• What Do Muslims Really Want Anyway?! 17 Books on Muslim World for Kids

    Please welcome my guest poster today, author Elsa Marston who is my resident Middle Eastern Children’s literature go to! She has a list of recommended books for kids and teens at the bottom of the post. ———— Lately we’ve been reading about terrorist actions by Muslims in Europe and other places, events that have again […]

  • 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 […]

  • 10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 2nd Grade

    I chose a collection of some of my favorite chapter books and picture books for second grade read alouds. Truth be told, I don’t really remember exactly what books my kids were read to in the classroom during 2nd grade. For some reason, it’s drawing a blank at our house. Second grade at our elementary […]

  • Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College

    My book list of Top 10 Books to Teach Kids to Be More Responsible made me start to think about life skills that kids need before going off to college. That and the fact that my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, will be starting high school next fall so we have only 4 years to tackle this […]

  • Get Kids Reading Strategies: 12 Surefire Ways

    I searched five years of digital photographs looking for photos of my kids reading and I only came up with the handful here. Why? It’s not easy getting kids reading, especially to love reading enough that they choose it over more exciting things like screens, playdates or sports! I started my blog after my oldest […]

  • 10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade

    I had the great fortune to meet The Nerdy Book Club founders at a dinner for Anne Ursu hosted by Walden Pond Press to celebrate her latest chapter book, The Real Boy. (It’s wonderful. I put it on my  Newbery 2014 Contenders list! And it just won a Middle Grade Fiction Nerdie). Colby Sharp, one of […]

  • 23 Great Picture Books for 5th Grade

    A reader asked me for a list of picture books appropriate for 4th and 5th grade. I wasn’t sure myself. Sure, there are advanced picture books but does the list have to hit the Core Curriculum agenda? Don’t 4th and 5th graders want to read solely chapter books, having left picture books behind in 1st […]

  • Red Envelope Crafts for 2nd Grade China Unit

    My mom friend Stella who is Chinese explains the ins and outs of Chinese Red Envelope etiquette and significance to 2nd grade kids. We did a special presentation as part of their 2nd grade China Unit that included: the Chinese invention of paper money, red envelope craft and background, Chinese silk children’s clothes, and Chinese money. […]

  • Best Beginning Chapter Books for 2nd and 3rd Grade

    Best books for beginning readers from my library. This list is perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade.

  • How To: Create a Great Kids’ Book Club (Activity and Book Suggestions)

    Some ideas on how to set up a book club for your child with examples of successful book club meetings.

STEM TOY: Ozobot (robotics using markers)

STEM TOY: Ozobot (robotics using markers)

I’m always looking for STEM toys for my son to get him off screens. When I was offered this toy, I didn’t really know what it was, but it sounded like it was worth checking out. The packaging doesn’t really do it justice in terms of how simple and fun it is to use so it sat for weeks, untouched.

STEM TOY: Ozobot

Finally, I got my son to open the box. And we found a nice package of stickers, markers and a very small robot! I wish that was on the box. We would have torn the box open much sooner!

Ozobot STEM toy for kids

STEM TOY: Ozobot

The Ozobot is a very cool toy that teaches kids the principles of programming using this small robot and markers! Yes! Markers. And stickers!

STEM TOY: Ozobot

You program the Ozobot’s path by using colored markers to lay a track that it will follow.

Ozobot STEM Toy for kids

Different colors in different patterns are pre-programmed to make the Ozobot do different things.

There are stickers with these color patterns that your child can use, or s/he can use markers to get the Ozobot to do different things.

STEM TOY: Ozobot

The Ozobot comes with everything you need including paper paths that your child can customize. The Ozobot itself can be decorated as well.


The Ozobot kits start at $49. I’d recommend it for kids ages 6 and up. I really like how this STEM toy combines art and creativity with robotics in an opened ended way to play. This makes the toy suitable for a wide range of ages, and also makes it more interesting so that your child will use it more than just once or twice. Math and computer programming is essentially understanding patterns, and this toy teaches that concept using markers and colors! This is a toy to lure kids who think they don’t like STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) into the fold!

I received a kit from Ozobot to evaluate with my son. My opinions, as always, are my own.

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

STEM TOY: Ozobot (robotics using markers)

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.

10 Hilarious Cat and Dog Picture Books

10 Hilarious Cat and Dog Picture Books

To celebrate the release of my latest picture book, Officer Katz & Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails, illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou, Mia invited me to share my TOP 5 funny dog and cat picture books!

Dog my cats! It was virtually impossible to limit myself to 5 books each, but here goes! It’s raining cats and dog picture books!!

 10 Hilarious Cat and Dog Picture Books starting with …

Top 5 FUNNY Dog Picture Books

5. A Dog Wearing Shoes by Sangmi Ko

How can you resist this cover? I certainly couldn’t!

The shoe-wearing canine character of this dog adoption tale so reminds me of another favorite canine, Dr. Seuss’s Max.

Read more…

Parents: Get FREE Diversity Children's Book!

Parents: Get FREE Diversity Children’s Book!

Are you interested in receiving a FREE multicultural children’s book to review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017?

Big News: You DON’T have to be a blogger this year!! That’s right! Get a FREE diversity children’s book and post your book review and optional book extension activity on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. Bloggers, welcome too, of course! We’re just expanding our outreach so that we can give away more FREE diversity books to parents! Read more…

Kid Lit Blog Hop Now MONTHLY!

October Kid Lit Blog Hop

We want to welcome you to the October 2016 Kid Lit Blog Hop. Fall is here and Halloween is in a mere two weeks…WOW! There are some really great Halloween and Autumn books out there for children. We have seen some listed already. How about you share some of those on our monthly hop or for that matter, any great kid’s literature. We love it all!

Have you seen the Kid Lit Blog Hop Facebook fan page. This page has all the news and information related to the hop plus ongoing posts, giveaways, news articles, etc. related to Kid’s Lit. Check it out and of course, please like the page.

Read more…

Fun Ways to Learn About Day of the Dead for Kids

Fun Ways to Learn About Day of the Dead for Kids

It’s October now and time to start thinking of Halloween and costumes for my kids who still want to trick or treat. But it’s also time for Day of the Dead. It sounds like a somber holiday, but it’s more of a celebration of departed loved ones.

Because the days are the same, it’s easy to associate Day of the Dead, Dias de los Meurtos, with Halloween but it actually reminds me more of Obon in Japan.

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and internationally where family and friends remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey in a festive and celebratory way starting October 31 and ending November 2.

Halloween came from the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day in observance of Allhallowtide which starts October 31 and ends November 2. It’s a time to “remember the dead, including martyrs, saints, and all faithful departed Christians.” I’m not actually sure if All Hallows’ Day is a festive or somber occasion.

In the United States, Halloween it’s a day to Trick or Treat for candy the night of October 31 dressed up in costumes. In our neighborhood, we have a tradition called Ghosting. Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

Favorite Diverse Author or Illustrator

Our theme for this month’s Diverse Children’s Books linkups is Favorite Diverse Author or Illustrator. Who is your must-read author or must-see illustrator? (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

My choice is this multicultural board book that celebrates a strong powerful Hindu girl!

Padmini Is Powerful by Amy Maranville, illustrated by Tim Palin

Padmini is wise like Ganesh, creative like Sarasvati, and energetic like Parvati. Her other wonderful traits can be attributed to other Hindi gods, both male and female. She is powerful and so are you! Celebrating Padmini and the Hindu religion she practices validates all girls who can relate to her, but also expands the world for those who are not Hindu.  [board book, ages 2 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.


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On Helping Your Kids Find Their Passion

On Helping Your Kids Find Their Passion

Today is our 21st anniversary and what stands out most for me is my husband’s ability to hold back his own desires of golf stardom for his children and let them find their way. This is not to say that our oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, did not receive a set of miniature golf clubs on her first Christmas when she was exactly 20 days old. Or that he didn’t take the kids out to the putting green as soon as they could walk. Because we did do that. It was a great photo oppt!

Read more…

Sponsorships Multicultural Children's Book Day

Sponsorships for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 now OPEN!

Sponsorships for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 are now OPEN! See below about our programs for Free Diversity Children’s Books for Teachers and Free Diversity Children’s Books for Parents.


Sign Up for Multicultural Children’s Book Day Sponsorships

Publishers and authors who might be interested in Multicultural Children’s Book Day, please head over to our Sponsorship Page and sign up.


Last year, Multicultural Children’s Book Day reached over 96 MILLION social media share impressions, but this year will be even bigger!

FREE Diversity Books to Teachers!

Our free diversity children’s books for classroom campaign is BACK! We are so grateful to Junior Library Guild for gifting us 200 library-quality multicultural books for all grades.

In 2016, over 180 classrooms benefited from this campaign. If you know of a classroom, library or school that would like a free children’s book, have them go HERE to sign up.

Read more…

i appreciate you gifts

I Appreciate You: 5th Grade Student Gift Idea

My kids had the same 5th grade teacher. One lovely tradition is this I Appreciate You Because … certificate that each student fills out for their classmates. Grasshopper and Sensei and PickyKidPix have one; here’s my son. I can’t believe that he graduated from 5th grade already!
I Appreciate You: 5th Grade Student Gift Idea

I was also thinking that this would make a lovely gift for anyone:

  • colleague departing at work
  • birthday gift (for my mom who is about to turn 90!). Must think of way to do this will all party guests!
  • for any grade as a graduation gift from preschool to high school
  • a classroom gift to a teacher
  • a gift to a coach Read more…