• How to Get Involved with Multicultural Children’s Book Day

    Now more than ever… Now more than ever, children need to see themselves reflected in the pages of the books they read. Readers of all ages need to be able to “read their world” to both see themselves, and those are who different, whether by culture, religion, sexual orientation, special needs or ethnicity. Multicultural Children’s […]

  • FREE Diversity Book for Multicultural Children’s Book Day

    Welcome to our upcoming Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27th, 2017! We are so excited for our fourth year that we are changing things up so that we can provide more diversity children’s books to parents, caregivers, guardians, librarians, and teachers. In years past, we asked for BLOGGERS to sign up to receive a […]

  • 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. […]

#BlackHistoryMonth by Carole Boston Weatherford

#BlackHistoryMonth by Carole Boston Weatherford

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Carole Boston Weatherford in Roxbury, Massachusetts last year. I was struck by her quiet elegance and dignity. Her books reflect that too.

Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes with Mia Wenjen

Carole Boston Weatherford is on the left. Ekua Holmes is on the right.

I didn’t realize how many #BlackHistoryMonth stories that would have remained largely untold if not for Carole’s work. Today, I wanted to share with you her books in honor of #BlackHistoryMonth.

#BlackHistoryMonth by Carole Boston Weatherford

The Legendary Miss Lena Horne by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Lena Horne

Lena Horne, image from Wikipedia

Lena Horne was both an legendary actress and activist, born into a well educated and high achieving family. During the Great Depression, Lena started her career at the Cotton Club as a dancer in the chorus line. Her career catapulted from there, to Broadway, headlining an all-white band, to Hollywood. During WWII, her activist side emerged in full force, which resulted in being blacklisted during McCarthy’s Red Scare. Still, Lena persisted. With a new husband, she was able to further her career to become an international star, and use her fame in the fight for civil rights. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Congo Square New Orleans

Congo Square, U.S. National Register of Historic Places, image from Wikipedia

“Slavery was no ways fair. Six more days to Congo Square.” The back story of the birth of jazz in New Orleans: because Louisiana was a French colony, then a Spanish colony, even slaves had Sunday off from work. In most states, African drums and music were banned. But once a week at Congo Square in New Orleans, hundreds of slaves and free blacks would congregate, play music, and dance. Told in simple rollicking rhyme, this picture book is exuberant as it is informational about a little known story that expresses a human’s capacity to find hope and joy even in the most difficult circumstances. And this resulted in the birth of jazz, America’s only original art form. Carole Boston Weatherford’s books are all exceptional. Both she and illustrator R. Gregory Christie are Coretta Scott King Honorees. Freedom in Congo Square is one of my (accurate) Caldecott picks. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

Read more…

Books for Young Activists

Books for Young Activists

In the last month, I have written a half-dozen letters to politicians and even make a few calls. That’s more than I’ve ever done in my life politically, with the exception of that Saturday in New Hampshire when I first arrived at college. My friend, David Nacht, persuaded me to campaign for Gary Hart and I spent the day in knocking on doors and talking to mostly elderly white people. I hated it. Even worse, the campaign staff persuaded made me write handwritten letters to everyone that I talked to. (I hate writing handwritten letters. My hand cramps and my handwriting is illegible, even for me.) I was done with politics, forever!

I’m not sure if I am a “snowflake,” but I do know this. Last night I shoveled one foot of snow around my house, and it was a tad overwhelming. In the same way, small acts can add up to a very powerful message.

trump nordstroms tweet

For example … like you, I was shocked that Trump used his POTUS account to complain about Nordstrom’s dropping the Ivanka brand. This tells me two things: Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

#DiverseKid Lit Blog Hop: Love

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in February is Love. 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.)

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

Read more…

3.6 Billion Social Media Share Impressions Multicultural Children's Book Day

3.6 Billion Social Media Share Impressions Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) generated 3.6 billion social media share impressions in three days (day before, day of, and day after).

3.6 BILLION Social Media Share Impressions Over Three Days

3.6 Billion Social Media Share Impressions Multicultural Children's Book Day

This is actually a conservative tally because 1) we did not track social media share impressions beyond the three days even though we had a robust presence on social media the month of January, 2) we had 400 reviewers but we did not track everyone (just the 30 reviewers with the largest social media followings on Twitter/Facebook), 3) we tracked Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest (but we didn’t not track LinkedIn, YouTube, SnapChat, or Periscope).

Who was counted?

Why didn’t we track more? Expense. Our stats are hand tabulated by our Virtual Assistant, Susan Mayfield, using a series of linked Excel spreadsheets.

We started tracking MCBD stats two years ago. In 2015, we generated 26 million social media share impressions.

PragmaticMom Twitter Alone Generated 29 Million Social Media Impressions!

This year, in 2017, my Twitter alone generated 29 million social media share impressions. I tweeted or retweeted 379 times during the three day period and had 77,645 followers at that time. 379 x 77,645 followers = 29,427,455 social media share impressions. Read more…

10 Groundbreaking LGBTQ Children’s Books

10 Groundbreaking LGBTQ Children’s Books

Today my guest author is Laurin Mayeno.  She’s an activist mom at OutProudFamilies, and a Huffington Post blogger. Her new children’s book, One of a Kind Like Me/Único como yo (oneofalikeme.com), is illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo and translated by Teresa Mlwar. You might recognize Robert Liu-Trujillo’s work from his poster for Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

One of a Kind Like Me/Único como yo by Laurin Mayeno, illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo

This bilingual Spanish picture book gently introduces gender diversity. Danny wants to be a purple princess for the school parade, and his family helps him create a costume from thrift store finds. The author hopes that her book gives children a sense of belonging, courage to be who they are, and an appreciation for people who are different from themselves. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

This bilingual book (Spanish/English) is based on Laurin’s son, Danny. We are giving away a copy of One of a Kind Like Me/Único como yo. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

———

Great news! The list of LGBTQ-themed children’s books is growing! Here are some of my favorite releases from the past two years, with a special focus on those that reflect many types of diversity in our families and communities.

10 Groundbreaking LGBTQ Children’s Books

1. The Boy and the Bindi by Vivek Shraya, illustrated by Rajni Perera

A boy asks his Ammi about the dot above her nose. When she gives him his own bindi, he discovers that it watches over him and allows him to explore and express who he is. This book is nothing short of magical! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Read more…

ice makes cool sounds

Ice Makes Cool Sounds: Science of Ice and Sound

Ice makes some pretty cool sounds! Check this video out from PBS Kids.

We noticed it ourselves when we found the ice at our dog park sounds and looks like broken glass!

ice makes cool sounds

We’ve also heard that reverberation of ice when we throw rocks at the frozen water in the reservoir. This time, though, we couldn’t find any big rocks to throw.

Coolest concert in the world: instruments made out of ice. And their concert in an igloo! A band in Sweden called Ice Music plays concerts inside an igloo on musical instruments made entirely out of ice.

I Appreciate You: Sports Team Bonding Idea

I Appreciate You: Sports Team Bonding Idea

I posted on two of my kids’ I Appreciate You graduating gift idea — Grasshopper and Sensei and my son’s 5th grade I Appreciate You class certificates are on my blog. The ideas is that each student in the class writes one sentence about every other student, and these are typed up on a certificate. It’s a snapshot of how they were perceived during their year in 5th grade.

I Appreciate You: Sports Team Bonding Idea

The problem is that I can’t find PickyKidPix’s I Appreciate You certificate! I searched and searched, and I can’t find it. She doesn’t seem too unhappy about this, but luckily I found something similar for her from her old soccer team. In 5th grade, her town soccer coach had each player write I Appreciate You cards and exchange them before a game. It was a nice way to build team bonding. To be honest, PickyKidPix often forgot to do hers so she had to give a verbal one. These were the cards that she received.

I Appreciate You Because…

Read more…

Picture Books Celebrating Imagination and Friendship

Picture Books Celebrating Imagination and Friendship & GIVEAWAY

I’m delighted to have Jackie Azúa Kramer guest posting today with a picture book list that celebrates imagination and friendship. She picked some of my all time favorite picture books in her ten book list; half about Imagination and half about Friendship.

Her newest picture book is also a perfect blend of friendship and imagination. We are giving away a copy of The Green Umbrella too! Please see the giveaway at the bottom of the post.

The Green Umbrella by Jackie Azúa Kramer, illustrated by Maral Sassouni

Elephant’s green umbrella is also Hedgehog’s boat, Cat’s tent, Bear’s flying machine, and Rabbit’s cane. Elephant doesn’t limit the use of the green umbrella to keeping himself dry either; it’s his sword, balancing pole, and baseball bat. As the rain clears up, the animals each want their toy back. Instead of fighting, they come up with the perfect solution for more adventures together. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

How about you? What are your favorite books that spark the imagination, celebrate friendship or even BOTH?! Thanks for sharing!

Picture Books that Spark a Kid’s Imagination

1. 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]

Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

#DiverseKidLit Theme is Love for Feb!

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in February is Love. 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.)

For February’s #DiverseKidLit theme of love, I chose this wonderful documentary novel of Loving vs. Virginia. A few things to note:

  • Their last name is Loving.
  • Their crime was loving each other.
  • This happened in the state of Virginia, whose state slogan is “Virginis is for Lovers.
  • Had Richard Loving been African American and Mildren white, this case would never had been tried. He would have been lynched.

Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Shadra Strickland

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark case that made mixed race marriages legal. That Richard and Mildred’s very last name is “LOVING” and that their crime is loving each other says something about fate perhaps. In 1955, in Virginia — state slogan: Virginia is for Lovers (formerly Virginia is for history lovers)– two teenagers fell in love amidst segregation, racism and cruelty.

Their marriage broke a Virginia 1924 law to preserve racial integrity and keep children of partial white ancestry out of all white schools. The fact that this law implied that one race was superior to another — this legislation allowed Negroes to marry those of other races, thus subjecting them to losing their racial purity — was an inconsistency that won their case.

It took nine long years during which they lived in exile in Washington DC for them to win their case. Told in mesmerizing free verse that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, this chapter book is as important as their landmark case. Novel in verse, 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

Read more…