• Today I am on the Front Page of The Boston Globe

    Today I am on the front page of The Boston Globe for the past week of posts that I wrote on my microblog, I Love Newton, about the anti-Asian racism in the local high school musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie. School play’s stereotypes bring outcry and apology. “Millie” touches nerve in Newton by Ellen Ishkanian, Globe […]

  • 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 […]

  • Best Beginning Chapter Books for 2nd and 3rd Grade

    Best books for beginning readers from my library. This list is perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade.

  • How To: Create a Great Kids’ Book Club (Activity and Book Suggestions)

    Some ideas on how to set up a book club for your child with examples of successful book club meetings.

  • Top 10: Best Dragon Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

    The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog has a great post on dragons that preempted this post but I actually had been working on this for several weeks. There is something magical about dragons and I’m glad that some kids can keep the magic alive. I’ve gathered my favorite dragon books that range in age from picture books to young adult. What is your favorite dragon book? Please share!

  • Best Science Apps for Kids (ages 4-21)

    I am starting to buy into this idea of teaching and really connecting material through games and apps. I was sort of on board with this concept, but since playing around with The Elements (a Harry Potter version of the Periodic Table) that my brother-in-law turned me on to, I am now a believer as I saw, with my own eyes, how captivated my kids were with the Periodic Table, an otherwise dull chart.

  • Newbery Winners by Grade Appropriateness!

    Thank you to Hubpages for this information. There are additional book suggestions by grade if click here to see their post. I have added an asterisk to the books that I’ve read and loved (and two astericks for must reads!).

  • Best Picture Books That Teach Math Concepts

    Picture books can be a visual and fun way to introduce math concepts. I think it makes math less intimidating when it’s part of a story. For those kids who love math, it’s another way to eat it up!

  • Top 10: Best Beginning Chapter Book Series (ages 6-9)

    Dragons and aliens and dinosaurs, oh my! And for girls, there are interesting slightly mischieveous girls to meet as well as cousins who are really sweet. Short chapter book series can often have repetitive plot lines about nothing or language that is neither rich nor interesting. There is something special about each of these book series for the child AND the adult reading along.

how I got 55,000 followers, twitter tips, how to use twitter

Twitter Tips and how I got 55,000 followers

Last month, I went to a small blogger retreat for Multicultural Kids Blogs and part of the presentations were on using social media. MaryAnne from Mama Smiles taught us about Google +. Kim from The Educators’ Spin on It did a really helpful presentation on Pinterest. My contribution was on how to use Twitter.

Multicultural Kids Blog retreat

Read more…

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Science Competition for Middle School Students: $25,000 Prize

A dad friend encouraged me to sign my daughter up for an afterschool elementary school class called Wicked Cool Science. He was a high school science teacher and had a son and daughter of his own.

“If you don’t get your daughter’s interested in science before middle school,” he warned, “They will turn their backs on science permanently.”

That’s alarming. So I looked into this connection.

Many young students, particularly girls, see math and science as difficult, and don’t take any more classes than they have to, not realizing they are cutting themselves off from lucrative opportunities in college and careers.

“The relationship between confidence and interest is close,” says Fouad. “If they feel they can do it, it feeds their interest.”

From Science Daily Read more…

dear 16 year old me

Dear 16 Year Old Me

Dear 16 year old me,

Just a few quick things as I pop back in time.

Dear 16 Year Old Me, Pragmatic Mom, PragmaticMom

1) Swimming is not your sport

I know that you love this swim team. Your coach and teammates are amazingly supportive, kind and smart. They celebrate your personal best as enthusiastically as you do their blue ribbons.

It’s just that– you’re just not that fast.

You’ve learned to push yourself three hours a day in the pool even though you hate that first entry into a cold pool. And now you know your way around a weight room.

Learning to work hard for results is not a bad lesson for you. This will be your mantra from which success will come. Eventually. But that struggle to improve is what will drive you and that’s the part of the journey you will relish more than the final destination.

I think the biggest attraction for swimming was ditching the Nerd-dom label that plagued you in Junior High. Honestly, you will one day embrace your inner nerd. It will take you a few decades but it will serve you well.  Read more…

self published book gaveaway

Huge Self Published Kids Book GIVEAWAY and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Today, I am doing some serious Spring cleaning and I am giving away 6 packages of wonderful self published children’s books.

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter and please leave me a comment about which package you want. I’ll do my best to match up the packages to each winner.

Package 1:

book giveaway Read more…

Asian American Books for kids

My Favorite Asian American Books for Kids

I’m so sorry to be late for the Homeschool Blogging Carninal hosted by hosted by Lisa at The Squishable Baby and Keisha at Unschooling MommaI’ve been distracted by racism in a musical at my local high school that has hit a nerve and generated a lot of press including a front page article in The Boston Globe, 2 OpEd articles in The Boston Globe, an article across the pond at The Daily Telegraph and a slew of blog posts both by me and other bloggers. If you want to read them, they are all here.

This makes me realize that multicultural books for kids are, perhaps, the first step for breaking racist stereotypes and introducing diversity in a positive way into the lives of our children. Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Asian American children’s books. I hope you enjoy them with your children.

I chose a picture book, easy reader, easy chapter book, chapter book and a young adult novel that portray contemporary Asian Americans.  That’s 5 books. 5 is a lucky number in Chinese culture. 4 is bad because it signifies death. Read more…

ebayMarchofdimes

eBay Collections to help The March of Dimes

I’m glad to be participating in eBay’s collections to raise money for the March of Dimes. The goal is to celebrate the potential in all. Everyone is born to be something great, don’t you think?!

ebay collections march of dimesHelp eBay reach their goal of raising $25,000 for March of Dimes this month by helping to create 25,000 eBay collections. For every collection created, eBay will donate $1 to March of Dimes! Read more…

choosing books for advanced young readers, after school with smarty pants

Choosing Books for Advanced Young Readers

Please welcome my guest author, Natalie from After School with Smarty Pants. She has wonderful enrichment activities and life skills for advanced learners on her blog. Today, she covering how to find books for an advanced young reader which can be tricky because the content might be too advanced or inappropriate for them.

Who Is an Advanced Reader?

Every parent probably knows if they have an advanced reader. Here is my definition from my post on book recommendations for advanced readers:

  • Advanced readers don’t need reminders, rewards, or any other encouragement to read.
  • Started reading early or progressed very rapidly in their reading levels.
  • No longer interested in most books recommended for their age.
  • Choose reading over other activities, read to relax and chill out.
  • Not intimidated by the length of the book or by font size.
  • Can spend hours in the library.
  • Might have a passionate interest in something and look for every possible book on that subject.
  • Have good comprehension and usually test significantly higher than their age on reading and comprehension tests. Read more…
Doug Cushman skype author visit

Skype School Author Visit with Doug Cushman in Paris!

The Miracle of a Skype Author Visit! My son’s third grade teachers requested a school author visit from Doug Cushman. They teach a mystery writing unit and they use Doug’s mystery picture books to start off the unit.

Doug Cushman author illustrator, 2nd grade school author visit, Doug Cushman Skype author visit

A picture book mystery is perfect for breaking down the elements of a good mystery story:

  • leading and minor characters
  • setting that changes in order to create action and adventure
  • an intriguing plot with suspense and a clear beginning, middle and end
  • a problem to solve
  • a solution that is believeable Read more…
PickyKidPix cuts my hair, my daughter cuts my hair

My Daughter Cuts My Hair and Picture Book GIVEAWAY

I mentioned many times how my 11-year-old daughter, PickyKidPix, wants to learn to be a hair stylist in order to earn money in high school. What I didn’t realize was how sneaky and persistent she has been to learn.

In the beginning, she would invite her friends over for a playdate and let them watch TV so they would sit still while she styles their hair. Her friends would leave with elaborate braids á la Katniss. And, after she received flat irons and curling irons for birthday gifts, with straight and/or curly hair; the opposite of what they came in with. Read more…