All posts in Best Books for Kids

diwali picture book of the day with hannukah picture book of the day

Diwali and Hannukah Picture Book of the Day

My friend Isra who blogs at The Frugalette told me a few years ago how few Diwali books there are, so when The Diwali Gift floated across my email, I thought it would be nice to learn more about this Hindu holiday. My only impression of Diwali was that it was a festival of lights and that it involved feasting. There is much more to it I learned! Read more…

Massachusetts Book Awards for children's books and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

Massachussets Children’s Book Award Part I and Kid Lit Blog Hop

The fifth graders at our elementary school are challenged every year to read all the books listed on the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award. I really love this book list because it has a variety of newly published and slightly older books such that you can actually find the books on the library bookshelves. Our school librarian also makes a point of making a special display and buying multiple copies of these books.

I’ve also discovered gems on the list from years past. The list doesn’t necessarily feature Massachusetts’ children’s authors but it was how I found Mitali Perkins’ Rickshaw Girl eight years ago!

Does your state have a book award too? How does it work?

 

Third Grade and Low Fourth Grade Books

This is the first part of the Massachusetts Book Awards which I’ve divided by suggested grade level. Part I covers Third Grade, Low Fourth Grade and Fourth Grade Books. At the next Kid Lit Blog Hop in two weeks, I’ll cover Part II which covers Fifth and Sixth Grade.

We the Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School) by Andrew Clements

The Trouble with Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery by Doreen Cronin

Read more…

Top 10 Ninja Books for Kids

Top 10 Ninja Books for Kids Ages 4 through 16

My kids are one-quarter Japanese and they wish that their Japanese ancestry is steeped in the way of the ninja. It’s not. Their heritage is actually that of Daimyo, a feudal landowner/warlord,  and our ancestors are located about one hour outside of the city of Hiroshima.

I can see the appeal of the ninja over that of warlord, though. It’s that martial arts thing mixed with mystery and powers that border on mystical. Very appealing!

For today, October 10th or 10/10, I have 10 ninja books ranging from picture books, early chapter book, chapter books, and young adult. So it’s 10 on 10/10!

What is your favorite ninja book for kids? Please share! Read more…

10 perfect read alouds for 5th grade

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 5th Grade

Fifth grade was a busy year for Grasshopper and Sensei and PickyPidPix. The year focused on getting them ready for Middle School both academically, socially and emotionally. Some of the highlights that my kids remembered included a Sharon Creech author study which they unfortunately don’t do anymore due to increased demands from Common Core, Holocaust, and a lot of science. I remember the science of weather being particularly in-depth.

There were books that they loved and discovered that year too! PickyKidPix’s studied SeedFolks and when the teacher omitted two of the stories due to mature content, she searched it out at the public library to read the censored content. We met Sharon Draper that year too who was here on behalf of Understanding Our Differences.

Puberty and anxiety around changing also marked 5th grade and there was no way to win; it was either too slow or too fast or too annoying. Coming of age for girls is a difficult time so we used books as a way to tiptoe and explore the drama that is a part of growing up.

This list is a walk down memory lane for me, as books often are. It includes books I read with my kids, books my kid were read to at school, books they loved and wanted me to read to blog on, and even a book I loved as a fifth grader.

What are your memories of 5th grade either for your kids or yourself? Are there any favorite books you recall as you go down memory lane too? Please share! Read more…

non fiction picture book of the day giveaway, plant a pocket of prairie by phyllis root

Non Fiction Picture Book of the Day GIVEWAY

I wanted to share some new non fiction picture books with you today. The thing about non fiction, in my humble opinion, is that it really does need to match the reader’s interest in a very specific way. I’ve picked books that I thought my kids would like and a few others that I like that I hope they, and you, will too.

 

New Non Fiction Picture Books

Non Fiction Picture Book of the Day

non fiction picture book of the day, Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root

This non fiction picture book would work for an Earth Day theme, but I chose it simply because I fell in love with the beautiful illustrations and the hopeful message that it’s possible to save our wild plants and places by simply doing our own small part as best we can.

Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Betsy Bowen

It’s written in prose that reads like a poem with a compelling “What If?” message that shows the connection of wild things from plants and habitat to animals. [non fiction picture book, ages 4 and up]

Plant foxglove beardtongue.

A ruby-throated hummingbird

might hover and sip and thrum.

If that hummingbird sips and zips

looking for something more to eat …

Plant butterfly weed.

Monarch butterflies might lay their eggs

on the underside of leaves.

Read more…

Ninja family reading with flashlights, free book from scholastic and eveready batteries

Ninja Pajama Family Reading Time: FREE Book From Scholastic

My kids are one-quarter Japanese and my mother’s side is from the Daimyo class, which is to say that they were feudal landowners located one hour from Hiroshima but this system changed starting in 1868 with Meiji restoration. I personally like reading about this ancient time in Japan but Grasshopper and Sensei and PickyKidPix have never shown any interest in that or anything ninja. My Japanese side has no real connection to ninja, a mercenary, than perhaps to have used them but my son loves all things ninja and we’ve progressed from ninja picture books, to ninja early chapter books, to now this action adventure chapter book:

 

Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja by Simon Higgins

Set in Japan during the time of the Shogun rule, Moonshadow is an orphan adopted into the Grey Light Order, a secret ninja group loyal to the Shogun. He must stop a hungry Daimyo (warlord) from developing a powerful new weapon from the west that would threaten the fragile peace finally established in Japan. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Read more…

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 4th Grade

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 4th Grade

Fourth grade at my elementary school marks a really interesting immigration unit that introduced my kids to their first group project experience. They learned, the hard way, about freeloaders but the end result was a “Wax Museum” where each child played a wax statue that, when prompted by dropping in a fake coin in a bucket, recited a speech about life as a new immigrant. Each group chose a different country to emigrate from that included Poland, Ireland, Italy, China, Japan and more.  They also created a Wax Museum display bulletin board that talked about the immigrant experience from their country. What was most noticeable was how every, single group talked about the racism and prejudice they faced upon coming to America.

It seems that in fourth grade, kids are starting to really develop empathy skills so historical fiction about immigration or the mistreatment of dogs moves them deeply. I’ve included the books that my kids remember reading as part of a classroom assignment or as a read aloud in 4th grade and added a few of my favorites. My son just started 4th grade this year, so I will keep track of his classroom read alouds and will add them to this list all year.

Please share your ideas for 4th grade read alouds. Thank you! Read more…

Hispanic American Books for Kids: Link Round Up

Hispanic American Books for Kids: Link Round Up

I’m part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage celebration where the MKB bloggers are sharing different ideas to celebrate Hispanic Heritage with kids.

There are now 52 million Hispanic families in the U.S. – making Hispanics the nation’s largest ethnic minority at 16.7% of the entire population.

Almost 50% of Hispanic households have children in the home, which is more than any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S.

Hispanics also make up 20% of U.S. families with children under the age of 6. from MediaPost

That’s a great reason to celebrate Hispanic Heritage no matter what your ethnicity, don’t you think?! Read more…