All posts in Best Books for Kids

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…

Jessica Darling #2 giveaway

Jessica Darling’s It List #2 GIVEAWAY

PickyKidPix just started 7th grade this year and this book seems right up her alley. Now that she is assigned to read 40 books this school year from her English teacher, we will be seeking out high interest books like this one! Jessica Darling #2 hits shelves TODAY and I have author Megan McCafferty stopping by with advice for middle school kids.

How is your school year going? I hope you are off to a good start!

Jessica Darling, Middle School Advice from author Megan McCafferty

Read more…

4th grade summer reading homework

Rising 4th Grade Summer Reading Book List

I’m not gonna lie. I’ve had three kids do this going-into-fourth-grade summer reading assignment and the book report portion is painful. My kids simply are not in homework mode at the end of the summer, so it takes a ridiculous amount of effort (accompanied by equal amount of whining) to get it done. My son did his book project over a week with three failed attempts before eventual success.

Rising 4th Grade Summer Reading Homework

The reading portion of the homework, however, was a different story. My son and I cranked through three books the first week of summer vacation. The five books need to be different genres and I may have taken some liberties in naming genres … but I tacked on a few more outside-the-box books at the end including poetry and an easy chapter book.

How about you? Did you kids get summer reading assignments? Please share! Read more…

A Call for Diverse Children’s Literature

A Call for Diverse Children’s Literature #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Please welcome teacher and author Garrett Carter who is my guest blogger today. He writes about the need for more diversity in chidren’s books.

A Call for Diverse Children’s Literature

we need diverse books

Planting the Seed Now: A Call for Diverse Children’s Literature from a Teacher and Author

Along with spring and summer flowers, numerous articles concerning the lack of diversity in children’s literature have sprung up as the year has progressed. Not a new phenomenon, there has always been a lack of cultural diversity for children to experience through reading. As the melting pot in America simmers to a boil, so does the demand for an inclusion of diversity in children’s literature. Simply put; stakeholders are asking and demanding change — now! Here, I’ll explain why I feel this is an important message in my eyes as both a teacher and author. Read more…

19 perfect read alouds for first grade, perfect read alouds for 1st grade

19 Perfect Read Alouds for 1st Grade

I polled my three kids to jog their memory of what the read aloud books were in first grade. We had one wonderful first grade teacher twice, and PickyKidPix was even able to loop with her for second grade too!

When I think of first grade, I remember it was a time when all the kids desperately wanted to read “chapter books“, as if picture books didn’t count anymore. But often, picture books have a richer vocabulary and a more interesting story so this list includes books that teach  about compassion, entertain and mesmerize. I hope you enjoy them!

What books do you recommend as a first grade read aloud? Please share! Read more…

Baby Penguins Everywhere!, Picture Book of the Day, Melissa Guion

Picture Book for Parents with Kids Back in School GIVEAWAY

I’m happy that our Picture Book of the Day group is reconvening for the school year. I’m up today with my pick and it’s for all the parents out there celebrating kids going back to school!

How was your summer? Are you sad it’s over but happy that school is back in full swing? Please share!

Penguin Picture Book of the Day

Baby Penguins Everywhere! by Melissa Guion

There are lots of picture books for kids starting preschool or kindergarten, but this one is for parents whose kids are going back to school! Or at least, this is my take! A female penguin was all alone enjoying the sea and ice when a hat appeared and out jumped a LOT of baby penguins. She wasn’t lonely anymore, but every now and then, she just needed a minute to herself. This should be mandatory reading for toddlers and preschoolers! [picture book, ages 2 and up]

Read more…