• 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!

  • 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.

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.

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Social Media Sunday

I’m Co-Hosting Social Media Sunday!

I’m excited to be co-hosting Social Media Sunday! Please join us to link up and make new friends!

Social Media Sunday link up
<div align="center"><a href="http://fromabcstoacts.com/" title="From ABC's to ACT's"><img src="http://i1025.photobucket.com/albums/y311/abcstoacts/SMS225_zpsb70454fc.jpg" alt="Social Media Sunday-From ABC's to ACT's" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

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picture books about parrots, Picture Book of the Day, Parrots Over Puerto Rico

Amazing Parrots 3 Book GIVEAWAY

It’s my turn to choose the Picture Book of the Day and I picked the 2014 Seibert Winner, Parrots Over Puerto Rico. I thought we’d explore parrots today with a non-fiction picture book, a singalong parrot picture book and an easy reader with a naughty parrot.

Next, I clear up confusion that I have about parrots versus Macaws versus Cockatoos. This will help because I want you to meet some parrot friends. Finally, I am giving away all three books! I hope you enjoy this little parrot adventure! Please share your favorite parrot books!

 

Picture Book of the Day

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

Once, hundreds of thousands of Puerto Rican parrots flew over Puerto Rico where they had lived for millions of years. But by 1937, only about two thousand Puerto Rican parrots, known locally as iguaca, remained in El Yunque, a tropical rainforest in the Luquillo Mountains to the east. By 1975, only thirteen parrots were left. Thanks to efforts by conservationists, a recovery program was set up. But with challenges from mother nature including thunderstorms and hurricanes, will the iguaca survive?

Parrots Over Puerto Rico is the 2014 Seibert Winner!

[picture book, ages 5 and up]

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funny math science chapter books for boys ages 9 and up

Funny Science-y Math-y Chapter Books for ages 7 and up

There seems to be a new sub-genre in children’s books that target boys to get them reading. It’s for boys like my own who graduated from potty and underwear humor (ok, maybe they never do!) and still want funny but with a science twist.

This is not to say that these books are science fiction; it’s more like Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets Mad Scientist. In any case, these are fun books to get boys reading. If they like chapter books. And science. And humor. And potty humor never hurts either!

What are your favorite books for boys (or girls!) that are funny but with a science bent? Please share and I’ll keep adding to the list. Thanks! Read more…

judging the cybils graphic novels

Judging the Cybils Graphic Novels Category

There were so many great graphic novels on the short list for the Cybils, particularly in the Young Adult category! The Cybils do not include honorable mentions so my take is just my own opinion and not that of the Graphic Novel judging committee. I wanted to spotlight a few standouts that are worth hunting down.

2013 Cybils

YA Graphic Novel Notables from 2013

Young Adult Graphic Novel winner, Templar by Jordan Mechner and illustrated by husband and wife team LeUyen Pham  and Alex Puvilland and Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang and Lark Pien both tackled epic historical events where the story is told through imagined characters.

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The Jungle Book Mangos4Mowgli

#Mangos4Mowgli Twitter Party with Great Prizes!

Do you love mangos too? They taste like summer to me and I could use some sunshine after the winter we’ve been having here in Boston! Do you know the trick to cutting a mango into easy-to-eat cubes? Try this!

Mangos and The Jungle Book movie! We’re throwing a Twitter party with great prizes that will bring a little sunshine to your winter! I’m excited to be co-hosting the #Mangos4Mowgli Twitter Party with The Motherhood and The National Mango Board this Tuesday at 1 pm EST. I hope you can join us to win some great prizes.

Here are the details:

When: Tuesday, February 25 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #Mangos4Mowgli hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite.

Hashtag: #Mangos4Mowgli Read more…

kids and nunchucks, should kids learn nunchucks

Nunchaku: My Son Teaches Himself Nunchucks

It was a long winter break and I didn’t plan anything special to entertain the kids. After a week of being mostly house bound, out of sheer laziness I took my kids to check out the crafts store, hoping that a few key purchases would keep them entertained and off screens.

My son only wanted two rolls of Duck duct tape so he was easy to please. When he got home, he used aluminum foil and makes what he always makes with duct tape and aluminum foil: weapons. This is the third set of nun chucks he has made, and they were a little short when he went to use them, so I finally asked him if he wanted a real pair.

nun chucks, nunchucks, nunchucku

My son’s duct tape crafts from top to bottom: a ball handled weapon, a grappling hook, a hammer,  nunchucks and a sword.  Read more…

multicultural book winners from ALA 2014

Multicultural Winners from ALA and Kid Lit Blog Hop

I was so happy to see multicultural children’s book win ALA awards (that were not specific diversity awards such as the Pura Belpré, the Coretta Scott King or the Schneider Family Book Award. Many are on my to-be-found-and-read-pile so I thought I’d share a few of them today.

2014 Printz Award Honor Books: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor, 15, is the new girl at school and bullied because she’s overweight and dresses in a flamboyant manner. Park is a half-Korean boy who has lived in Omaha, Nebraska, all his life but still feels like an outsider. This is a story of first love, which very slowly builds from the first day Eleanor sits next to Park on the school bus. from School Library Journal

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archery birthday party with 3rd grade boys

My Son’s Archery Birthday Party

My three kids had learned archery at summer camp and each of them mentioned separately how much they liked it so I posted a few months back about finding an archery class near us to try out. My son decided to do an archery party for his 9th  birthday and that was the perfect opportunity to check it out.

The archery place has 13 shooting stations, very tightly spaced together, with the targets set much further  back than the targets at camp.

archery party, archery birthday party

Putting 13 boys with bows and arrows practically shoulder to shoulder did make me a little nervous!

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