All posts in Best Books for Kids

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.

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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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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…

New Early Chapter Books to Get Kids Reading GIVEAWAY

New Early Chapter Books to Get Kids Reading GIVEAWAY

Have you ever tried a “book tasting?” It’s a fun way to get kids reading. You simply get a pile of books and have kids flip through the books, just to sample each one. Chances are that no one will leave empty handed.

Like baby clothes, Early Chapter Books tend to have a girl or boy appeal. Some like Magic Tree House, A to Z Mysteries, and Bailey School Kids appeal to both just like there are yellow, white and green infant clothes. I mean, they exist, but there’s just not a ton of them. But I try to judge the audience of the book, as open minded kids might not care if the character reflects themselves. I put the order of the books in this list by reading level, with the lower level first.

I did a book tasting with a pile of new early chapter books, and these are my favorites. How about you? What early chapter books are you or your kids enjoying?

I’m giving away 9 early chapter books to 9 winners. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

New Early Chapter Books to Get Kids Reading

Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes

This reminds me of the Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel but instead of amphibians, it’s about two brothers. It has that same kind style of conversation and the same kind of gentle adventures but set during modern times. This feels like an instant classic. I’m a huge fan of Frog and Toad and I love this book! Everything about it appeals to me. [early chapter book, ages 4 and up]

Pigsticks and Harold and the Tuptown Thief by Alex Milway

I read and loved a Pigsticks and Harold book when I judged the Cybils but I asked for the book to be recategorized from Easy Reader to Early Chapter Book. Here’s the thing: it falls in between. That’s not really an issue for the reader. Pigsticks and Harold books are funny mystery adventures that appeal to kids. Try it with kids ready to leave Easy Readers and make the leap to chapter books. This is the perfect transition series. [early chapter book series, ages 5 and up]

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Diverse Children's Books

Multiethnic Families/Biracial Characters #DiverseKidLit

Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is books featuring multiethnic families and/or biracial main characters. Sometimes a focus on diversity can feel like forcing people into boxes. Let’s celebrate the diversity that can be found within a single person or household! (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

I wanted to share This Is Just A Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

What’s like to grow up Chinese-Jewish-American during the Cold War 80’s? Nuclear war is a real possibility as is forgetting to wear pants to school.  David Da-Wei Rosenberg has a lot on his plate i this coming of age chapter book of a boy caught in the middle of cultures and friendships. Coming out June 27, 2017! [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

 

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

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