Visiting Pratt Institute

Visiting Pratt Institute

Visiting Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute is just outside New York City in Brooklyn. From lower Manhattan, it took us about ten minutes to get their by cab. What’s nice about Pratt is that it’s a campus with a defined boundary, and plenty of public spaces both inside and out for community building. In fact, the spaces for learning are enticing, full of natural light with high ceilings and an easy going creative energy.

Visiting Pratt Institute

The Pratt Institute Tour was run by students and they were impressive in their knowledge of Pratt as well as for their enthusiasm for their school. Not everyone lived on campus as off campus housing is nearby and much less expensive.

Visiting Pratt Institute

The overall vibe that we got from the campus is that it is brimming with creative talent and nice, happy people. (One negative we’ve heard about RISD from my daughter’s friends who visited there is that the people can be off putting). It’s a beautiful campus with buildings specific to majors. The student work that we saw on exhibit was impressive.

Visiting Pratt Institute

Overall, we all liked Pratt and it’s on my daughter’s college list to apply to. I think she would be very happy here!

Visiting Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute Tour

Pratt Foundation Year: Freshman Year

What Foundation Year is like at Pratt.

Pratt Library

Really cool things about Pratt Library.

Visiting Pratt Institute

Diverse KidLit Twitter Party

#DiverseKitLit Favorites

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in April is Favorites.

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.)

My favorite books have an appreciating family theme:

We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Ryan Wheatcroft

This jubilant rhyming picture book celebrates the bonds that make families strong with illustrations that depict diversity and acceptance of all kinds of families from mixed race, families of color, LGBTQ, to special needs. This pairs nicely with The Barefoot Book of Children to explore the ways kids and families are different, yet the same. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

When God Made You by Mathew Paul Turner, illustrated by David Catrow

A you who views others as sisters and brothers

and lives by three words: love one anther.

This lovely feel-g00d picture book celebrates the wonderful uniqueness of every child, when God made you all shiny and new. The message of the book suggests that everyone is part of a bigger “family,” and that each person has gifts to share with the world. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Early Sunday Morning by Denene Millner, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Singing her first church solo makes a young African American girl nervous but her family is there all week to help her conquer her nerves. At her performance, she gets a special surprise that boosts her confidence when her father, who was supposed to work, makes it to her performance. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi

Bilal and his family have to move quickly to the United States from Pakistan but his father has to stay behind to deal with political intrigue that threatens the family’s safety. Bilal must swap cricket for baseball, all the while hoping his father will be able to join them soon. As a year nearly passes without his father, Bilal finds that his newfound skill as a pitcher might be the key to helping his father. This chapter book shows how a family might end up seeking refuge in a new country, and the stresses that causes on a family. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]


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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]

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.

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!

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