• 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!

read aloud books for kids, read aloud book lists

Read Aloud Books for Kids and Other Ideas For Summer Fun

It all started with a few tweets:

Bonnie of @MrsStraitsClass mentioned that she read aloud to her kids every day.

Mrs. Straits class, 2nd grade teacher

I teach elementary actually but even if I didn’t, I’d still read aloud every day. I love using accents and fun voices. :)

Accents and fun voices?!!  I had to know more! I begged her to record it and upload to YouTube. And here she is reading Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus by Mo Willems.

Read more…

monster picture book, The Monstore

Monster Picture Book for Kids With Keep Out Signs

Sibling relationships, specifically big brother and little sister, are at the center of one of the funniest picture books on monsters that I’ve read in a while. As I think about siblings getting along (or not!), I only need to look to the bedroom doors of my three kids for an illustration of this dynamic in my house:

Grasshopper and Sensei, girl, age 13 … now that she’s a teen, she likes to keep her door locked.

siblings and keep out of rooms, sibling relationships

photo-1Read more…

Dear Teen Me, advice to teenagers, advice to teens, parenting advice for teens

Critical Advice For Teens … What’s Yours?

I feel fortunate to have kept in touch with one of my Freshman dorm mates, Lisa Rosowsky, who is a professor at the Mass College of Arts, an artist, and mother of  two teenage daughters. As a very nurturing Prof — she is SO nice — she councils teens and twenty-somethings all day, every day. I pay special attention to her advice for teens.

Lisa Rosowsky, angel of Auchwitz

Lisa Rosowsky’s Angel of Auschwitz

She sent me this email below. Her advice is on etiquette, something that is very important to my husband. He feels that it the single most important thing to teach kids. It can open doors and, conversely,  lack of proper etiquette can also slam them shut!

I thought it would be fun to help her out by Crowdsourcing advice for teens! Read more…

Ronald Reagan books for kids, Ronald Reagan children's books, books for kids and Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan book for kids

Ronald Reagan Picture Book: I Like It Despite Myself

I should preface this by saying that I grew up with Ronald Regan as my governor of California and my parents were not big fans. You see, my father worked as a math professor at a state university and Regan reduced or froze the salaries of the teachers and professors. Everytime, Regan’s name came up, my parents would invariably complain about him.

I joined blog tour for this picture book of Ronald Regan because Jen at TLC Blog Tours explicitly said, “TLC does not require positive reviews, only honest ones. We, of course, hope you enjoy the reading experience, but we want you to feel free to express your honest thoughts on the book and not feel any obligations to anyone but yourself.”

I was convinced and was willing to have an open mind about Ronald Reagan. He seems to be the poster child for the Republicans, lost as they are in this new economy and multicultural voting population.

Ronald Reagan Picture Book

The Remarkable Ronald Reagan: Cowboy and Commander in Chief by Susan Allen, illustrated by Leslie Harrington Read more…

books like Percy Jackson series, Percy Jackson Riordan, mythology books for kids, mythology adventure books,

More Books Like Percy Jackson

We might be in the same shoes. My son just finished all the Rick Riordan books which kept us happily reading for the better part of the school year. But now we are adrift, desperately seeking more books like Percy Jackson.  Riordan’s books are so exciting, we often stay up past my son’s bedtime for “just one more page.” We more of those type of books.

We also like the special powers conferred by lineage to gods. Deep down, my son and I both feel that we are Half Bloods and/or godlings just waiting to discover our latent powers. It hasn’t happened yet but we’re not discouraged.

Learning about ancient Mythology from any civilization is a welcome bonus. I like it because we feel smarter for knowing about gods and heroes and the learning is so pleasant that it doesn’t feel like work.

I think any age is the perfect age to read about mythology. I’ve gathered up our favorite Riordan-like Percy Jackson books as well as mythology picture books and easy chapter books. I also have a collection of Mythology Books for Kids on Pinterest.

 

Mythology Picture Books for Kids

Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas

Karas has carefully researched mythology on Zeus’ youth to create this wonderful picture book that stays true to its classic origins. Young kids will love the story and older kids will still get something out of it. It’s a picture book that manages to bridge a wide span of ages. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Read more…

funny daddy book,

Celebrating Dads with Happy Father’s Day Humor GIVEAWAY

I’m celebrating dads with humor today! My husband is on a once-in-a-lifetime golf trip in Ireland and will be landing back in Boston shortly. He is doing a double celebration — for a friend’s 60th birthday and for Father’s Day  returning just in time for a Father’s Day dinner. It will be low key, perhaps even take out. A week without him is a long week indeed.

And so, to celebrate Father’s Day, I have rounded up a few funny tidbits that will make my husband laugh. Here’s hoping that your Father’s Day is wonderful too, filled with laughter and fun! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, step dads, and grandfathers out there!! I hope you have a wonderful day. How are you celebrating Father’s Day today?

Father’s Day ePicture Book to Read with Kids

Every Dung Beetle Rolls Poop by Craig Fischer

This kindle book is what every dad should be reading to his child today. It has poop and a fatherly message. What’s not to love about that?

Read more…

Go Daddy Twitter Party, NoWebSitis #NoWebSitis

Small Business Website: Win One from Go Daddy!

Co-hosting a Twitter party two days ago for Go Daddy, I realized how much we all cherish our local small businesses. They are a vital part of our local community and we feel good supporting them. From Farmers’ Markets to our neighborhood bookstore, we all unanimously want them to succeed.

Not all my favorite local businesses have websites, particularly my artisan mom friends. It’s usually the cost combined with lack of expertise in the technical arena that prevents them from tackling their small business website. It’s a shame.  A website is an important marketing and sales tool. But now I can win one for them!

Go Daddy’s No WebSitis Contest

I’m excited about Go Daddy’s No WebSitis contest. They are giving away 10 domain one year registrations PLUS a one year Premium Website Builder plan. Even better, they are providing special assistance to create the site.

It’s easy to win:

1) Go here to nominate your favorite small business: 

2) Vote for your favorite small business beginning June 25th and running through July 15th. Read more…

Platypus Police Squad, Jarrett Krosoczka, author event for kids, mystery chapter book,

Crime Scene for Platypus Police Squad

It was a Friday afternoon. I got wind from Kellie at Walden Pond Publishing that something was going down in Dedham, Massachusetts at Blue Bunny Books. She warned me that similar suspicious activities had been happening there as it is owned by author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds of Ish and The Dot. Something involving Jarrett Krosoczka Playtpus Police Squad. I was intrigued. And wary. You can’t be too careful!

What do you think? Is this a crime scene?! The caution tape is certainly suspicious!

Platypus Police Squad, author event, Jarrett Krosoczka,

Why is there cake involved? And who were these two guys on the cake? Did they commit the crime?

Platypus Police Squad, author event, Jarrett Krosoczka,

No, it wasn’t the platypuses. They turned out to be the good guys. Maybe it’s this guy then! Do you know who he is?

photo

Or do you think these lunch ladies look suspicious? They did bring in milk and cookies though. Did you figure out that it’s author Jarrett Krosoczka that is holding the milk and cookies?

That isn’t a crime. Is the Lunch Lady and her sidekick Betty involved somehow? Are they in trouble? Maybe they are here incognito in the blue uniforms. I’m not sure. Read more…

win a website, Go Daddy, No Websitus contest

Help Your Favorite Small Business Win a Website Through Go Daddy

My mom friend Suzi Wilder  makes the most beautiful fused glass works of art. I buy them as presents for every wedding I am invited to. She works out of her house so I will go by when I need a gift and she will set up a display of her latest pieces on her dining room table.

A few years ago, she had a website, WilderGlassworks.com, but it’s no longer operational. It’s too bad because she does beautiful custom pieces that you could have ordered online. Here are a few examples but the photos do not do justice to her pieces!

Wilder Glassworks, Suzi Wilder, fused glass plattersRead more…