Two Truths and a Lie: It's Alive

Two Truths and a Lie: 3 BOOK GIVEAWAY

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t. Mark Twain

Before I talk about this new nonfiction book coming out at the end of June, I have a “small world” story. I run the social media for two restaurants that the father of my son’s best friend owns, Common Ground. To promote Common Ground in Arlington, Massachusett’s new function room, I decided to hold a pop up Holiday Market. A local children’s book author signed up … and that person turned out to be Ammi-Joan Paquette, who lives nearby. Read more…

New Early Chapter Books to Get Kids Reading GIVEAWAY

New Early Chapter Books to Get Kids Reading GIVEAWAY

Have you ever tried a “book tasting?” It’s a fun way to get kids reading. You simply get a pile of books and have kids flip through the books, just to sample each one. Chances are that no one will leave empty handed.

Like baby clothes, Early Chapter Books tend to have a girl or boy appeal. Some like Magic Tree House, A to Z Mysteries, and Bailey School Kids appeal to both just like there are yellow, white and green infant clothes. I mean, they exist, but there’s just not a ton of them. But I try to judge the audience of the book, as open minded kids might not care if the character reflects themselves. I put the order of the books in this list by reading level, with the lower level first.

I did a book tasting with a pile of new early chapter books, and these are my favorites. How about you? What early chapter books are you or your kids enjoying?

I’m giving away 9 early chapter books to 9 winners. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

New Early Chapter Books to Get Kids Reading

Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes

This reminds me of the Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel but instead of amphibians, it’s about two brothers. It has that same kind style of conversation and the same kind of gentle adventures but set during modern times. This feels like an instant classic. I’m a huge fan of Frog and Toad and I love this book! Everything about it appeals to me. [early chapter book, ages 4 and up]

Pigsticks and Harold and the Tuptown Thief by Alex Milway

I read and loved a Pigsticks and Harold book when I judged the Cybils but I asked for the book to be recategorized from Easy Reader to Early Chapter Book. Here’s the thing: it falls in between. That’s not really an issue for the reader. Pigsticks and Harold books are funny mystery adventures that appeal to kids. Try it with kids ready to leave Easy Readers and make the leap to chapter books. This is the perfect transition series. [early chapter book series, ages 5 and up]

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Diverse Children's Books

Multiethnic Families/Biracial Characters #DiverseKidLit

Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is books featuring multiethnic families and/or biracial main characters. Sometimes a focus on diversity can feel like forcing people into boxes. Let’s celebrate the diversity that can be found within a single person or household! (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

I wanted to share This Is Just A Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

What’s like to grow up Chinese-Jewish-American during the Cold War 80’s? Nuclear war is a real possibility as is forgetting to wear pants to school.  David Da-Wei Rosenberg has a lot on his plate i this coming of age chapter book of a boy caught in the middle of cultures and friendships. Coming out June 27, 2017! [chapter book, 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

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Captain Underpants 3 book giveaway

#CaptainUnderpants 3 Book Giveaway

I’m sharing this giveaway in partnership with Scholastic!

I credit Dav Pilkey and his Captain Underpants series with getting my son reading so I’m thrilled to giveaway two Captain Underpants books in honor of the new movie! Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter. As I always tell my kids, the book is always better than the movie! Both books are in stores May 1 ,2017.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Official Handbook by Kate Howard

Meet George and Harold, two fun-loving best friends with a special talent for trouble. The only thing they love more than pulling pranks is creating comic book heroes like the Amazing Captain Underpants. When the boys accidentally bring Captain Underpants to life, Jerome Horwitz Elementary — and the world — will never be the same! The Movie Handbook is your official guide to George and Harold, the Amazing Captain Underpants, mean old Mr. Krupp, Professor P. Poopypants, and much, much more.

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Environmental Nonfiction Picture Books That Call Kids to Action

Environmental Nonfiction Picture Books That Call Kids to Action

Please welcome my guest author, Patricia Newman! She has a list of nonfiction books that gets kids involved in environmental issues. I added two books to her list: Rainbow Weavers/Tejedora del Arcoiris which pairs nicely with One Plastic Bag, and Follow the Moon Home which pairs with Mission: Sea Turtle Rescue.

Her book, Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem, shows how these delightful sea mammals were able to save an ecosystem in Monterey Bay. That’s personal to us because it’s my husband’s hometown!

Patricia Newman talks about the accumulation of plastic and I wanted to share this article that I just read with fascination and horror:  The Atlantic’s article, A Remote Paradise Is Now a Plastic Junkyard! It’s made my family and I start a compost bin!

The Atlantic: A Remote Island is Now a Plastic Junkyard

“Henderson Island is isolated and uninhabited—but its beaches are still covered in garbage.” 

From The Atlantic. Photo by Jennifer Lavers.

How about you? Are you and your kids concerned about the environment? What kinds of things do you talk about and do?

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This is a topic close to my heart. Ever since I read an article about young scientists sailing 1,000 miles into the Pacific Ocean to study the accumulation of plastic, I’ve been on a tear to tell kids the truth about our impact on the environment. In order for Earth to continue to support us, we have to support Earth. Kids (and adults) can celebrate Earth Day every day with the following titles.

Environmental Nonfiction Books That Calls Kids to Action

Environmental HERO stories show ordinary people making an extraordinary difference.

Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Wangari Muta Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement that empowered African people to fight deforestation by planting trees. Expressive text and stunning illustrations bring this powerful story to life. [nonfiction picture book, ages 4 and up]


One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

A beautifully written tale about how one woman cared enough to rid her village of plastic waste that attracted disease-carrying insects and killed local animals. Young readers will love the solution! [nonfiction picture book, ages 6 and up]

Rainbow Weavers/Tejedora del Arcoiris by Linda Elovitz, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri Marshall

Pair this book with One Plastic Bag. It’s a similar story about the Mayan women in Guatemala. [nonfiction picture book, ages 6 and up]

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A Forgotten Camera Gets Dylan Reading

A Forgotten Camera Gets Dylan Reading

If you’ve been reading my blog, you might remember a long time reader, Dee, whose son was (operative word!) a reluctant reader.

She wrote me in 2012:
Hi, Mia!

Over the summer, I’m trying to spark an interest in history and social studies with Dylan.  He’s going into fifth and finds the subject so boring.  I’ll admit, the way they teach it is not exciting.

This past year, it was American social studies, mainly focused on regions.  He came alive when we’d read the snippets of stories, like the one recently about a young girl moving with her family from the city to the prairie.  So I was thinking of Willa Cather for that.  But it could be about the Gold Rush, about pilgrims, about the Alamo, you name it.  Anything history or culture related.

I envision us reading them together and I’ll definitely end up doing a lot of the actual reading.

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” – Ignacio Estrada

I wrote a post for her on 5th Grade Chapter Books To Make Social Studies Exciting but it didn’t help Dylan much.

forest school

image from The Friends of Tower Hamlet Cemetery Park

Over the years, I learned through the comments that she left, that she put Dylan into a summer camp called SOAR, a movement that teaches kids using nature as the classroom. She might have done this as he entered Middle School or perhaps the year after that. It really changed Dylan. This was a great learning environment for him and his self esteem got a boost. But still, he wasn’t reading for pleasure (like my son as well).
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Recognizing Children's Books for #AAPIHeritageMonth

Recognizing Children’s Books for #AAPIHeritageMonth

For #AAPIHeritageMonth, I wanted to recognize Asian Americans in children’s books. I’ve tried to include all the Asian American authors and illustrators I can think of, including Asian Canadians for all books except young adult. This list grew out of trying to recognize this group on my Instagram (@PragmaticMom) and on the new Multicultural Children’s Book Day Instagram (@ReadYourWorld MCBD).

I’ve included a few YA authors that my kids personally recommend but for the most part, this is list is picture books, early chapter books, middle grade chapter books, graphic novels, and novels in verse. I’ve also tried to limit this list to books published within the last 12 months.

Who am I missing? Thanks for your help!

Asian American Picture Book Biographies

It turns out that very few picture book biographies were published this year featuring an Asian American.

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

I’m excited to read this picture book biography. I have long admired Maya Lin’s public art monuments and it’s wonderful to see her in a children’s book. I’ll also happy that Dow Phumiruk is the illustrator; I loved her #KidLitSafetyPin artwork.

As a child, Maya Lin loved to study the spaces around her. She explored the forest in her backyard, observing woodland creatures, and used her house as a model to build tiny towns out of paper and scraps. The daughter of a clay artist and a poet, Maya grew up with art and learned to think with her hands as well as her mind. From her first experiments with light and lines to the height of her success nationwide, this is the story of an inspiring American artist: the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. [picture book biography, ages 4 and up]

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku by Ellie Crowe, illustrated by Richard Waldrep

Growing up in Honolulu with the Pacific Ocean as his backyard, Duke Kahanamoku learned to swim and surf at a young age. By his early twenties, Duke’s lightning-fast swimming won him a place on the 1912 United States Olympic team and a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle race. Over the years Duke struggled with racism and financial troubles, but by the end of his twenty-year Olympic career, he was a six-time medal winner. Although a swimming champion, Duke’s passion was surfing. He traveled the world, introducing surfboarding to Australia and the east and west coasts of the United States. Considered the father of modern surfing, Duke spread his love of the ocean and Hawai’i wherever he went. Throughout his life Duke Kahanamoku was beloved for his modesty, sportsmanship, and amazing skill in the water. [picture book, ages 7 and up]

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi, illustrated by Yutaka Houlette

Fred Korematsu liked listening to music on the radio, playing tennis, and hanging around with his friends—just like lots of other Americans. But everything changed when the United States went to war with Japan in 1941 and the government forced all people of Japanese ancestry to leave their homes on the West Coast and move to distant prison camps. This included Fred, whose parents had immigrated to the United States from Japan many years before. But Fred refused to go. He knew that what the government was doing was unfair. And when he got put in jail for resisting, he knew he couldn’t give up. [picture book biography, ages 8 and up]

Step Up to the Plate Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami

Nine-year-old Maria Singh longs to play softball in the first-ever girls’ team forming in Yuba City, California. It’s the spring of 1945, and World War II is dragging on. Miss Newman, Maria’s teacher, is inspired by Babe Ruth and the All-American Girls’ League to start a girls’ softball team at their school. Meanwhile, Maria’s parents–Papi from India and Mama from Mexico–can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land. When the family is on the brink of losing their farm, Maria must decide if she has what it takes to step up and find her voice in an unfair world. In this fascinating middle grade novel, award-winning author Uma Krishnaswami sheds light on a little-known chapter of American history set in a community whose families made multicultural choices before the word had been invented. [chapter book biography, ages 8 and up]

Chef Roy Choi  and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and  June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One

Yukari Reads on Instagram gaves me the heads up on this one.

Chef Roy Choi calls himself a “street cook.”
He wants outsiders, low-riders,
kids, teens, shufflers and skateboarders,
to have food cooked with care, with love,
with sohn maash.

“Sohn maash” is the flavors in our fingertips. It is the love and cooking talent that Korean mothers and grandmothers mix into their handmade foods. For Chef Roy Choi, food means love. It also means culture, not only of Korea where he was born, but the many cultures that make up the streets of Los Angeles, where he was raised. So remixing food from the streets, just like good music—and serving it up from a truck—is true to L.A. food culture. People smiled and talked as they waited in line. Won’t you join him as he makes good food smiles? [picture book biography, 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…