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Top 10: Best Picture Books for Spring

Top 10: Best Picture Books for Spring

You wouldn’t guess that it’s spring here in Boston given the snow we’ve been getting in April! Still, I am dreaming of spring and getting my little garden going.

These are my favorite picture books for garden inspiration. These books demonstrate that gardens can transform an environment, bring neighbors closer, and even become a political touchpoint. Ideas for Earth Day include starting a compost pile, planting a tree, or even just germinate seeds.

 

What are your favorite spring picture books? Are you planting a garden this year of any size? Please share! Read more…

African-American Pioneering Female Musicians

African-American Female Musicians Picture Books

March is Women’s History Month so I’ve started off with a video of a musician that is new to me, Hazel Dorothy Scott, a jazz prodigy who was prominent during the 1930s and 1940s. I could not find a picture book biography on her (yet) but here’s hoping that someone will write out. In the meantime, below the video I’ve rounded up picture book biographies of other women who paved the way in music. Have I missed any? Please let me know and I’ll add! Thank you!

Read more…

5 Amazing Multicultural Novels in Verse and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

5 Amazing Multicultural Novels in Verse and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

It’s been such a great year for those who love both multicultural/diversity/inclusive books for kids AND novels in verse! I picked five amazing favorites that I’ve loved from this past year and hope that the popularity of these books will encourage more diversity books to be published!

What are your favorite novels in verse? Please share! Thanks!

Read more…

17 Great Books for Kids and Teens on the Arab World

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.

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Lately we’ve been reading about terrorist actions by Muslims in Europe and other places, events that have again raised anger and confusion. Are Muslims really committed to hostility toward other religions? Or do most Muslims want to find common ground and live together with non-Muslims, without fear or threats? Read more…

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 4th Grade

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 4th Grade

Fourth grade at my elementary school marks a really interesting immigration unit that introduced my kids to their first group project experience. They learned, the hard way, about freeloaders but the end result was a “Wax Museum” where each child played a wax statue that, when prompted by dropping in a fake coin in a bucket, recited a speech about life as a new immigrant. Each group chose a different country to emigrate from that included Poland, Ireland, Italy, China, Japan and more.  They also created a Wax Museum display bulletin board that talked about the immigrant experience from their country. What was most noticeable was how every, single group talked about the racism and prejudice they faced upon coming to America.

It seems that in fourth grade, kids are starting to really develop empathy skills so historical fiction about immigration or the mistreatment of dogs moves them deeply. I’ve included the books that my kids remember reading as part of a classroom assignment or as a read aloud in 4th grade and added a few of my favorites. My son just started 4th grade this year, so I will keep track of his classroom read alouds and will add them to this list all year.

Please share your ideas for 4th grade read alouds. Thank you! Read more…

10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 2nd Grade

10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 2nd Grade

I chose a collection of some of my favorite chapter books and picture books for second grade read alouds. Truth be told, I don’t really remember exactly what books my kids were read to in the classroom during 2nd grade. For some reason, it’s drawing a blank at our house.

Second grade at our elementary school is memorable for foreign country unit. The kids study China, Ghana and Mexico. I have the Red Envelope Crafts project (can also be used for Chinese New Year) that I presented for my son’s class, and the Mexican Crafts Party (can also be used for Cinco de Mayo). Read more…

Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College,

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 list!

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What are the life skills that you think kids need before leaving the nest? Do you remember struggling with any life skills while in college? Please share! Read more…

Getting Kids Reading 12 sure fire ways to get kids reading

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 had a bad year in first grade. She was a reluctant reader who hated the performance aspect of reading out loud. My second child who is academic preferred less “sitty” past times than reading. She never stops moving so it’s hard to pin her down to read. My son much prefers screens to anything else in life so it’s a challenge to get him to exchange a book for a screen.

Over the years, I have tried EVERYTHING to get my kids to love reading. And that might be the key to eventual success. There is no magic bullet but effort counts. And now, I’m happy to report that my oldest (Grasshopper and Sensei), now  in 8th grade, is a voracious reader. By 3rd grade we had turned the corner enough so that she started posting on her favorite chapter books. Read more…

third grade read aloud chapter books, books for third grade, chapter books third grade

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).

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Colby Sharp, one of The Nerdy Book Club founders, mentioned that he was teaching third grade this year, a move from years spent teaching fourth grade and I got very excited because I have a son in third grade! Quickly and not surprisingly, we started talking about perfect third grade read aloud books. And the weird thing is that my son’s teacher had read all three perfect third grade books that Colby mentioned! And in that exact order! Great minds think alike?!

  1. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  2. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  3. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate Read more…