• 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!).

  • 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.

  • Top 50: Best Multicultural Children’s Books

    Every summer I stress out about what books to get for my kids that they will like but are also exposing them — as only books can do — to the wide world all around them both past, present and future. This summer, we are going to take a trip around the world by reading these multi-cultural books. What is great about this list is that it covers all the ages of my kids: from preschool through elementary school. I will be sneaky and check out these books for them and leave them strewn about the house for them to examine when they are bored. I will keep you posted on what books my kids actually liked because that is a whole ‘nother list! See you at the library!

18 Wonderful Picture Books about the Arab Nation

18 Wonderful Picture Books about the Arab World

When a country is at war, it’s easy to get a distorted view of the “enemy”. The media also plays a role in showing a certain point of view meant to stir the populace into support of their government backing the war effort. But this kind of distortion trickles down to oversimplifying things to a black and white point of view. That never does justice to the true situation and is a hurdle for our kids to overcome in order to get a more balanced world view.

One way to demystify the Middle East as religious fanatics bent on destroying the free world is to let them see the many, many stories of the Arab people, both past and present. This collection of picture books about the Arab nation attempts to gather up these stories so please help me out by suggesting you favorites! If we all teach our children that Muslim families are no different from ours, this might pave the way for a generation that can find a way to figure out world peace. Thank you!

Read more…

Father's Day Humor & GIVEAWAY

Father’s Day Humor & #GIVEAWAYS!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, grandfathers and godfathers out there! And especially to my husband to whom these cartoons are dedicated to that I found on Pinterest. No schmaltzy memes for him. He likes humor!

father's day print

This is a print you can buy. Read more…

Percy Jackson Boxed Set GIVEAWAY #ReadRiordan

Percy Jackson GIVEAWAY #ReadRiordan

Percy Jackson pack

Can you  believe it’s the 10th Anniversary of the Percy Jackson series? I’m thrilled to be part of this celebration and I’ll be posting all year and doing giveaways as part of the #ReadRiordan fan club.

CELEBRATE PERCY’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY with The Lightning Thief, the book that started the internationally best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

THE LIGHTNING THIEF has sold millions of copies worldwide, appears on school reading lists nationwide, and inspired a major motion picture. Accolades include:

  • Included in Time Magazine’s 2014 List of 100 best Young-Adult Books of All Times
  • A New York Times Notable Book of 20015
  • A Child Magazine Best Book of the Year
  • A School Library Journal Best Book of 2005
  • More than 6 year on the New York Times Best Sellers List (and counting!)

Read more…

Connecting Art and Science with Hokusai's The Great Wave

Connecting Art and Science with Hokusai’s The Great Wave

It’s amazing how a single piece of art can have a ripple effect, inspiring others all around the world and for many generations. Hokusai’s iconic blockprint The Great Wave is one of the best recognized works of Japanese art in the world.

The Great Wave by Hokusai, Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Here are some of the spin offs from Hokusai’s The Great Wave

Couchabunga by John Cedarquist based on The Great Wave by Hokusai Read more…

#HorizonSnacks Bento for #CuriousKids

Bento Box Snacks for Volleyball Tournaments

Northeast Junior Volleyball Championships

This is the view from my hotel. It was mostly urban blight except for this garden oasis.

We spend a lot of time at kids’ sports games. This past three-day weekend was spent at Grasshopper and Sensei’s first big volleyball tournament, the New England Youth Volleyball Championships in Hartford, Connecticut. She stayed in a rooming group with her teammates and I had a room (for one) to myself. But we needed to bring food for the weekend — breakfast, lunch and snacks — with no refrigeration.

Northeast Junior Volleyball Championships Read more…

Bluebirds of Happiness KidLit & Kid Lit Blog Hop

Bluebirds of Happiness KidLit GIVEAWAY & Kid Lit Blog Hop

What is it about bluebirds that make us happy? Their association with happiness, prosperity, good health, and renewal of spring dates back thousands of years and across many cultures.

my son found a bluebird egg hatched out

My son found this shell outside his guitar teacher’s house. It looks like a successful hatching!

The Shang Dynasty in China, 1766-1122 BC, associates the bluebird with knowledge and enlightenment. “In Native American mythology, some tribes consider the bluebird a spirit in animal form that symbolizes the dawn of a new day; others associate the friendly bird with the sun. The Iroquois believe that the bluebird is a harbinger of spring that fights off the evil demigod of winter, Tawiscaron.” from LiveHappy

Eastern Bluebird Read more…

16 Great Diversity Graphic Novels for Kids and Teens

16 Great Diversity Graphic Novels for Kids and Teens

Graphic novels are my secret weapon to get any kid reading. My recent discovery is that there are also multicultural, diversity and inclusive graphic novels that bring kids into different perspectives like what it’s like to have hearing loss or go through a civil war. Graphic novels also let us experience new worlds, both present, past and future. And it’s the illustrations that tell part of the story with a low word count. It’s actually this inferencing … getting the story from both the words and the pictures that make graphic novels a valuable reading comprehension tool for learning.

So there you have it. Kids love to read graphic novels. It’s fun for them. They don’t realize how much they are learning by reading the story from both the images and words, especially the reluctant readers. And they can get a wealth of experiences by reading multicultural/diversity/inclusive stories.

I’m not telling kids about the educational benefits. You shouldn’t either. Shh!!! Let’s just keep them in front of our kids! Read more…

signed copy of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions

The Family Dinner with Dr. Michele Borba & GIVEAWAY

Parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba is helping to launch Dixie’s upcoming Dark for Dinner movement, which encourages families to be more present during dinner by challenging them to turn off cell phones, televisions, computers and other electronics and “go dark” for meals together. The Dark for Dinner movement will officially begin on Sunday, June 14.

The Family Dinner & Dr. Michele Borba

Studies have shown that engaging in sit-down family meals can  provide children with better nutritional intake and prevents high-risk behavior, such as substance use, antisocial behaviors, violence and school problems. Read more…

Have You Considered Going Solar? NEST Giveaway!

Have You Considered Going Solar? NEST Giveaway!

Have you considered going solar? I have. Solar seems like a good way to go … for potential energy savings, for reliable electricity (we frequently lose power), but especially for the environment. But where to start? I think that’s the hard part!

Sunrun Solar, Have You Considered Going Solar?

Commonly Asked Questions About Going Solar

Sunrun solarm Have You Considered Going Solar?Read more…