• 12 Gift Guides for Your Holiday Shopping

       Related posts: Gender Bending Gifts for Kids: Day 3 of 12 Days of Shopping Gifts for Kids Who Hate Art and Reading: Day 5 of 12 Days of Shopping

  • Gifts for Kids Who Hate Art and Reading: Day 5 of 12 Days of Shopping

    Jeanette and I thought we’d search for gifts today that open young minds; gifts for kids who hate art, and books for kids who don’t like to read. What gifts have you had success in introducing your kids to something mind-expanding that they have resisted?   Wreck This Journal, $9, to bring out the inner […]

  • Gender Bending Gifts for Kids: Day 3 of 12 Days of Shopping

    For Day 3 of the 12 Days of Shopping, Jeanette and I wanted to break down gender stereotypes with gender bending gifts for kids. We want to celebrate mighty girls AND sensitive boys; crafts for boys and science kits for girls; and imaginary play can go beyond tiaras and tutus! How about you? What are your […]

  • 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!

New York Life Keep Good Going Twitter Party

Do Good, Share Traditions and Win Prizes

I’m so thrilled to be co-hosting a Twitter party on behalf of New York Life‘s Keep Good Going on Monday, November 24th at 5pm PST/8pm EST.  What does that mean exactly — Keep Good Going? To me, it means many things:

  • Gratitude for what is in my life.
  • Celebrating family traditions.
  • Remembering those who aren’t with us.
  • Giving back during the holiday season.

My kids are concerned about children who don’t have enough food and so we dug into our pantry for the school food drive which will help our local food pantries. Do you need a book list to help kids learn about hunger? I wrote a book list for Let’s Lasso the Moon and here are a few of my picks:

Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen (Reading Rainbow Book) by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan

A little boy wants to learn more about the people he sees on the street so he accompanies his Uncle Willie to the soup kitchen where they work with other volunteers to help feed the hungry and homeless. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Read more…

Great Biographies for Kids and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Great Biographies for Kids and Kid Lit Blog Hop

I loved biographies as a child. When I was in 4th grade, I polished off the entire section of biographies book by book, just going alphabetically down the line. It was an amazing way to meet a lot of interesting people and it probably plants a sublinminal message of “be awesome” like these people. Make your mark on history.

This is a pile of newly published biographies that found their way to my doorstep. I had the great pleasure of meeting Anita Silvey at a book event and am thrilled that she has a book out (it’s wonderful!).

I hope you enjoy this pile too! What great biographies for kids have you read lately? Please share! Read more…

Rory Gardiner, Yee-Haw new country music album for kids

First Country Music Album for Kids GIVEAWAY!

I met country musician Rory Gardiner on Twitter. He wrote me saying:

I think music is incredibly important in the development of young minds. I am a recording artist who just released my first children’s album. After becoming a parent myself, I couldn’t resist the direction my song writing was taking me! I think your readers would could connect with it because it inhibits inspiration, fun and an artistic outlet for their kids.

I agree and after listening to his music — he’s seriously talented! — I wanted my readers to meet him! Today’s guest post is from Rory Gardiner. What children’s music are you enjoying? Rory’s is the world’s FIRST country music for kids! Read more…

Petz Beach 3DS game

Petz Beach 3DS Game for Kids Who Want a Pet!

My son, now age 10, is the serious gamer. He goes from screen to screen if we are not careful: iPad, computer, TV, Wii, and 3DS. But lately, the 3DS is rarely used; he’s waiting for the newest Pokémon games to come out, so his device is untended and uncharged.

I had purchased other Petz games in the past for his older sisters when they were younger. PickyKidPix (now 12) and Grasshopper and Sensei (now 14) both have DSi that they don’t use at all. When Petz Beach arrived, I was surprised by how my kids pounced on it. Petz Beach 3DS game Read more…

A Year in the Secret Garden blog tour, Valarie Budary, Marilyn Scott Waters

A Year in The Secret Garden Interview

I am so excited that my partner-in-crime, Valarie Budayr of Jump into a Book, for Multicultural Children’s Book Day is also an author and owner of publishing company, Audrey Press. She has a new book out, A Year in The Secret Garden, that celebrates an iconic classic with activities to do with kids all year!

A Year in The Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters

A Year in The Secret Garden Read more…

positive affirmations for kids

Positive Affirmations for Kids

Every year, Grasshopper and Sensei‘s sleepover summer camp has a mother/daughter weekend where we set up our own tent and spend two days together. The idea is for me to shadow my daughter and participate in her life at camp; meeting her friends and their mothers, eating meals with her cabin, and participating in all her activities.

Positive Affirmations for GirlsRead more…

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Calling All Bloggers; Calling All Authors

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

 

The prep of the upcoming (1/27/15) Multicultural Children’s Book day is humming right along! In case you’ve missed all the details,  I am teaming up once again with Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book to bring awareness and shine the spotlight on all of the amazing multicultural children’s books that are available to readers, parents, teachers and libraries.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and I are on a mission to change that; it’s a mission to raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, and to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. This event also provides an excellent way for us to compile a list of book titles and blog reviews for everyone to use to expand their bookshelves.
Read more…

printable fill in the blank thank you notes for kids

Writing Charming Thank You Notes (FREE Printable) : Day 12 of 12 Days of Shopping

We are closing out our 12 Days of Shopping with the necessary thank you notes: Day 12 Etiquette of Thank you Notes. Thank YOU so much for joining us in this series. Jeanette and I really enjoyed your company! Thank you again! What gift categories would you like us to cover next year? How about for Valentine’s Day?!

Today we will cover:

  • How to write a thank you note
  • DIY printable thank you note for kids

Read more…

Giving and Receiving Unwanted Gifts

Giving and Receiving Unwanted Gifts: Day 11 of 12 Days of Shopping

For Day 11, I am exploring the art of giving and receiving unwanted gifts and Jeanette has 15 DIY holiday gifts you can make with your kids.

I doubt anyone would ever reject a handmade gift made with love (hence going DIY shows you really care), but are you inadvertently giving gifts that are being regifted? Do your kids know how to react when receiving a gift that does not excite them? What is the etiquette of handling an unwanted gift? I don’t have the answers so I went exploring…

I really liked what The Grio had to say about regifting.

Exchanging at the Store: She says it’s tacky to return for money but exchanging for something more suitable is ok.

Here’s what you say to the giftor (I thought this was genius): “I took the [insert gift] back to the store because it had a [insert defect], but they didn’t have anymore *look really sad for this part *, so I got a [insert much cooler gift] instead.”

The Perils of Regifting: You can’t get caught so you have to think 6 degrees of separation when you decide to regift. Does your intended gift receiver have any connection to the originator of the gift? If there is any hint of that, then No, No, No!! You will get caught and it will be ugly.

Donating Unwanted Gift: Find a local charity and get a two for one. You get rid of it and you get a tax deduction.

Here’s what you say to the giftor (again, pure genius): “Gosh, you know me so well! I already have a [insert gift], so I went ahead and donated the one you gave me to [insert awesome charity]. I know that will make someone really happy.”

Read more…