• Bootstrap Marketing 101 for Authors

    I thought I would talk about branding, SEO and social media marketing for authors even though I am not an author, nor have ever marketed a book. So then, you might ask, why would I be qualified to talk about bootstrap marketing for anyone, let alone authors? Thanks for asking. When I was twenty years […]

  • 25 Diversity Authors & Illustrators Spotlighted!

    To kick off our Author and Illustrator interviews at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog, we interviewed Joseph Bruchac …  followed by Jacqueline Woodson! (and stay tuned for Margarita Engle and Cynthia Kadohata!) Coming in January — Multicultural Children’s Book Day Spotlight: Shining the Light on Inclusive Authors & Illustrators! From January 1st through the 25th, […]

  • Predicting 2015 Caldecott & Newbery

    I have a selfish reason for compiling this list. It’s my Christmas book list for my kids. It’s also because my kids won’t read (probably like yours!) unless they have a really good book and so I search and search and present, like a game show hostess, blog posts of books that I think my […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 Easy Readers & Early Chapter Books: Cybils 2015 Shortlist

Best Easy Readers & Early Chapter Books: Cybils 2015 Shortlist

I am thrilled to be judging the Cybils in the category of Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books but mum’s the word on my opionion of the short list until the winners are announced on February 14th (also International Book Giving Day!).

All I can say is that this is a great list for emerging readers and newly independent readers. I’ve read the entire list there is something great about every single book! Feel free to find at your local library!

Cybils 2015 Best Easy Readers

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Trades of Hope

Helping Women in Haiti Rebuild Their Lives

Please welcome my work friend Jeradina today. She is guest posting on a cause that is near and dear to heart: helping women in Haiti rebuild their lives through an organization called Trades of Hope.

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Monday, January 12th marks the 5th anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. When the disaster struck many of you felt empowered to help in some small way; you probably gave money, donated clothes, shoes etc. Although the country is rebuilding itself, there are still large areas in Haiti affected by abject poverty. There are many companies out there giving aid to the families that are still suffering from the effects of the earthquake.. But still poverty prevails.

Fortunately there are some organizations that help families build sustainable businesses. Trades of Hope is built upon helping women out of poverty. Read more…

Five Books to Get Your Young Gamer Reading

Five Books to Get Your Young Gamer Reading & GIVEAWAY!

My son and I LOVED the Max Finder by Liam O’Donnell graphic novel mystery series when he was in first and second grade. These short mysteries were HARD to figure out; sometimes the two of us would be right, sometimes we missed the mark entirely. But, Liam’s books worked beautifully to keep my son reading and wanting more.

Now, he has a new series that is honestly sheer genius! A chapter book series based on MINECRAFT! My son is a serious gamer — he actually went to Minecraft camp not once but twice! — and my husband and I work hard but futilely to keep his screen time down to two hours a day. Our policing job is going to get easier!

Please welcome my guest post author today, Liam O’Donnell! Read more…

Blue Birds Caroline Starr Rose

Roanoke Lost Colony Imagined in Blue Birds

I have been reading author Caroline Starr Rose’s blog for a few years. I really like her mix of children’s book reviews, quotes on reading, writing links and author interviews. As mom of two kids, a full-time writer AND blogger on social media, I don’t know how she does it all!

As an ex-social studies and English teacher, Caroline Starr Rose intuitively understands how to make history come alive for kids. If novels-in-verse seem like a stretch to get kids reading, I would hypothesize that they just need to give it a try with a few pages … novels-in-verse lure the reader in. I am a converted fan who was never comfortable reading poetry myself!

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kids reading, kids caught in the act of reading

Caught in the Act … of READING

Thank you to everyone who sent me photos of their kids caught reading. They are wonderful! As always, I will send you a children’s book for each photo. Please email me at pragmaticmomblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

This Family Circus cartoon is courtesy of Ann of Doodles and Jots who sent it to me by way of Instagram.

Family Circus cartoon of kids reading

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Top 10 YA Books and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Top 10 YA Books and Kid Lit Blog Hop

My friend Ginny sent me this list. We both have high school freshman girls and she must know that I’m always searching for books to present to Grasshopper and Sensei to keep her reading. Now that our girls are in high school, they no longer have assigned reading logs. While they get assigned books to read in English, their teachers do not require them to read a certain number of minutes a day like they did in elementary and middle school.

Thus, it is even harder to keep high schoolers reading as now they are truly reading for pleasure.

This is what my daughter tells me she likes:

  • Strong female character
  • No wannabe The Hunger Games though she LOVES The Hunger Games and Divergent series
  • Realistic fiction romance with a twist of magical realism (like The Wrap-Up List or Gorgeous)

So … I will continue to tempt her with books that will have to compete with her limited free time. This list is from the ALA. The only book that my daughter might read from this list is Eleanor & Park. My 10-year-old son will love The Eye of Minds next year.  Read more…

Bootstrap Marketing 101 for Authors

Bootstrap Marketing 101 for Authors

I thought I would talk about branding, SEO and social media marketing for authors even though I am not an author, nor have ever marketed a book. So then, you might ask, why would I be qualified to talk about bootstrap marketing for anyone, let alone authors?

Thanks for asking. When I was twenty years ago, I co-founded a business out of my college dorm room that has grown — twenty-seven years later — into a large enterprise staffing creatives around the world. But my marketing story starts with a book I found at a local bookstore called Guerella Marketing.

Using the ideas from this book, my partners and I tried out boot strap marketing ideas starting with [illegally] posting flyers with tear off tabs all over Harvard Square. A few years later, my partners and I went to business school (different ones) and our company hit the 12th spot on the Inc. 500 List for Fastest Growing Private Company. I majored in Entrepreneurial Marketing but I was really back in school to fill in gaps in knowledge that I needed such as accounting so that I could understand my company’s annual report. (And now that I have three kids with busy schedules, I really wish I had paid more attention in logistics.) Read more…

facing fear at 50, boxing and women

Facing Fear at Fifty

I grew up in a culture of fear. I’m not sure if it’s because my mother’s life turned upside down when she was forced to leave her home during WWII for simply being Japanese American and living in San Francisco or if it’s because she’s a tiny woman at 4 feet 11 inches. Or if it’s simply because she read the paper every day.

Let your faith  be bigger than your fears boxing girl

The Orange County regional news is full of violent crime and my mom would draw parallels and warn us, “Don’t ever use an A.T.M. machine at night or you’ll get robbed!” I was living in Boston at the time and Harvard Square at night is a hopping place. No matter. Just don’t use the A.T.M. at night. Check! Thanks mom!

Facing Fear at FiftyRead more…

My best post of 2014

Top 5 Posts of 2014 Countdown: #1

Thanks for your patience with our countdown! MaryAnne of MamaSmiles and I are counting down our Top 5 Posts of 2014 and we are down to our number one post!

My number one post for 2014 is …

10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade with 36,212 views.

I met Colby Sharp, co-founder of The Nerdy Book Club, last year at an author dinner for Anne Ursu in Boston and then again at The Nerdy Book Club meet up. He’s a teacher in rural Michigan where kids don’t own any books and he had moved grades to teach 3rd grade. My son was in third grade at the time, and we bonded over our love of perfect chapter books for third grade. As we listed our favorites, we noticed with delight that they were the same. Hence, this post was born!

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