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25 Wonderful Books for Kids Celebrating Summer (ages 2-12)

26 Wonderful Books for Kids Celebrating Summer (ages 2-12)

We made it to summer which starts today! Every winter here in Boston, it seems like summer will never arrive. It’s not just the warm we crave, but the relaxed schedule and the long days. It’s time to celebrate summer! What are your favorite books set during the summer? Thanks for sharing!

 

26 Wonderful Books for Kids Celebrating Summer

Picture Books That Epitomize Summer

And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner, illustrated by Jaime Kim

It feels like summer will never arrive, but when it does, it’s time for a celebration of simple things like breaking out the flip-flops, digging up the bikes, selling lemonade, and playing outside until it gets dark. Summer is a joyful feeling as well as season of sunshine and free play. This is a book to remember to enjoy the simple pleasures. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

Wonderfully illustrated with collage art, this picture book makes palpable the hottest day of summer in an inner city as two best friends wait for the other to apologize so they can enjoy the pleasures this steamy day also brings — double dutch, ice pops, and their renewed bond of best friendship. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

What Can You Do With a Paleta?/ ¿Qué Puedes Hacer con una Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Magaly Morales

A paleta is a Mexican popsicle and this gorgeously illustrated picture book portrays the glorious wonders of the paleta as well as life in the barrio (neighborhood).  [picture book, ages 2-8]

The First Strawberries by Joseph Bruchac, illustrated by Anna Vojtech

Joseph Bruchac retells this Cherokee legend of how strawberries came to be long ago when the first man and woman walked the earth and quarreled. The sun coaxed the angry woman back with these sweet offerings. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet Wong, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

When her parents cook Chinese food to sell at their store on the 4th of July, the little 2nd generation Chinese American girl thinks that her parents “don’t get it.”  No one wants Chinese food on the 4th of July, right?  A simple story that depicts perfectly the straddling of two worlds that 2nd generation children feel and, as it turns out, there are all kinds of ways to celebrate America’s birthday!   [picture book, ages 2-6]

Little Pig Saves the Ship by David Hyde Costello

Little Pig is too little to go to sailing camp with his brothers and sisters so he learns about sailing and knots with his grandpa and poppy. Together, they help Little Pig sail the toy ship that they built for him. When the ship almost gets away, Little Pig’s skill with knots comes in handy. Read this picture book with younger siblings who are too little to go to camp. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

 

Summer Picture Books To Overcome Fears

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jubari is ready to jump off the high dive, but there as he thinks about it, there are a few things to do first! This is a sweet and and gentle story about finding the courage to take a big leap into the unknown, and the rewards that it brings. A perfect picture book for anyone thinking of jumping off the diving board! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Kid Lit Blog Hop Now MONTHLY!

June Kid Lit Blog Hop

Hello, welcome back to another month of terrific children’s literature. We welcome you to the June 2017 Kid Lit Blog Hop. This hop takes place every 3rd Wednesday of the month. It is designed to engage a  group of people who love everything that has to do with children’s literature. Everyone is welcome to join us: bloggers, authors, publicist, and publishers!

We have already seen some Summer books for kids around the blogsphere. Let’s show them off again on the blog hop and see what else you are reading!

Kid Lit Blog Hop Now MONTHLY! Read more…

Special Needs Books for Kids ages 4-16

Special Needs Books for Kids ages 4-16

Please welcome my guest author today, Sandra Woffington, with a special needs book list. Her book, Evil Speaks: Warriors and Watchers Saga #1,  is a middle grade novel that follows teens with disabilities on an epic, mythological adventure. Sandra is a middle school teacher who is passionate about teaching her students not to just tolerate those with differences – but include them.

Evil Speaks not only takes young readers on an epic mythological journey, it helps to break down stereotypes and encourage inclusion of people from all walks of life.

Evil Speaks follows the journey of this unique crew, along with Benny, a lonely fifteen-year-old whose paranoid mother has moved him from town to town after the disappearance of his father at age three. Benny has had enough. After a particularly bad argument, he decides to run away. Just as he packs his bags—boom!—the house explodes, catapulting Benny into a world he never imagined existed. The trail leads him to a gated neoclassic building in the woods where he meets this unlikely band of heroes, all who seem vaguely familiar to Benny. As unique and different as they all are, they share one common thread: each of them lost a parent on the exact same day. As they set out to uncover the mystery, the only clue they have to follow is the whereabouts of Benny’s grandfather, a strange—and dangerous—man. They must quickly learn to become warriors before the seven gates of evil are opened forever. [chapter book with special need blind, deaf, and paraplegic, for ages 8 and up]

p.s. See a longer Special Needs Reading List here. Read more…

HARLEM: Found Ways & Harlem Children's Books

HARLEM: Found Ways & Harlem Children’s Books

I brought my daughters and one of their friends to see an art exhibit on Harlem.

HARLEM: Found Ways Cooper Gallery in Harvard Square

We were fortunate to get a private tour by Vera Ingrid Grant, Director of the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art at the Hutchins Center in Harvard Square, on her show, HARLEM: Found Ways, a collection of art reflecting Harlem today.

What really caught my eye was the unusual use way of displaying art in this exhibit.

Read more…

15 Great Korean Folk Tales for Kids

15 Great Korean Folk Tales for Kids

I’ve been fortunate to have been gifted with Korean folk tale picture book by my Korean mother in law. It’s a nice way to connect my kids with their (one-half) Korean heritage. They are also one-quarter Chinese and one-quarter Japanese, so I’ll continue with more folk tale posts to cover the different aspects of their Asian culture.

Are there any more countries whose folk tales you’d like to learn more about? Let me know and I’ll make you a list!

15 Great Korean Folk Tales for Kids

The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale retold by Yumi Heo

I’m sad that beloved children’s book author and illustrator Yumi Heo lost her battle to cancer in November 2016. Heo’s husband Steven Dana announced the creation of a Yumi Heo Memorial Fund. The money raised will go toward continuing the training for her daughter, a competitive figure skater, and for a scholarship fund for students in Korea. Her whimsical illustrations make this funny Korean folktale about two young frogs with Opposition Disorder appealing to kids. Even those who listen to their mothers! In Korea, kids who don’t listen to their moms are called green frogs. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Homelessness in Children's Books

Homelessness in Children’s Books

In creating this list, I noticed that most of these homelessness stories have parents who work part-time jobs, often more than one. Despite shelter uncertainty, they are going about their lives, sending their children to school, and even going to college themselves. It’s usually a series of setbacks or a tragedy like the death of a breadwinner than sends them spiraling downward. This is not surprising given that most Americans are one paycheck away from the streets.

On a single night in January 2015, 564,708 people were experiencing homelessness — meaning they were sleeping outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. National Alliance to End Homelessness

Part of this 564,708 homeless number includes women and children. It’s a heart breaking statistic. Imagine families with children trying to go about their everyday life without a place to sleep. It’s becoming a more common sight in cities like Boston where I live.

With the spike in homelessness, has come the homeless spikes. Yes, it’s as horrible as it sounds. MacDonald‘s is one such company that puts anti-homeless spikes designed to keep the homeless away.

Some artists decided to fight back against the anti-homeless spikes, starting a movement they call “Space, Not Spikes.”

not spikes

“Space, Not Spikes” reclaimed the spiked area by covering it with bedding, pillows, and a bookshelf stocked with reading material. Upworthy

Hostile design doesn’t solve the issue of homelessness. It just tries to remove the homeless from the line of sight of those who have a place to live. And yet, there are humane solutions to homelessness like these tiny homes the size of garden sheds.

tiny homes for the homeless

My oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, is headed for art college. She thinks about social issues from a design perspective. I hope that one day she will work on the issue of homelessness.

Maybe this book list will inspire kids to tackle this problem with solutions that start and end with compassion, not spikes? Here’s hoping!

How about you? What books would you add to this list? Thanks for your help!

 

Homelessness in Children’s Books

Homelessness in Picture Books

Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan

Nationally, about one out of every eight people is poor. Many of them are children. The patrons of the soup kitchen include the unemployed, the needy, and the homeless. No one is excluded.

A young boy is nervous to see the Can Man in his neighborhood, but his Uncle Willie who works at the soup kitchen knows him well. The boy notices a woman sleeping on a park bench and decides he wants to learn more about his uncle’s soup kitchen. On his day off from school, he accompanies his uncle to work. It’s little things that he learns: children who sit in high chairs eat here; not everyone is homeless; somehow there is always enough food for everyone. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

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Kid Vid Fest

Summer Stop Motion Contest for Kids!

Kid Vid Fest

Do your kids like to make stop motion movies? My son uses Flipagram as an easy way to do Lego stop motion animation.

Stop Motion movie Contest for Kids Read more…

14 Picture Books to Teach Gratitude

14 Picture Books to Teach Gratitude

We all want our kids to be grow up to be happy. It turns out that gratitude is the surest path to happiness. These 14 picture books all have a different take on gratitude and thankfulness. What are you favorite books on this topic?

14 Picture Books to Teach Gratitude

Penguin Problems by Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith

Mortimer, the little penguin is the opposite of grateful as he starts his morning.

“It’s way too early. My beak is cold. It’s too bright out here. I’m hungry. It snowed some more last night, and I don’t even like snow.”

As he hunts for food, he is also being hunted. He has so many problems (and complaints). Finally, a walrus sets him straight with some zen thoughts, challenging him to appreciate what he has both in his community and the natural beauty that surrounds him.

Do walruses understand penguins? They do seem to understand gratitude! Kids will enjoy this hilarious picture book about looking at things from a different perspective. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau, illustrated by Gail de Marcken

A greedy king is unhappy despite his piles of treasures and he thinks a quilt from the magical quiltmaker will fulfil him. She only gives her quilts to the poor and needy and agrees to make him a quilt on one condition:

“Make presents of everything you own, she said, “and then I’ll make a quilt for you. With each gift that you give, I’ll sew in another piece. When at last all your things are gone, your quilt will be finished.”

“I can’t do that!” cried the king. I love all my wonderful, beautiful things.”

“But if they don’t make you happy,” the woman replied, “what good are they?”

The king can not part with his treasures so he punishes her instead. With each attempt, she foils him with sewing projects that help an animal, who helps her in turn. Finally, the king decides to give away his things. Slowly he learns that giving away his treasures actually fills him with happiness.

This is a wonderful classic about how true happiness comes from giving to others in need. It belongs on every bookshelf! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Two Truths and a Lie: It's Alive

Two Truths and a Lie: 3 BOOK GIVEAWAY

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t. Mark Twain

Before I talk about this new nonfiction book coming out at the end of June, I have a “small world” story. I run the social media for two restaurants that the father of my son’s best friend owns, Common Ground. To promote Common Ground in Arlington, Massachusett’s new function room, I decided to hold a pop up Holiday Market. A local children’s book author signed up … and that person turned out to be Ammi-Joan Paquette, who lives nearby. Read more…