30 Days of Ramadan

30 Days of Ramadan: Understanding Our Friends #30DaysRamadan

Join us for a special month of celebration at Multicultural Children’s Book Day where we will be focusing on the Muslim holiday of Ramadan June 5th-July 5th 2016 as a way to bring awareness and understanding about our Muslim neighbors via the pages of children’s literature.

30 Days of Ramadan: Understanding Our Friends is a celebration of children’s literature which includes characters and storylines that celebrate being Muslim. Books profiled will include topics like Muslims and the religion of Islam, books which specifically look at the Ramadan holiday and/or the authors that are Muslim. Read more…

Kid Lit Blog Hop Now MONTHLY!

Kid Lit Blog Hop

It’s Summer time! We want to welcome you to the June 2016  Kid Lit Blog Hop. This exciting, monthly hop, is where we develop an engaged group of people who love everything that has to do with children’s literature. Everyone is welcome to join us: bloggers, authors, publicist, and publishers!

Kid Lit Blog Hop Now MONTHLY!

Simply make a post related to Children’s literature and add it to the linky. (Please make sure to add your direct post only) If you are an author, feel free just to link to your blog. Read more…

Personal Finance: Summer Learning Fun for Kids

Personal Finance: Summer Learning Fun for Kids

This post is sponsored by T. Rowe Price and Scholastic. The ideas and opinions are my own.

I am so happy to be joining Scholastic and T. Rowe Price to help parents teach their kids personal finance. I noticed from my kids that each came forth into the world with an innate sense of money.

My oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, is an artist, and I’ve worked with her on how to earn money using her talent. She sells hand painted greeting cards, and is thinking about expanding her business by printing T-shirts. Her inclination towards money is:

  • Spend it if you have it (thus she needs reinforcement to save).
  • Art supplies are more important than food (thus she needs to work on her choices).

Grasshopper and Sensei hand painted greeting card business Read more…

Science Fiction for Ages 8 and Up

Riveting Science Fiction for 3rd-7th Grade Boys AND Girls

Science fiction: fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.

A reader asked me for Science Fiction books for 5th grade. I have a 5th grade son which gives me pause to give him Sci Fi that is too scary or too high for him. But there is also some confusion as to what is included in Sci Fi in my head. How does Dystopian fit in? Is it a sub-genre of Sci Fi or a different genre? Is there overlap?

The best answer I found says:

Dystopian novels are those set in a world that’s basically the opposite of a utopia. A world that’s bad, often with a tyrannical or otherwise oppressive government.

Works of science fiction involve scientific technology that’s most often invented for the work or imagined to have evolved from existing stuff, but based on real principles. They’re usually futuristic and often involve space – travel, other planets, etc.

What about time travel? Is time travel science fiction? What if it’s set in our current realistic world?

Simply, Time Travel Science Fiction are stories in which traveling to the past or future is possible. Time travel is a natural complement to space travel and so it is a frequent occurrence in Sci Fi stories. from Best Science Fiction Books

In sorting out lists that I researched, I tried to focus on books that I would hand my 5th grader that fall firmly in Science Fiction territory. The book most likely to win him over to Sci Fi? The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. This is a hilarious and wildly creative take on alien abduction and invasion as told by our heroine, 11-year-old Tip.

What other great Sci Fi books for kids am I missing? Thanks for your suggestions!

Read more…

Top 10 Bilingual Spanish Picture Books

Top 10 Bilingual Spanish Picture Books & GIVEAWAY

Please welcome illustrator Wendy Martin today with her Top 10 favorite Spanish bilingual picture books! I’m especially excited about bilingual Spanish picture books as a way to learn Spanish. This works equally well for kids and teens who are taking Spanish at school! I have another bilingual Spanish picture book list as well, if you are looking for more titles.

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The Story Circle by Diane Gonzales Bertrand, illustrated by Wendy Martin

The Story Circle is a book about how some elementary school children cope when a terrible flood ruins all their storybooks. During circle time, their wise teacher tells them they can have fun without books by making up their own stories. She starts off with one of her own, which excites all the children into shouting out theirs. She then helps them to write the stories down and then to add pictures to the words, creating new books to put on the empty shelves in the classroom. [bilingual picture book, ages 2 and up]

Top 10 Bilingual Picture Books & GIVEAWAY Read more…

3 Fun Picture Books for Father's Day

3 Fun Picture Books for Father’s Day & GIVEAWAY

For Father’s Day a few years back, my husband recommended his favorite golf books, not once but twice. He played golf in college for University of Hawaii and is an avid collector of golf stuff: Scotty Cameron putters, golf books, and other very specific items that I can’t keep track of.

This Father’s Day, we are getting him a golf bag with wheels for exercise on the golf course. Naturally, he had a very specific bag in mind. He sent me a link of what he wanted.

For past Father’s Days, my husband likes to do a family outing picking strawberries because the golf course is too crowded on a Sunday for a golf outing. It’s a fun family tradition. Our other (new) tradition is to make Flipagram videos for each other to celebrate holidays.

What does your family like to do to celebrate for Father’s Day? Read more…

Penny & Jelly giveaway

Penny & Jelly: 3 Picture Book GIVEAWAY!

I’m celebrating Maria Gianferrari’s new sequel to Penny and Jelly today by doing a three picture book giveaway! Penny and Jelly Slumber Under the Stars celebrates the pleasure of the great outdoors in the company of our favorite animal friends..

We have a fair amount of light pollution where I live, but sometimes on vacation when we can look up at the sky and see the stars and moon, we marvel at what we can see. My kids learned about the phases of the moon in 4th grade where they used Oreo cookies to recreate the moon phases. We read about the moon in picture books too. And we watched the Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse in Boston. The skies are amazing, aren’t they?

moon view by Niko Grigorieff

Image of moon view by Niko Grigorieff Read more…

Summer Reading Programs & Free Books for Kids

Summer Reading Programs & Free Books for Kids

I’ve rounded up FREE literacy resources for parents to get their kids reading. First, I found summer reading programs that your kids can enter to win prizes including free books. Next, I searched for free books — the good kind — and weeded out the weird sites with books that I’ve never heard of. Finally, I found fun literacy activities like book trailers, a site to make your own story book, and a contest to shoot your own 90 second Newbery book movie.

Happy reading this summer! What else do you need to get your kids reading?

p.s. Photos featured are from my Caught in the Act of Reading program. Parents sent me their photos of kids caught reading and I sent them a book. I will continue this program until I run out of books. Just email me your photos at PragmaticMomBlog gmail and I’ll send you a book (1 per family).

kids reading

Summer Reading Programs

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge for kids, educator and parents. Kids:

  • Read & log minutes all summer
  • Unlock stories & earn rewards
  • Enter for a chance to win Klutz books!

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Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Triathlon. The Barnes and Noble summer reading program for kids gives kids a free book when they read 8 books over the summer. The choices of books are: Read more…

Six Ways to Cultivate a Charitable Spirit in Kids

Six Ways to Cultivate a Charitable Spirit in Kids

Dr. Michele Borba has a new book out tomorrow and I’m thrilled she’s here today with ideas of how to get your spread kindness. I have some ideas for Random Acts of Kindness and a DIY Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar as well.

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Kaila is not yet four, but the San Diego preschooler already has the makings of an empathetic children. When I banged my toe at a party, the three- year-old was the first to my side. I watched her size things up, look carefully at my “injury,” and then empathize. Her face switched from inquisitiveness to concern, and then she looked up with the biggest eyes, and said, “I sorry ’bout your toe. You need Band-Aid for your owie? I help you.”

Kaila may have missed a few words, but her message displayed a charitable spirit even at a young age. And it was because her parents were raising her to care. Research contends that though our kids are hard-wired to empathize and care about others, the traits of humanness must be nurtured. And the best ways to do so are always spontaneous and don’t cost a dime. Here are six science-backed tips to cultivate children’s hearts from my latest book, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed In Our All-About-Me World.

Read more…