• Top 10: Best Picture Books for Spring

    You wouldn’t guess that it’s spring here in Boston given the snow we’ve been getting in April! Still, I am dreaming of spring and getting my little garden going. These are my favorite picture books for garden inspiration. These books demonstrate that gardens can transform an environment, bring neighbors closer, and even become a political […]

  • African-American Female Musicians Picture Books

    March is Women’s History Month so I’ve started off with a video of a musician that is new to me, Hazel Dorothy Scott, a jazz prodigy who was prominent during the 1930s and 1940s. I could not find a picture book biography on her (yet) but here’s hoping that someone will write out. In the […]

  • 5 Amazing Multicultural Novels in Verse and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

    It’s been such a great year for those who love both multicultural/diversity/inclusive books for kids AND novels in verse! I picked five amazing favorites that I’ve loved from this past year and hope that the popularity of these books will encourage more diversity books to be published! What are your favorite novels in verse? Please […]

  • 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 […]

Applying to Art School: Visiting School of Visual Arts

Applying to Art School: Visiting School of Visual Arts

My two daughters and I spent five days in New York City over February break to visit art schools for my oldest.

Jenny Brown Artist

Jenny Brown. Homesickness 2. Pen & collage on antique photo. 2016

We brought our friend along, the artist Jenny Brown, who attended School of Visual Arts for her M.F.A. for help navigating the streets of NYC. Our trip was jam packed and included 4 art museums, 1 art gallery, two art schools, two colleges, and a lot of foodie stops. Read more…

My First Picture Book Submission: Sumo Joe! #AmWriting

My First Picture Book Submission: Sumo Joe! #AmWriting

I was standing in line of a dive Brazilian buffet restaurant with my husband for lunch. The food is inexpensive and delicious and we joke that this would be like visiting our grandmothers, if they lived nearby and were Brazilian.

Panela De Barro Restaurant

There was a line at the meat counter where it’s sliced off the skewers for you. A contractor was in front of me. He was a big guy, but not immense. All of a sudden, the image of a sumo popped into my head. By the time, I sat down with my food, I had all kinds of rhymes about Sumo Joe. I quickly typed them into my phone and then sat down to eat.

Panela De Barro Restaurant

Nothing much happened for a few weeks. Then one day, I had to go into work for a meeting and needed to find someone about a project I was working on.

Aquent OfficeMy office is a “hoteling” system so no one has assigned desks. Instead, everyone gets with a storage locker and a file folder drawer to store their stuff (which encourages electronic files), and can sit any where they want all day in a series of “neighborhoods.” Thus, no one really has stuff on their desk; without an assigned desk, there’s very little family photos or pencil holders on the workspace.

So… imagine my surprise to run into this:

My First Picture Book Submission: Sumo Joe! Read more…

My Favorite Graphic Novels for Girls Ages 6 and Up

My Favorite Graphic Novels for Girls Ages 6 and Up

I thought I would review and update my 19 Graphic Novels for Feisty Girls post. After reading a few more years of graphic novels, I’ve gathered up my favorite graphic novels for girls, ages 6 and up. What are your favorite graphic novels for girls? Thanks for sharing! I’ll add them to this list!

Favorite Graphic Novels for Girls Ages 6 and Up

Dragons Beware series by Jorge Aguirre, illustrated by Rafael Rosado

Claudette is not afraid of anything. Giants or dragons don’t faze her, in fact, she’s ready to take them on, especially the dragon that ate her father’s legs and his legendary sword. With her best friend Marie and her little brother Gaston at her side, she sets off on another hilarious adventure. [graphic novel, ages 6 and up]

Phoebe and Her Unicorn series by Dana Simpson

Anyone who has loved the comedic humor of Calvin and Hobbes but wished it skewed younger will delight in Phoebe and Her Unicorn. Phoebe is Calvin … a kid going through the trials of everyday life that includes girl bullies at school. Marigold Heavenly Nostrils is her unicorn with magical powers and the same dry observational wit of Hobbes. Together, Phoebe and Marigold traverse the perils of school, piano lessons without having practiced and awkward birthday parties. [graphic novel, ages 8 and up]

Read more…

Brush Bots: DIY Toothbrush Robots

Brush Bots: DIY Toothbrush Robots

This DIY robot was fun to make and surprisingly easy to make. It went off without a hitch, except for cutting the toothbrush end off.

Brush Bots: DIY Toothbrush Robots

 

My husband came up with an ingenious way to use friction and heat  while bending it back and forth with pliers to cut it. My son trimmed the rough edge with scissors (not really necessary) and then we started the project.

Brush Bots: DIY Toothbrush Robots

Brush Bots: Turn a Toothbrush into a Robot!

Brush Bots: DIY Toothbrush RobotsRead more…

My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

I’ve rounded up every book review that I could think of over the last seven years of blogging to try to compile my #WomensHistoryMonth book list below. What are your favorite books celebrating women’s achievements? Thanks for sharing!

My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

My daughter  and I love this gorgeously illustrated and designed book celebrating 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world. So many of these female scientists were overlooked and not given credit for their achievements because they were women. The women of color even more so. For example, Rosalind Franklin actually discovers the structure of DNA. “James Watson and Francis Crick snuck a peak at Rosalind’s work, without her permission, and used her findings to publish their own work without giving her credit.” [picture book biography, ages 8 and up]

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! by Katy Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

I love everything about this short biography picture book from the Andy Warhol inspired images to the selection of activists and trailblazers that are highlighted in this book. [picture book biography, ages 8 and up]

What’s the Big Deal about the First Ladies by Ruby Shamir, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Learn about the achievements of the First Ladies. Did you know that Edith Wilson helped decode secret messages during WWI? Rosalind Carter encouraged world leaders to help suffering refugees, and Laura Bush helped millions of people in Africa get medicine for AIDS. With an engaging format, this picture book is full of interesting factoids about our amazing first ladies. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found Faces of the Depression by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Sarah Green

Dorothea Lange had childhood polio which left her with a limp, but also a sense of empathy that shaped her view from behind the camera. Her famous photo of a migrant mother and her kids has a backstory: the family was stranded and starving after rains had destroyed the pea crop. 📸Dorothea’s powerful image was published in the newspaper, and then the government rushed ten tons of food to the camp. Lange captured powerful images of The Great Depression and Japanese Americans in internment camps. She also documented the conference that created the United Nations. Read this inspiring picture book biography that shows the power of art in the fight for social justice. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner, illustrated by Brett Helquist

My 12-year-old son just read it and said, “I like the way he writes this book because it’s not like he’s writing a (boring) biography. It’s like he’s telling their story.” Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova were such a study in opposites. Martina: all heart and emotion. Chris: cool as a cucumber. And they were close friends as well! I love the causal tone of this book that really brings their great rivalry to life, and illustrates good sportsmanship. Readers also get a mini lesson on The Cold War. Two great champions. Two great friends. [picture book biography, ages 7 and up]

Swimming with the Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang, illustrated by Jordi Solano

In the 1930s, almost no one studied the depths of the ocean, and none were women but that didn’t stop Eugenie Clark from dreaming of becoming an ichthyologist. She got her master’s degree in zoology and became a research assistant to a fish scientist, soon specializing in sharks. Her research showed that sharks were not voracious killers. Despite facing discrimination as a woman and racism because she was Japanese American, she never stopped learning, publishing over 175 articles about fish. She died in 2015 at the age of ninety-two, still researching! [picture book biography, ages 6 and up]

Abigail Adams by Alexandra Wallner

Abigail Adams was the wife of a president, and the mother of a president. Both her husband and son became presidents of the United States, and while that is what she is famous for, she worked her entire life for women’s and civil rights. While women’s roles were defined by running the household, Abigail spent her life trying to change things she found unfair, and downright wrong. She fought for woman’s rights, though her husband, did not agree. She taught a black servant to read and write. This picture book shows a side of Abigail that is lesser known, one of American’s earliest proponents of women’s rights, and civil rights for people of color. [picture book biography, ages 6 and up]

Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

Changing Seasons #DiverseKidLit

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in March is the Changing Seasons. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

Here are two cute spring books that I love.

Fly! by Xavier Deneux

I love interactive board books and this one is unique in that the reader can remove shapes that come out COMPLETELY and put them back into place on the facing page. It’s like a puzzle and a book in one package! The illustrations are adorable and the story is a spring story of baby birds hatching. Perfect for Easter baskets or celebrating spring! [interactive board book, ages 1 and up]

The Sheep Who Hatched An Egg by Gemma Merino

This story has an unexpected plot twist about Lola, a sheep with beautiful, silky wool. After spring shearing, her wool grows back messy and wild and she’s despondent. An egg lands on her head, but she doesn’t notice; her wool is so thick! The chick hatches and they become friends. Soon it’s time for the chick to leave the nest and for Lola for her annual shearing. Now, she doesn’t care if her wool. This is a fun story about friendship and vanity that works for all seasons, but is especially fun for spring. [picture book, ages 4 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
Kid Lit Blog Hop Now MONTHLY!

Kid Lit Blog Hop: Celebrating Spring!

We’re celebrating spring at the Kid Lit Blog Hop as well as any other KidLit posts on children’s books! Please check out the posts and add your own. Here’s my contribution: Top 10 Spring Picture Books

HAPPY SPRING! We welcome you to the March 2017 Kid Lit Blog Hop. Apologies for missing last month’s blog hop, but life sometimes gets in the way. 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!

Read more…

The Mystery of Pi for Pi Day!

The Mystery of Pi for Pi Day!

What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o’-lantern by its diameter? Pumpkin π. Joke from comedian John Evans from 50 Interesting Facts About Pi

PickyKidPix came home from school after Pi Day last year determined to memorize 100 digits of Pi. Her math teacher offered 1 point of extra credit for learning Pi. He rarely offers extra credit so she decided that she was going to learn 100 digits of Pi.

Learn Pi Free Read more…

Sci-Fi Junior High Chapter Book GIVEAWAY

Did you know that author James Patterson of Maximum Ride series now has a publishing imprint through Little, Brown called Jimmy Patterson Books. The books that he’s putting out have his name on the cover: James Patterson Presents. This is an interesting concept of brand extension for authors.

I’m giving away a James Patterson Presents book, Sci-Fi Junior High by John Martin and Scott Seegert that is a notebook novel like Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. This book is actually a hybrid — part doodles, part graphic novel pages, and part chapter book. This is a book to draw in reluctant boy readers with both humor and illustrations on every single page.

I’m giving away a prize package for Sci-Fi Junior High!

One winner receives:
Copy of Sci-Fi Junior High
Branded iron-on patch and pencil case
Plus rocket ship pens! Read more…