• 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!

Multicultural Books for Kids from the Kid LIt Blog Hop

Multicultural Books for Kids from the Kid Lit Blog Hop

I wanted to share some of the great multicultural books from the last Kid Lit Blog Hop.

Sam and the Lucky Money from Randomly Reading

Sam and the Lucky Money is is a wonderful read aloud for kids.  It is not so much about teaching young readers about the Lunar New Year, as it is about helping them to understand the importance of being thankful for what they have.  Besides gratitude, Sam also learns about compassion and generosity.  The nice part about all that is it comes in the form of a lovely story that young readers will no doubt enjoy.

Sam and the Lucky Money reviewed by Randomly ReadingRead more…

racist Thorough Modern Millie

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 Correspondent

In case you are trying to find the posts, they are here:

Thoroughly Modern Millie is Thoroughly Racist

NNHS Responds to Concerns About Thoroughly Modern Millie

My Take on Thoroughly Modern Millie

Talk Back: Racism in Thoroughly Modern Millie at NNHS

Throwndown NNHS: Talk the Talk or Walk the Walk? Regarding Racism in Thoroughly Modern Millie

MTI Advises How to Squelch Dissent on Thoroughly Modern Millie

Rebuttal to ’Millie in Newton: Turn Stereotypes into Lessons

More Than 50% of Asian American Teens are Bullied in School

White Privilege and Thoroughly Modern Millie

 

I need one day to clear my head but tomorrow I will post my response on I Love Newton to the Talk Back and article. Thank you so much for caring about this issue.

Read more…

History of St. Patrick's Day

History of St. Patrick’s Day for Kids

I have to confess that I thought St. Patrick’s Day was about pots of gold, leprechauns and four leaf clovers. I suppose if I thought hard about it, I would have guessed that St. Patrick was a Catholic saint. So, in a fit of curiosity and because I recently subscribed to a blog, Celebrating Holidays, to help me blog, I read the true history of St. Patrick. He’s like Joan of Arc!

So, here is the blog post on the History of St. Patrick’s Day. And here is a video if you prefer something visual. Read more…

Pi Day, How Pi tells stories, Navigating Early

How Pi Tells Stories: Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day! To celebrate, we are going to explore the idea of Pi and story telling. Can the infinite sequence of the number Pi tell a story? Am I nuts to even think this?

pi

noun: the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet ( Ππ ), transliterated as ‘p.’

symbol: the numerical value of pi.

pi =3.14159265359…

Newbery award winner Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early tells a story with Pi. And Vi Hart has a take on Pi and Shakespeare. So It Can Be Done! Let’s explore the stories that Pi tells.

Clare Vanderpool and PragmaticMom in Needham MARead more…

how to teach 3rd grade boys to program in Scratch

How to Teach 3rd Grade Boys to Program in Scratch

Scratch is a free programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations. It’s created by MIT. I had heard of it years ago from the founder of the company who created my first PragmaticMom blog template. His young son was using it to create games. My son was just a toddler then, so I filed it away in the back of my head for later.

Fast forward to now. My 9-year-old son is a serious gamer and in on screens from the minute he wakes up until I yell at him at night to get off screens. It’s very tough to keep him off screens because he floats from the computer to the iPad to his DSi to the TV and back again. Sometimes he even multi-tasks watching TV WHILE eating WHILE playing a game on the computer. Don’t even get me started about the keyboard to that computer. It’s covered in crumbs and barely works; it’s so gunked up.

learning scratch programming language for elementary age kidsRead more…

10 Multicultural picture books to sing

10 Multicultural Picture Books to Sing from Jbrary

I am delighted to have Lindsey and Dana, the two Children’s Librarians behind Jbrary, guest posting today!!  They have a wonderful YouTube channel that  is all about storytime songs, and today they have a list of picture books you can sing before, during or after reading! Not only is singing fun, but it  is one of the five early literacy skills parents can strengthen with children.

Without further ado, here they are:

One of the best parts about being a Children’s Librarian is all the singing we get to do! But singing certainly shouldn’t end at storytime. This list features 10 of our favourite multicultural picture books you can use to encourage singing anytime. Read more…

Skype author visit with 2nd graders Jarrett Krosoczka

Skype Author Visit with Jarrett Krosoczka and GIVEAWAY

What’s a school author visit via Skype like? I just experienced two successful ones so I thought I’d share my experience in the hopes that you will be able to get authors to your kids’ school too! Skype is really very easy and kids are surprisingly unperturbed when there are minor technical issues which can pop up.

I’d first like to preface Jarrett’s Skype presentation by saying that he is a total rock star. Have you seen his TEDTalk which has garnered over 650k views? His talk moved me to tears. Read more…

APALA best asian american books for kids 2013

2014 Asian American Children’s Book Awards & Kid Lit Blog Hop

Have you heard of the APALA children’s book awards? Of course not. I blogged for three years on children’s books seeking out the best Asian American KidLit and I didn’t know about it. That’s a shame because Asian American children’s books are slowly coming into their own, well on the heels perhaps of the Asian American novel trend started by Amy Tan. Still, I am thrilled to see this genre flourishing.

The first point of confusion:

APALA = Asian Pacific American Librarians Association

The second point of confusion:

The APALA Literature Awards are called the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Read more…

3rd grade boy first fencing lesson Boston

My Son’s First Fencing Lesson

My son and his third grade buddies have been taking tennis lessons since school started. Now that it’s too cold to play outdoors, they decided to switch to fencing. There is something about little boys and swordplay — my son  has been wielding a stick as a sword since he was old enough to toddle.

photo 1 (1)Read more…