All posts in 5) Middle School

Drawing Hands and Feet

How to Draw Hands and Feet

Grasshopper and Sensei eye drawingsMy daughter, Grasshopper and Sensei, wants to go to art school after she graduates from high school so I’ve been hard at work trying to figure out how that works.

Grasshoppper and Sensei XTreme Week at Mass College of Art

Step 1: Meet with a college counselor specializing in art colleges. She works with art college counselor, Jeanette Nyberg of Tiny Rotten Peanuts who attended Rhode Island School of Design. Read more…

Top 10 Books for Struggling Teen Readers

Top 10 Books for Struggling Teen Readers

Please welcome author Jim Westcott who is a literacy specialist as well. Today, he shares his favorite young adult books for teen struggling readers. These books are high interest with a lower reader level to draw in reluctant teen readers, both boys and girls.

We’d love your suggestions as well! Please share!

Read more…

Great Books for Reluctant Boy Readers

Great Books for Reluctant Boy Readers & GIVEAWAY

Please welcome author David Kelly of the Ballpark Mystery series and also my neighbor here in Newton, MA. We’re not exactly next door neighbors but we live in the same town! How cool is that? Other notable children’s book authors from Newton include Mitali Perkins (until she moved two years ago) and Karen Day. Jacqueline Davies of The Lemonade War series lives one town over in Needham, MA.

Today, David Kelly is writing about finding books for reluctant boy readers. His series is another great choice for boys or girls who like baseball, particularly those of the Red Sox Nation.

How about you? What books have kept your kids reading? Please share! Thanks! Read more…

5 Amazing Multicultural Novels in Verse and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

5 Amazing Multicultural Novels in Verse and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

It’s been such a great year for those who love both multicultural/diversity/inclusive books for kids AND novels in verse! I picked five amazing favorites that I’ve loved from this past year and hope that the popularity of these books will encourage more diversity books to be published!

What are your favorite novels in verse? Please share! Thanks!

Read more…

Teaching Kids About Money TWITTER PARTY

Teaching Kids About Money TWITTER PARTY

What do we need to teach our kids about personal finance NOW when they are still too little to credit card or handle a checking account? And what about do as I say, not as I do? What if WE don’t have great personal finance skills ourselves? Does this mean our kids are doomed to a life of poor financial management?

I remember when I graduated from college and was trying to be responsible. I paid my credit card bill monthly — I didn’t pay it off but I made a payment. But once I stupidly paid my bill a few days late but with a higher amount that normal thinking that it’s better to pay more off and that a day or two late won’t matter. Boy was I wrong!

Teaching Kids About Money

I also applied and received too many credit cards. I didn’t know carrying a multitude of credit cards actually lowers your credit score! Read more…

Best Multicultural YA Books & Kid Lit Blog Hop

Best Multicultural YA Books & Kid Lit Blog Hop

These are the Young Adult books from the 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society. Part I from the list of picture books is here and Part II of middle grade books is here.

Best Multicultural Young Adult Books for Teens

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle

Did you know that there was an Apartheid system in Panama during the construction of the canal? Whites were paid in gold and those of color, much lower wages —  in silver. Margarita Engle’s background as a botanist and agronomist is evident as she tells a story of the ecological impact of the Panama Canal as well as the Civil Rights story that is largely unknown.

I have an interview with Margarita Engle on Silver People at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog. [novel in verse, ages 12 and up]

Read more…

Best Multicultural Chapter Books and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Best Multicultural Chapter Books and Kid Lit Blog Hop

This is Part 2 of the 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society Award, for middle grade readers ages 8 and up. I haven’t read them all so I’ll use book jacket blurbs with age range to make this list more helpful for parents and teachers looking for books for kids.

Many of these chapter books deal with difficult themes like genocide, racism, and violent civil wars. Will kids and parents actually put themselves through these kinds of experiences where the protagonist goes through unimaginable hell? I hope so. These are important stories that haven’t received the attention they deserve and if kids are aware of the mistakes made by their elders in the past, perhaps this is our best hope they will not be repeated in the future.

Part I from the list of picture books are here. I will post on the best young adult books from this list at the next Kid Lit Blog Hop. Read more…

Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Part of the advice that I received from our art school private college counselor, Jeanette Nyberg of Tiny Rotten Peanuts blog, is to win art competitions as a way of building your art portfolio. Of course, the first step is finding art competitions to enter (and have enough notice so as not to miss the submission deadline).

Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Scholastic Art and Writing Read more…

Five Books to Get Your Young Gamer Reading

Five Books to Get Your Young Gamer Reading & GIVEAWAY!

My son and I LOVED the Max Finder by Liam O’Donnell graphic novel mystery series when he was in first and second grade. These short mysteries were HARD to figure out; sometimes the two of us would be right, sometimes we missed the mark entirely. But, Liam’s books worked beautifully to keep my son reading and wanting more.

Now, he has a new series that is honestly sheer genius! A chapter book series based on MINECRAFT! My son is a serious gamer — he actually went to Minecraft camp not once but twice! — and my husband and I work hard but futilely to keep his screen time down to two hours a day. Our policing job is going to get easier!

Please welcome my guest post author today, Liam O’Donnell! Read more…