• 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!

happy mother's day cartoons

Happy Mother’s Day Humor & 2 Giveaways!

I found these funny Mother’s Day cartoons on Pinterest and Facebook. They made me laugh. I hope you are having a great Mother’s Day today too! I also have two awesome giveaways below. The first is an adorable picture book called Mommies Little Wordlings. The second is an awesome set of gift certificates worth $70 to give you a night off courtesy of  Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus!

Happy Mother's Day Humor

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Books for Kids about Personal Space

Personal Space Picture Book of the Day

I’m grateful to the participants at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter party who suggested book topics that they were having trouble finding. One such topic was about personal space. When I mentioned it to my mom friends, they laughed because our friend Penny gets very uncomfortable when our boxing trainer comes in too close. And that’s the thing about personal space; it’s the space between you and a person that keeps you feeling safe. I’m sure we are hardwired from the time of living in caves to keep a certain distance for the sake of safety.

For kids who don’t have a sense of personal space and boundaries, I found three books (just three — there are not many on this topic!) to introduce this topic. Personal space also segues into safety for children whether it’s the social-emotional trauma of moving or regarding inappropriate touch. I have books to cover all of this.

How about you? Do you have a funny personal space or boundary story? Please share! Read more…

Feeding Kids' Imaginations with Food as Art

Feeding Kids’ Imaginations with Food as Art

I was never the mom to make food art though I admire it greatly. I’m always scrambling to figure out what to feed my picky kids and the added pressure of food as entertainment is beyond me.

radish art in Italy

Food as art came to us by way of a radish in Italy. But it turns out that food as art has a long and distinguished history. Giuseppe Arcimboldo was one such master artist to play with food.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo food as art Read more…

Five Amazing Diversity Read Aloud Books for All Ages

Five Amazing Diversity Read Aloud Books for All Ages & Kid Lit Blog Hop

It was such a challenge to entertain all three of my kids with just one book when they were smaller given their age differences. When my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, was in first grade, age 6 with younger siblings clocking in at 4 and 2, I read them all piles of picture books. That worked really well in terms of content, but we could read 10 picture books in one sitting so I was going to the library three times a week, searching for the “good books.”

Another approach which I wish I had thought of is to read a gentle chapter book to all. I compiled a separate list for girls and boys, but, upon reflection, wanted a list to share of diversity/multicultural/inclusive chapter books that would also work for kids ages 6 and up. The plot must be riveting but the action not too scary or confusing. Read more…

Reluctant Reader Book List & GIVEAWAY

Say It Ain’t So: My Child Is a Reluctant Reader & GIVEAWAY

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Robin Newman, who confesses that she has a child who, gasp!, is a reluctant reader! Honestly, I feel like most kids are reluctant readers these days. There is simply too much temptation by way of screens coupled with very busy schedules such that kids don’t have time to be bored. Not like when I was a kid!

Read on to learn how Robin tempts her son into reading.

—————–

I am the parent of an eight-year old boy who is a reluctant reader. There, I said it. I never thought this could happen. I’m a writer. A writer of children’s books, no less! I eat, sleep, and dream about books. There are books in every nook and cranny of my home. My husband and I read to and with my son all of the time. Books are an ever-present constant in our lives. Yet, if we weren’t prodding my son to read, would he pick up a book on his own? Probably not. So, how do I get him more interested in reading? This is the question. Read more…

10 Amazing Multicultural Picture Books About Helping Others

10 Amazing Multicultural Picture Books About Helping Others

I think kids are naturally compassionate and it only takes a single story or book to motivate them to help out in someway. But can a child truly make a difference? I’m hoping these books will help demonstrate that, like a ripple effect, a small act of kindness, can make a big difference.

I didn’t set out to find books centered around bicycles but there are a few here that demonstrate how such a simple means of transportation can change lives. In fact, it’s this idea of how small things (and single ideas) can change lives that inspired this list.

What books for kids inspire you and your kids to change the world? Please share!

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Being Creative 15 Minutes a Day (no matter what)

Being Creative 15 Minutes a Day (no matter what)

I wanted to review this book thinking Grasshopper and Sensei would like it, but instead I found it was perfect for me. I used to take a lot of art classes before I had kids. And while I have tried to paint from time to time, even managing to complete a hand painted set of plates before PickyKidPix was born, it never seemed to be the right time to make art. Either my workspace needed to be cleared off for a meal — I used the dining room table for my art — or I didn’t have a chunk of uninterrupted time, or inspiration, or the right materials …

Art Before Breakfast is a zippy, inspiration with the conviction that we all just need 15 minutes before breakfast to bring out the artist within us all. I am not a morning person, so I’d rather sleep the extra 15 minutes but I applied the principle and found 15 minutes in my day — sometimes less, sometimes more — to be creative. And I’m really glad I did.

Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory

Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory Read more…

Read Remotely with Relatives: HomeTeam App

Read Remotely with Relatives: HomeTeam App(TM)

My husband’s and my immediate family are all on the other coast in California. While we all do fly back and forth to visit, it is a challenge to stay connected. We tried different things over the years, all with disastrous results:

Christmas fire

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Recycle Clothes and Help Schools #passthebag

#PasstheBag: Recycle Clothes and Help Schools

April is a time of new beginnings for us. Spring is finally in the air and Earth Day helps us to remember to take care of our environment. It does create more work; I get an itch to clean the house and this is the first year I’ll have a real vegetable garden. But one idea reverberates inside me:
all you need Read more…