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31+ STEM Books to Inspire Girls

31+ STEM Books to Inspire Girls

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Tuesday, which found that 15-year-old girls around the world, outperform boys in science – except for in the United States, Britain and Canada. via The Guardian

Breaking down theNational Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores by gender, girls averaged 151 points (out of a possible 300), three points higher than for boys in the first-ever Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) assessment was given in 2014. via The Atlantic

So what is it? Girls are better than boys at science? Or girls are worse at science? Or girls in higher socio-economic brackets outperform boys?

What’s the end goal? Karen Peterson, the chief executive of the National Girls Collaborative Project, says  it’s to “increase their persistence and resilience in STEM studies so that those early kernels of interest translate into meaningful careers.”

As a mom of two girls, I am of the opinion that it’s the parents’ job to pay attention to where the child leads you. For my oldest, her path is towards art school. For my middle daughter, a STEM career mixed with an entrepreneur’s drive seems likely. And yet, the big thinkers at RISD think they very well will end up at the same place. For what is STEM without creativity?

If you peruse the timeline of female scientists and their picture book biographies, one thing is clear. If someone really wants a career in science, she’s not going to let anything stop her. Here’s to the progress women have made in science, and here’s to supporting all girls as they find their passion in life.

What are your favorite STEM books that inspire girls? Thanks for sharing!

STEM Picture Books for Girls

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Life might have its failures, but this was not it.

The only true failure can come if you quit.

Rosie is an closet inventor after she thought her cheese hat python deterrent hat was ridiculed. She uses the hat with some tweaks into a flying contraption for her aunt and learns that failure is the problem solving tool of an engineer. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

Ada didn’t speak until she turned three, but when she did, she was full of questions, especially about why? Turns out, she has all the traits and the heart of a great scientist (though she’s also an exhausting kid to raise!). [picture book, ages 4 and up]

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

A little girl has an amazing idea that she’s going to make the most magnificent thing! All she has to do is make it. But making her magnificent thing leads down a frustrating path of trial and error. This book best reflects–Inspiration + motivation + passion = Endless possibilities. The girl’s emotional journey reminds a child not to quit. [picture book ages 3 and up]

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New Back to School Picture Books GIVEAWAY!

New Back to School Picture Books GIVEAWAY!

Is it time to get back into the swing of school? Hopefully, not just yet! We have a few more weeks of summer and I hope you do too. But, it’s IS a good time to talk about school starting to ease any anxieties. These five books do the trick.

How about you? What are your favorite back to school traditions or books? Thanks for sharing!

p.s. A few more Back to School book lists here:

Top 10 Diversity Starting School Books

Top 10 Starting School Picture Books

Books for Back to School Issues

 

New Back to School Picture Books GIVEAWAY!

A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices by Sally Derby, illustrated by Mika Song

Six kids in grades kindergarten through fifth grade start school with anxieties and fears. Ethan, a kindergartener, hides something in his pocket for comfort. Zach in first grade worries about learning everything over again. Katie frets that her new teacher in second grade isn’t her old teacher in first grade. Jackie isn’t the only third grader to get dropped off early. Fourth grader Carlos wonders if he will make new friends. Fifth grade Mia has hearing aids that almost make her late. As each child navigates the first day of school, their free verse poems show how everything turns out fine. [free verse poetry picture book, ages 5 and up]

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Ten Picture Books That Spark Courage & 3 Book GIVEAWAY!

Ten Picture Books That Spark Courage & 3 Book GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome author and illustrator Gaia Cornwall with her list of ten picture books that spark courage. She took the jump from illustrator to author with her first picture book, Jabari Jumps, a charming story about a boy who wants to dive for the first time, but finds it a little scary.

We are giving away 3 copies of Jabari Jumps! Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter. How about you? What picture books that spark courage do you recommend? Thanks for sharing!

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is ready to jump off the diving board for the first time!… Right after he does some stretches. And thinks about what kind of jump to do. Actually, everyone else can go first… With the help of his supportive dad, Jabari figures out how to deal with his fear and tackle a new challenge. [ages 2 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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Rethinking & Examining Dr. Seuss' Racism

Rethinking & Examining Dr. Seuss’ Racism

Dr. Seuss and Dr. Seuss Enterprises profited profoundly off of the sales of this book, it’s Broadway rendition, the Horton Hears a Who! movie (which grossed $297 million dollars) and associated merchandise. None of it went to the Japanese community, including those still impacted by cancer and leukemia from the atomic bomb blasts. Dr. Seuss never directly apologized for his anti-Japanese work and this book doesn’t hold up as a meaningful, indirect one.

I’ve had the privilege of working with Katie Ishizuka-Stephens, Executive Director of The Conscious Kid Library. She is also Japanese American and her parents were forced into internment camps during WWII. This makes us both sensitive to the dehumanizing racism against Japanese-Americans during WWII that allowed the American public to accept putting innocent civilians into concentration camps in which Dr. Seuss’s political cartoons played a large role.

Japanese Internment Books for Kids & My Family's Story

She found me when I posted on The Racist Side of Dr. Seuss That You Didn’t Know About. We both objected to the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America’s choice of using Dr. Seuss as the featured author.

Slap That Jap and Dr. Seuss racist cartoonsNow there is a Dr. Seuss museum that is opening near me in Springfield, MA. There are no plans to include Dr. Seuss’s racist political cartoons as part of his legacy. The museum is carefully orchestrating hiding this side of Dr. Seuss that no one knows about. Ostensibly, their excuse is that they don’t have any original political cartoons of his, and the artwork featured is all original. This is not a very high hurdle given that Dr. Seuss’ sad political cartoons have no marketRead more…

Baby Bunny Nest in Our Yard & GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU? Giveaway

Baby Bunny Nest & GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU? Giveaway

My husband ordered 6 cubic yards of mulch for our yard and we went to town for three days. While he was raking off the dead leaves to prepare for the mulch in our front yard, he happened upon a bunny nest with four baby bunnies inside!

wild bunny nest in our yard

He showed me the bunny nest, and one bunny popped out and ran for it. Luckily the bunny was  slow, so my husband was able to catch it and stuff it back inside the nest.

runaway bunny

The next day, PickyKidPix, caught wind of the bunny nest and asked to be shown it. This time when they peeled off the top which was made of leaves and brush, the bunny took off. It took them twenty-five minutes to catch the baby bunny.

baby cottontail bunny in our yard Read more…

Hidden (or not) Things to Spot in Famous Picture Books

Hidden (or not) Things to Spot in Famous Picture Books

It’s fun to discover hidden things to spot or personal references in beloved picture books. My husband and I delighted in searching for the mouse in Goodnight Moon with our kids. I think it was my husband who pointed out the red balloon hidden in Goodnight, Gorilla to me. After that, the hunt was on. We loved to figure out what surprises illustrators left to be discovered.

How about you? What things have you noticed in picture books that are hidden away, or, a signature reference, in plain sight by your favorite illustrators? Thanks for sharing!

Things to Spot in Famous Picture Books

Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

things to find in Goodnight Moon

Look for a white mouse on every color page spread and also check out the clock in the room. It takes mother bunny a full hour to put her baby to bed.

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11 Great Father's Day Books for Kids & GIVEAWAY

11 Great Father’s Day Books for Kids & GIVEAWAY

Need a children’s book idea to gift to the dads in your life? Here are 11 ideas. You can also just check it out of the library and read at bedtime on Sunday, June 18th.

I’m giving away three picture books perfect for Father’s Day. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

What are your favorite books for kids featuring dads? Thanks for sharing!

11 Great Father’s Day Books for Kids & GIVEAWAY

My Dad Used to Be So Cool by Keith Negley

To all the (incognito) rock star dads out there, this is the perfect picture book for you! I’d gift to any dad who was or is an musician in a rock band, or just is secretly cool. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown

Dads who are fans of Star Wars need this book. Imagine is Darth Vader babysat four-year-old Luke Skywalker. Would Darth have made different choices? This funny picture book imagines a vacation with the absent dad. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr

This lyrical picture book should be on every book shelf. It celebrates the bond between a father and his daughter as they search at night for owls. Gift to a dad who is always taking his kids on nature adventures. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Things To Do With Dad by Sam Zuppardi

Celebrate Father’s Day with this wordless picture book where dad and son do all the household chores together, and then knock off another To Do list. This is a list the little boy makes that includes fly jet packs, ride a dinosaur, visit the moon, and sail a pirate ship. Dad is willing to do it all! Gift this to a dad who play imaginary games with their kids! [wordless picture book, ages 4 and up]

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