• Top 10 Must Read Banned Books for Kids

    Censorship makes me angry (but many things do) and it tends to make me go on the offensive. Instead of my diatribe, I found some words of wisdom by authors on how to handle censorship. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Most of the censorship I see is fear-driven. I […]

  • Top 10 Hispanic American Heritage Books For Kids

    I was confused on the nomenclature of Hispanic American versus Latino American so I looked it up: Hispanic: a person of Latin American or Iberian ancestry, fluent in Spanish. It is primarily used along the Eastern seaboard, and favored by those of Caribbean and South American ancestry or origin.  English or Spanish can be their […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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.

  • 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!).

Native American Heritage Month Books for Kids

Books for Kids to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

This we know; the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Chief Seattle’s Thoughts

Chief Seattle's Thoughts

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, I rounded up some newly published books that speak to the speech made by Chief Seattle: Read more…

Top 10: Afraid of the Dark Picture Books

Top 10: Afraid of the Dark Picture Books

Nyctophobia, or fear of the dark, is one of the most common phobias in children.

With the time change for fall back, come the dark, now earlier than ever. I don’t like it when it gets dark where I live at 4:30 at night either! I hope these picture books help with fear of the dark. I love how there are so make different and original takes on the dark and how to make it less scary for kids in these ten picture books. Which ones are your favorites? Let’s add them to the list! Thank you!

Top 10: Scared of the Dark Books for Kids

10. There’s A Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer

My favorite book about being scared of the dark is this picture book, read aloud by Billy Crystal. It’s perfection! [picture book, ages 2 and up]

Read more…

Easiest DIY Gift Ideas Ever!

Easiest DIY Gift Ideas Ever!

Today, Jeanette and I are making gifts! It’s the perfect combination of frugality and thoughtfulness as it says, “I made this for YOU!”

My gift ideas below are for dogs with homemade Peanut Butter Banana Dog Biscuits. I created this recipe to use up leftover “about to go bad” ingredients. My dog seems to love them too!

peanut butter banana dog biscuit recipe

I also made a Lemon Coconut Sugar Body Scrub that my middle daughter advised me on. She watches a ton of YouTube beauty bloggers so she had strong opinions on salt versus sugar scrubs and coconut oil versus olive oil. I’m gifting these to my mom friends but my daughters would love it too! Read more…

Arckit STEM architect toy for kids

ARCKIT: Architecture STEM Toy for Kids

ARCKIT: Architecture Design Toy for Kids


ARCKIT is a freeform model making system that does not require glue, yet it lets you design, build and modify these really cool modern houses. They simply snap together!

ArckitThis would be a wonderful building toy for a budding architect or just any kid that likes to build in 3 dimensions. There are finish details that you can choose such as wood flooring, terracotta tiles, stone walls and shingle aluminium to create your own vision.


My Son and Friends Build an ARCKIT

I asked my newly 11-year-old son if he wanted to build an ARCKIT and we looked at the designs together. His answer was a resounding, “YES! They are cool!” ARCKIT is recommended for kids ages 12 and up but younger kids with good fine motor and patience would enjoy this building kit too.
ArcKit: Architecture Design Toy for KidsRead more…

Meet Our Co-Hosts for Multicultural Children's Book Day 2016!

Meet Our Co-Hosts for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2016!

As with any event, success is measured by the strength and effectiveness of the team. At MCCBD Headquarters we are happy to report that we do indeed have a very strong team!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day is thankful for its CoHosts. Our CoHosts are a group of select powerhouse bloggers who share the same diversity in children’s literature passions and beliefs. They also assist in extending the reach and spreading the word of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. These 11 blogs will also be host to the wildly-popular book review/blog post link-up the week of 1/27/16. We would appreciate if you could take a few minutes and visit each of these excellent blogs. These women were selected by the MCCBD team because of their true dedication to supporting diversity in children’s literature.
cohost Read more…


KitLit TV Winners!

Winners – Big Multicultural Back to School Library Book Giveaway

In September KidLit TV launched our first ever Big Multicultural Back to School Library Book Giveaway! We partnered with Pragmatic Mom, Jump into a Book, Franticmommy and Multicultural Children’s Book Day, to give parents, teachers, and librarians a chance to win a multicultural book bundle for their school library. The results are in!

KidLit TV Multicultural Giveaway

Congratulations to the winners of our very first Big Multicultural Back to School Library Book Giveaway! KidLit TV will be shipping off books to the libraries below, in the name of each winner.

kidlittvwinner Read more…

Horizon Oraganic Snack Grahams healthy school party fruit and dip snack

Classroom Party Snack Idea #HorizonSnacks

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

Horizon Organic Snack Grahams, fruit and dip.

Horizon Oraganic Snack Grahams healthy school party fruit and dip snack

Use Horizon Organic Vanilla Yogurt to make a fruit dip. It could not be easier! Combine:

  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Read more…

Giving Back #ComfortsFromHome

Giving Back #ComfortsFromHome

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marie Callender’s. The opinions and text are all mine.

With the cold weather around the corner, I’m starting to think about changing our dinner menu to stews and soups. It’s not just comfort food; it’s also the ultimate convenience food when you have a brood that gets home at all different times from practices, starving!

donations instead of birthday gifts

The change of seasons also has me thinking about the upcoming holiday season and ways to give back. Last October, my son and his friend did a joint birthday party. In lieu of gifts, asked for donations to a local dog shelter that rescues dogs from kill shelters in the South. When the boys delivered the dog toys and collars and played with the dogs, I think it was the best present anyone could have given them.

donations instead of birthday gifts Read more…

Hoover Cordless 2-In-1 Stick and Handheld Vacuum Rocks!

Hoover Cordless 2-In-1 Stick and Handheld Vacuum Rocks!

My friend Lydia’s husband and Grasshopper and Sensei‘s art teacher’s husband are both Industrial Designers who have worked on vacuum products. Turns out that they have worked together too!  What a small world!

Industrial design is a process of design applied to products that are to be manufactured through techniques of mass production.

When I saw Lydia’s husband last week at a dinner party, I asked him what does it take to design a really good vacuum? An industrial designer is an interesting job; it’s part designer, part sculptor and part mechanical engineer. Industrial designers design a wide range of products from cars to package design to consumer products like coffee machines, vacuums, blenders and space heaters.
Hoover Cordless 2-In-1 Stick and Handheld Vacuum Rocks!

What does it take to design a great vacuum? Industrial designers work with marketing and market researchers to find out what consumers want and then they try to deliver. What do I want? It’s pretty simple because I hate vacuuming more than any other cleaning job in the world:

  • I want a cordless vacuum because I am forever running over the cord or pulling it out of electrical socket, both actions being very bad for my vacuum.
  • I want a vacuum that can pick up the massive amount of Golden Retriever dog fur that my dog contributes to our household without causing my vacuum cardiac arrest.
  • I still need a portable, handheld vacuum for quick pick up like when my kids spill cereal all over the floor.
  • I want my vacuum to live a good, long and productive life.
  • I don’t want my vacuum to be heavy because I need to carry it up and down stairs and even vacuum the stairs while I’m at it!

Read more…