All posts in Best Books for Kids

17 Wonderful Multicultural Picture Books About Food

17 Wonderful Multicultural Picture Books About Food

My favorite way to learn about other cultures is through food. It can be intiminating to cook a new ethnic cuisine for the first time, so consider this list a menu of sorts to decide if there is anything you want to make at home. What wonderful multicultural picture books about food did I leave out? I’d love your favorites! Please share! Thanks!

 

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez

One of my best friends growing up in Southern California is half Mexican and I would go to her house after opening presents at my house to eat tamales that her family purchased. Soon, my whole family would join me. My friend’s parents didn’t mind. I always heard that tamales are a bit tricky to make and I have always purchased them and steamed them at home.

In Too Many Tamales, Maria and her family make tamales for Christmas but she tries on her mama’s ring even though she’s not supposed to and loses mama’s diamond ring in the masa dough. Before mama finds out, she must get the other kids to help her eat the 24 tamales to locate the ring. It’s a lot of food but no ring appears. Did someone accidentally eat it? When Maria goes to confess to her mother, she makes a happy discovery … and now they need to make more tamales! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

tamales

A batch of Mexican tamales in the tamalera. Image from Wikipedia Read more…

Poetry in Sports Books for Kids and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

Poetry in Sports Books for Kids and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

My son has a poet in residence for fourth grade. For three sessions, he’s learning to write poetry. There’s even homework assignments that he agonizes over. He’s had a poetry unit every year — in 2nd grade, he wrote a color poem based on Mary O’Neill, but this is the first year that the poetry seems to flow out of him. To encourage the poet inside him, I’m introducing books about sports that use poetry to tell the story.

Hoops by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson

The ball

like a piece

of the thin long reach

of your body.

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…

Arctic Egg Science: Books, Experiment and Videos

Arctic Egg Science: Books, Experiment and Videos

Now that the snow is gone after Boston’s Snowmaggedon, I can finally appreciate the cold again so I’m combining some newly published non-fiction science picture books with some videos on the artic. I hope you are ready to face the cold again too!

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern 

Two guiding thoughts about the Artic today: protection and eggs. Here’s how they all tie together …

A Children's Guide to Arctic Birds eggs

Bird Eggs from A Children’s Guide to Arctic Birds
Read more…

Books for Kids about Personal Space

Personal Space Picture Book of the Day

I’m grateful to the participants at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter party who suggested book topics that they were having trouble finding. One such topic was about personal space. When I mentioned it to my mom friends, they laughed because our friend Penny gets very uncomfortable when our boxing trainer comes in too close. And that’s the thing about personal space; it’s the space between you and a person that keeps you feeling safe. I’m sure we are hardwired from the time of living in caves to keep a certain distance for the sake of safety.

For kids who don’t have a sense of personal space and boundaries, I found three books (just three — there are not many on this topic!) to introduce this topic. Personal space also segues into safety for children whether it’s the social-emotional trauma of moving or regarding inappropriate touch. I have books to cover all of this.

How about you? Do you have a funny personal space or boundary story? Please share! Read more…

Five Amazing Diversity Read Aloud Books for All Ages

Five Amazing Diversity Read Aloud Books for All Ages & Kid Lit Blog Hop

It was such a challenge to entertain all three of my kids with just one book when they were smaller given their age differences. When my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, was in first grade, age 6 with younger siblings clocking in at 4 and 2, I read them all piles of picture books. That worked really well in terms of content, but we could read 10 picture books in one sitting so I was going to the library three times a week, searching for the “good books.”

Another approach which I wish I had thought of is to read a gentle chapter book to all. I compiled a separate list for girls and boys, but, upon reflection, wanted a list to share of diversity/multicultural/inclusive chapter books that would also work for kids ages 6 and up. The plot must be riveting but the action not too scary or confusing. Read more…

10 Amazing Multicultural Picture Books About Helping Others

10 Amazing Multicultural Picture Books About Helping Others

I think kids are naturally compassionate and it only takes a single story or book to motivate them to help out in someway. But can a child truly make a difference? I’m hoping these books will help demonstrate that, like a ripple effect, a small act of kindness, can make a big difference.

I didn’t set out to find books centered around bicycles but there are a few here that demonstrate how such a simple means of transportation can change lives. In fact, it’s this idea of how small things (and single ideas) can change lives that inspired this list.

What books for kids inspire you and your kids to change the world? Please share!

Read more…

Top 10 Earth Day Picture Books

Top 10 Earth Day Picture Books

Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement that began in 1970. Today is a good reminder to celebrate Earth Day every day and pass lessons on environmental stewardship to our children. To this end, I wanted to share resources for teaching kids about the environment.

Scholastic and OPEI (Outdoor Power Equipment Institute) have partnered to create lesson plans and activities that empower students in grades K through 5 and their families to champion best practices in taking care of the green space in their communities. The program sets out to inspire an interest in backyard science, environmental activism, and encourage spending time in the outdoors.

Resources include a teachers section, a parents section, and a free e-Book – a digital storybook about superhero TurfMutt and the Outdoor Powers.

I also have a book list of our favorite earth day picture books. What books that you enjoy am I missing? Please share! Read more…

Top 10 Multicultural Picture Books on Bullying

Top 10 Multicultural Picture Books on Bullying

My boxing friend Mark has an idea for a reality tv show that is both of our fantasies-come-true. The show would set up you and your bully in a boxing ring. It would be a real fight with a set date so that you could train, a pre-determined number of rounds and a referee. Of course, your bully opponent might not have been training for a fight for years … and that’s what makes this a fantasy! In reality, it would probably be depressing to fight those middle school bullies thirty plus years later (though putting up a good fight would earn my respect of my bully tormentor).

My kids have each had a few incidences of bullying over their short life. It was nothing too momentous, especially by my childhood standards. It’s no longer politically correct to solve conflict through physical fights (my boxing trainer laments; he’s pretty old school) and anti-bullying training in school with greater awareness by teachers has made bullying less blatant. It still exists though … and the rise of cyberbullying probably is one result of not letting kids solve conflicts through physical fighting. I suspect there is an innate primal drive for humans, much like wolf packs or chickens, to assert pecking order in order to establish an alpha leader and perhaps bullying is one negative outcome of that impulse. Read more…