newletter.

The Kid Really Should See This!

The Washington Ballet’s Hardest Dance Moves

If you had doubts that ballet is a sport, watch this video and be convinced! They are amazing athletes! Read more…

non fiction picture book of the day giveaway, plant a pocket of prairie by phyllis root

Non Fiction Picture Book of the Day GIVEWAY

I wanted to share some new non fiction picture books with you today. The thing about non fiction, in my humble opinion, is that it really does need to match the reader’s interest in a very specific way. I’ve picked books that I thought my kids would like and a few others that I like that I hope they, and you, will too.

 

New Non Fiction Picture Books

Non Fiction Picture Book of the Day

non fiction picture book of the day, Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root

This non fiction picture book would work for an Earth Day theme, but I chose it simply because I fell in love with the beautiful illustrations and the hopeful message that it’s possible to save our wild plants and places by simply doing our own small part as best we can.

Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Betsy Bowen

It’s written in prose that reads like a poem with a compelling “What If?” message that shows the connection of wild things from plants and habitat to animals. [non fiction picture book, ages 4 and up]

Plant foxglove beardtongue.

A ruby-throated hummingbird

might hover and sip and thrum.

If that hummingbird sips and zips

looking for something more to eat …

Plant butterfly weed.

Monarch butterflies might lay their eggs

on the underside of leaves.

Read more…

Ninja family reading with flashlights, free book from scholastic and eveready batteries

Ninja Pajama Family Reading Time: FREE Book From Scholastic

My kids are one-quarter Japanese and my mother’s side is from the Daimyo class, which is to say that they were feudal landowners located one hour from Hiroshima but this system changed starting in 1868 with Meiji restoration. I personally like reading about this ancient time in Japan but Grasshopper and Sensei and PickyKidPix have never shown any interest in that or anything ninja. My Japanese side has no real connection to ninja, a mercenary, than perhaps to have used them but my son loves all things ninja and we’ve progressed from ninja picture books, to ninja early chapter books, to now this action adventure chapter book:

 

Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja by Simon Higgins

Set in Japan during the time of the Shogun rule, Moonshadow is an orphan adopted into the Grey Light Order, a secret ninja group loyal to the Shogun. He must stop a hungry Daimyo (warlord) from developing a powerful new weapon from the west that would threaten the fragile peace finally established in Japan. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Read more…

Visiting San Marino: Oldest Sovereign State in the World!

Visiting San Marino: Oldest Sovereign State in the World!

PickyKidPix desperately wanted to join her indoor soccer team on  “trip of a lifetime” playing soccer in Italy with USA Premier Soccer so I used my hoarded stash of money from blogging to take her and Grasshopper and Sensei on a 10 day tour that covered:

  • Como (Lake Como where George Clooney has a house. We didn’t see his house)
  • Milan
  • San Marino (oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world)
  • Rimini (beach town near San Marino)
  • Florence
  • Venice
  • Pisa
  • Portovenere (Unesco Site on the Ligurian coast)
  • Montecantini (Tuscany)

Visiting San Marino Near Italy with Kids!

Read more…