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PragmaticMom Education Matters. A Mashup Covering Parenting, Children's Literature and Education. : PragmaticMom

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…

Marvelous Machines in Real Life and in Brian Selznick Books

Marvelous Machines in Real Life and in Brian Selznick Books

Did you know that Brian Selznick’s grandfather’s cousin is the storied Hollywood producer and screen writer David O. Selznick, best known for producing Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940)? I only bring that up because Brian Selznick’s books have that same old-timey film quality despite being books. It’s like Brian Selznick himself is out of time; in our timeline but really from the past.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick

It’s Brian’s storyline as well as his illustrations that look like storyboards for a movie that give that same old Hollywood film glamour to his books. It should be noted that his books look deceptively long, but three fourth of the book is illustrations (without words). In a future world where books are a multimedia event, I would like to see his illustrations made into stop motion animated movie to accompany the text. That would bring his book down to a slim volume, enticing even the most reluctant of readers. Read more…

Great Backyard Bird Count 4 Book GIVEAWAY

Great Backyard Bird Count 4 Book GIVEAWAY

The 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count just finished up and the next one is Feb 16 to Feb 19, 2018. Birding is a fantastic reason for families to get outdoors and observe nature—and to read nature books together!

I’m teaming up with Downtown Bookworks for a birding for kids book giveaway that can help prepare any child for the Great Backyard Bird Count—or any day of birding! Awaken the budding naturalists and ornithologists in your child, or just use these books as an excuse to get outside!

p.s. Doodles and Jots has a free printable Bird Journal for kids to track the birds they find!

doodles and jots bird journal

Great Backyard Bird Count 4 Book GIVEAWAY

PBS KIDS Look and Learn Birds by Sarah Parvis
Young birders  will get everything they need to get started with this kit that comes with a book, binoculars, and more.

Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

#DiverseKidLit & The Changing Seasons

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.)

I chose two nonfiction books today that show the biodiversity of the world we live in. I hope these books encourage kids to explore other countries and cultures.

Strange Trees and the Stories Behind Them by Bernadette Purquié and Cécile Gambini

Learn about sixteen real but unusual trees like the chocolate tree, the upside-down tree, the rain tree, the chewing gym tree, and the ghost tree. Each tree is described in an intriguing way from the tree’s point of view, inviting readers to learn more. Use the maps on the end papers to find each tree. The beautiful illustrations ignite the imagination! [nonfiction picture book, ages 6 and up]

Things That Grow by Libby Walden, illustrated by Becca Stadlander

The life cycles of plants, animals, and the universe are explored in this pocket sized book. With postcard sized pages, this book offers short tidbits of information with beautifully designed pages. [nonfiction picture book, ages 6 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…

Read Your World: A Guide to Multicultural Children's Books for Parents and Educators

Join Us for Read an eBook Week!

March 5-11 is Read an eBook Week! First conceived by author Rita Toews more than nine years ago as a response to the stagnant acceptance of electronic reading, Read An E-Book Week has slowly built a strong international following among digitally published authors and readers alike.

Read an ebook week

This year’s event, which began March 5th and carried through to March 11th, brought authors from eleven countries together for a week of e-reading. Read more about the history of this event and the history of e-books HERE.

What better ebook to share than the one myself, my team members and MCBD Co-Founders (along with some pretty amazing bloggers and children’s literacy advocates) created ourselves?!

Read Your World: A Guide to Multicultural Children's Books for Parents and Educators Read more…

The Rock Maiden by Natasha Yim

The Rock Maiden Chinese Folk Tale GIVEAWAY

I’m part of The Rock Maiden‘s blog tour, Natasha Yim’s Chinese folk tale about love and loyalty. She was inspired by an interesting natural rock formation found in Hong Kong, and the ancient Chinese legend that explained how that came to be.

I’m also giving away a copy of The Rock Maiden AND a Skype author visit with Natasha Yim! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.

The Rock Maiden: A Chinese Tale of Love and Loyalty by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Pirkko Vainio

Amah Rock

Amah Rock in Sha Tan, Hong Kong, from I Love Hong Kong.

Ling Lee lived in a fishing village in Hong Kong and fell in love with a kind, young fisherman. When he was lost at sea, she never gave up hope of her return, climbing to the top of a cliff overlooking the sea to watch for him. Her lonely figure was noticed by a god who turned her and her baby into stone. About a year later, her husband returns and discovers what has happened. Tin Hau, the patron god of fisherman, again intervenes, rewarding true love. Read more…

10 Books Featuring Kids with Incarcerated Parents

10 Books Featuring Kids with Incarcerated Parents & GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome author A. J. Pacquette with a list of ten books featuring kids with incarcerated parents. I was thrilled to meet her! It turns out that we live near each other!

Author A. J. Pacquette, Joan Pacquette, Ammi Joan Pacquette

Nowhere Girl by A. J. Pacquette

Had coffee with author Ammi-Joan Paquette but had no idea that NOWHERE GIRL is her middle grade chapter book. It’s really good but hard to explain … think the movie Midnight Express, you know, the drug smuggler guy in a Turkish prison? Add in a love child. Put mom and child in a prison in Thailand. Girl grows up in jail and mom dies when she’s 13. She has no idea who her father is. Now she’s free to go and has to figure it out. That’s where the book begins!!! Oh yeah, her mom is American. Her father too.

One thing about childhood: it’s not an automatic protection from the tougher side of life. To help kids make sense of some of those darker elements, here are 10 titles that feature kids whose parents are in prison. Ranging from the very young to teenagers, this list can act as a resource for readers of all ages.

I’m also doing a giveaway of Nowhere Girl by A. J. Paquette. Please use the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter. What are your favorite books about incarcerated parents? Read more…

10 Books for Kids Jerry Spinelli Wants You To Read

10 Books for Kids Jerry Spinelli Wants You To Read & GIVEAWAY

I’m thrilled today with a 2 question interview from Newbery winner Jerry Spinelli! The first question brings me back to when I first met with with my middle daughter, then probably around nine-years-old. The second question I pose him is to give me his Top 10 Books he thinks everyone should read. I’m also giving away a copy of his latest book, The Warden’s Daughter. Learn more about the book and enter the giveaway at the bottom.

I remember meeting Jerry Spinelli at an author event in Wellesley many years ago with my tween daughter. The front row was entirely made of a group of young girls — maybe 5th grade — who were huge fans of Stargirl. They were desperate to know what happened to her beyond the books. Jerry was so gracious and lovely to give them a hint, and I overhead them talking in the parking lot afterwards, giddy with joy. They were having a “I Met a Rock Star Moment.”

His connection with his readers really struck me. Many authors are asked about endings that are not specified. The query is often parried away, and the young reader left hanging, though you can imagine how important it is — what a big deal it is — to the child that they made a parent drive them to an event just to pose their question.

I noticed through my tween daughter too, who met him, how easily he makes a connection with fans. I could tell she was  ready to adopt him as her grandfather, and ready to practically slide into his lap and make him read aloud to her.

Jerry Spinelli and my daughte

PickyKidPix looks very young here … I think she was in 4th grade but she had read at a few of Jerry Spinelli’s books already. 

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#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…