• 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!

entering 2nd grade summer reading list, rising 1st grade summer reading list, 2nd grade book list, 1st grade book list

Rising First Grade Summer Reading List

Do you have a child going into 2nd grade? Try using this great summer reading list created by the Newton Public School Library Teachers & the Newton Free Children’s Librarians because my list is likely on your library shelves. The list includes the best newly published books across all genres including picture books, easy readers, non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels. I hope this helps to keep your kids reading!

What are you reading with your child this summer? Please share!

Other Lists:

Rising Kindergarten Summer Reading List

Rising Second Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Third Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fourth Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fifth Grade Summer Reading List

Rising First Grade Summer Reading List

The Other Side of Town by Jon Agee A taxi cab driver in New York City gets very confused when he picks up a guy in a goofy suit. Aston, Dianne Hutts. A Rock is Lively
Introduces readers to rocks and minerals, describing how they are created, what they can be used for, and their different forms and types.

Read more…

rising 2nd grade summer reading list, rising second grade summer reading list, 3rd grade book list, 3rd grade reading list

Rising 2nd Grade Summer Reading List

Use this great Summer Reading 2013 book list which is a collaboration of the Newton Public School Library Teachers & the Newton Free Children’s Librarians to find books for your kids this summer. Why use my list? Because these books will (hopefully) be on your shelves. They won’t be at my library shelves so I’ll be either going to a library one town over or using your library’s list!

I learned this trick a few years ago when I was frustrated trying to find great picture books and Every Single Book on the list was not there! I also offer you my daughter, PickyKidPix’s, very popular post on the chapter books she read as a 3rd grader. Her post outranks me on Google which is a source of endless checking and amusement for her.

What are your reading with your kids? Any favorites from this list? Please share!

The rest of the lists are here:

Rising Kindergarten Summer Reading List

Rising First Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Third Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fourth Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fifth Grade Summer Reading List

 

Rising 2nd Grade Summer Reading List

The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder by Tony Abbott

Long-time friends and fellow sleuths Jeff Bunter, Brian Rooney, Mara Lubin, and Kelly Smitts, collectively known as the Goofballs, investigate the disappearance of Thunder the pony in their town of Badger Point.

Read more…

BoomWriter Storytellers camp

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Virtual Writing Camp GIVEAWAY

I’m excited to learn about The BoomWriter Storytellers Camp which provides aspiring middle school-aged writers the chance to be published. Bestselling author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, will help get kids started!

Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid camp for kids

I’ll be giving away one scholarship to camp! See my rafflecopter at the bottom.

Everything You Wanted to Know about The BoomWriter Storytellers Camp

  • WHO? Aspiring writers entering grades 6-8
  • WHAT? A one-week online writing camp consisting of instruction, writing, feedback, and peer review
  • WHEN? July and August 2013
  • WHERE? Online at www.BoomWriter.com
  • WHY? Awesome opportunity for campers to write and be published!

Each morning (anytime between 7:00 am – 11:00 am EST), campers will view an online writing lesson and then read, write, and submit their entry. All submissions will be reviewed by BoomWriter instructors.

Later in the day (anytime between 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST), campers will read the submissions of some of the other participants and be able to vote for the pieces they like the best. Campers will be notified of the winning submission the following morning prior to that day’s lesson.The process will continue throughout the week until the story is completed and a book is published! Read more…

storybird

Kids Create Stories from Pictures with Storybird

Please welcome my guest blogger, elementary school teacher AND children’s book author, Susan Stephenson of The Book Chook. I’ve been enjoying her blog for a while now and I’m really excited to have her explain a great website  where kids can create stories from pictures. I’m hoping this will get my kids excited to write this summer!

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Are you looking for ways to arrest the summer slide? Are you interested in encouraging your children to write stories? I’d like to suggest you check out Storybird.

What is Storybird?

Storybird is a fantastic website that encourages us to use artwork created by Storybird’s real-life illustrators in the stories (or storybirds) we write. It’s free to register and use, with options to buy print books or upgrade for special features. All stories and comments are pre-moderated, and completed storybirds can be shared. Read more…

picture book video by kids, MIss Nelson is Missing video by Kindergarten class, Miss Nelson is Missing video by Kindergarteners

Kindergarteners Make Miss Nelson is Missing Video

Kudos to Mr. Avina, a teacher at LAUSD’s Olympic Primary Center, and his class for the hard work put into making this video. It’s an adorable picture book video by kids acting out Miss Nelson is Missing.

3rd grade summer reading list, 4th grade reading list, 4th grade summer reading list

Rising 3rd Grade Summer Reading List

This great summer reading list for Going Into 4th Grade is from my library. It’s a collaboration between the Newton Public School Library Teachers & the Newton Free Children’s Librarians. PickyKidPix also has a great list of chapter books she read at this same age, when she was assigned five books to read during the summer before going into 4th grade.

Other lists here:

Rising Kindergarten Summer Reading List

Rising First Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Second Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fourth Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fifth Grade Summer Reading List

 

Going Into 4th Grade Summer Reading List

Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer
A boy, a dog, and an old man are lonely before the boy plans a rally, the dog looks for a boy, and all the townspeople run to the old man’s aid when lightning strikes his home and something miraculous happens.

Read more…

Teaching Kids About Stocks and Investing 101

Teaching Kids About Stocks and Investing

PickyKidPix wants to trade stocks this summer using her stock account that her grandmother set up for her AND her own money. Too bad I forgot the password. It might be faster for me to transfer her account to my brokerage account than to actually figure it out!

I tried to sign us both up for a Community Education class on basics of the stock market. Alas, they called back because 1) I forgot to put the security code of my credit card on the form and 2) they said you have to be 16-years-old to take an adult class. There are no stock trading classes for kids though.

When I called the nice people at Charles Schwab, they said that they hold stock trading classes at their local branch in my town. Hurray, I thought! I’d save the money on the class plus the time! But … when I went to sign up, the classes were much farther away and way too advanced for my 11-year-old.

Back to square 1.

I decided to teach her the basics of stock trading myself: I call this Teaching Kids about Stocks and Investing 101.

I learned the old fashioned way in m early twenties. I used a phamplet from Charles Schwab plus a method commonly known as trial and error. I also followed a few helpful blogs: The Motley Fool at AOL and Morningstar reports. Both are free.

My business partner started trading stocks in high school. He did so well that he had adult family friends give him tens of thousands of dollars to invest for them.  In college, my friend continued to invest his money but didn’t always come up with winners. Turns out that Cabbage Patch Kids were a fad, unfortunately. But mistakes made early can be small and inexpensive and a great way to learn the ropes.

To start off PickyKidPix, I want to something that she can wrap her head around. I’m also not a person who likes to do extensive numerical analysis or create spreadsheets to pick companies. “Keep it Simple” works for Warren Buffet, I figured, so I make it simple for myself. Read more…

newbery2

Predicting 2014 Newbery, Caldecott and Printz Winners

I should title this post: Books I Am Forced to Buy But That’s OK Because It Will Be My Kids’ Summer Reading

I used these great sources to search for books that might win awards next year but also that I think my kids would like.

  • My son, a rising 3rd grader like humor, math-y and science-y stories, and well written stores.
  • PickyKidPix, a rising 6th grader likes Newbery quality realistic fiction. Extra points for special needs characters. She also prefers a strong girl character.
  • Grasshopper and Sensei will be entering 8th grade. She like action adventure, realistic fiction and YA that revolves around teen relationships.

Fuse #8 Productions Predictions

Goodreads 2014 Newbery Predictions

Reading Learning Teaching

Goodreads 2014 Caldecott Predictions

Goodreads 2014 Printz Predictions

 

Newbery 2104 Predictions

The Center of Everything by Linda Urban

For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug.  That’s how everything is supposed to be—until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish—unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby’s wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?

This seems to be a frontrunner for the 2014 Newbery and it sounds perfect for PickyKidPix. I love the cover too.

Read more…

American Revolution chapter books for kids

10 Great American Revolution Chapter Books

To accompany our field trip on the Boston Freedom Trail, I’ve found 10 great American Revolution chapter books for different ages and, more importantly, from different perspectives including silversmith apprentice, Tory loyalist, runaway slave, Native American and even King George.

History is written by the victor. Can you imagine what life must have been like during this tumultous period of the birth of the United States? If you read all ten books, you might feel like you were there! These books support the 5th grade Common Core Curriculum unit for the American Revolution.

What are your favorite American Revolution books for kids? Please share! Let’s build this list together!

Kid Lit Blog Hop

 

American Revolution Chapter Books From Different Perspectives

10. Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes

I don’t know if kids read this chapter book anymore but it was one of my favorite books as a child. Johnny Tremain is fourteen and apprenticed to a silversmith and I always pictured that this is what it must have been like to work for Paul Revere. Johnny has a terrible accident and his hand is horribly burned by molten silver destroying his dreams of becoming a master silversmith.

A depressed Johnny finds work as a dispatch rider for the Committee of Public Safety, a job that brings him in touch with Boston patriots—and the excitement that will lead to the Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

9. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier

A family divided by war. Tim Meeker has always looked up to his brother Sam, who has now joined the American Revolution. His parents support King George. Tim will have to make a choice — between the Revolutionaries and the Redcoats . . . and between his brother and his father. [young adult, ages 12 and up]

8. Moon of Two Dark Horses by Sally M. Keehn

The Revolutionary War from the Native Indian perspective:

Coshmoo and Daniel have been best friends as long as the Delaware Indians and white settlers have lived peacefully along the Susquehanna River. But now the river is red with blood as people from both sides are killed in the Revolutionary War. The British king wants Coshmoo’s people to fight on his side, and holds out the promise that their land, which has been taken by the settlers, will be returned to them. As the tension grows, Coshmoo and Daniel vow-as they have so many times-to remain loyal friends, no matter what happens. Then, one day, their friendship comes up against the ultimate test. [chapter book, ages 10 and up]

Read more…