Archive for June, 2011

Best vintage easy readers, best early readers

Top 10: Best Old Fashioned Easy Readers

While not all these books are from when I was young, they all have an old fashioned, innocent feel.  In fact, my number one pick, Ling and Ting:  Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin reminds me so much of my favorite Little Bear early chapter book series in that it has a tight story line that is both silly and sweet.  Easy readers are a rite of passage for both kids and parents.  I remember searching for easy readers that were not mind numbingly boring as both parent and child are reading together during this period of literacy.

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Kids Caught in the Act … of READING!

Kids Caught Reading!

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos. I love seeing kids caught in the act of reading and hope that it inspires you to keep your kids reading this summer! I will be posting a slew of reading lists for anyone who needs inspiration while at the library. Thank you again everyone for your support for this feature! I can’t do it without you! What are your reading strategies for your kids to keep them reading? Please share! Read more…

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Humor for Moms: The Next Survivor Series

Six married men on an island with 1 car and 3 kids for 6 weeks

THE NEXT SURVIVOR SERIES

Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.

Each kid will play two sports and take either music or dance classes.

There is no fast food. Read more…

Best Books for Tweens by Middle School Boy

Book Reviews by Middle School Boy

Capability:Mom gave me her summer camp newsletter because there is a boy there who all the kids go to when they need a good chapter book recommendation.  The kids think he is a kind of genius boy wonder that knows pretty much everything on the planet.  I believe he is in middle school.  He was kind enough to write up his chapter book recommendations for the newsletter and I have retyped it for you.  I love peer-to-peer book recommendations.  Who better to know what you will like than a kid your age??! Read more…

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Top 5: Maurice Sendak Picture Books

Celebrating Maurice Sendak on His Birthday!

Happy birthday to Maurice Sendak today, beloved author and Caldecott winning illustrator. To be honest, I am not sure why I remembered that today is Maurice Sendak’s birthday. I am normally bad at remembering most people’s birthdays, but particularly bad at authors (note how I keep forgetting Dr. Seuss’!). Thankfully, I read about his birthday somewhere and stuck in a blog place holder. He is one of our favorite picture book authors and I noticed that both my girls and little boy love it — a tough feat to pull off! Read more…

best books for kids by teachers

Top 100: Best Books for Kids by Teachers (for ages 2-18)

Teachers Pick Best Books for Kids

This list, created in 1999 by The National Education Association, is the “All Time Greatest Hits” of children’s literature created by teachers.  There is also a Top 100  list created by children and strangely, many of the books are the same!  The original list is 1-100 with all the books in numerical order by votes but I have broken out the list by category types:  Picture Books, All Ages, Chapter Books (grades 3-6) and Young Adult.  Read more…

Our Family’s Favorite Movie: The Sound of Music

Favorite Family Movies

I wanted to get more active on BlogFrog so when they asked me if I wanted to participate in a conversation with RedBox, I said yes. The topic of the conversation is what is your family’s favorite movie and how many times have you watched it?! Read more…

best Chinese American books for kids

Top 10: Chinese American Children’s Books (ages 2-14)

The Chinese immigrant experience is one with a long history in America resulting in becoming the largest Asian population in America today.  There is a great one-page overview on Chinese immigration that details this history.  Interestingly, this article says that the earliest Chinese immigrants during the 1700’s were well received and became wealthy but attitudes changes negatively during the mid-1800’s when less skilled Chinese “Coolies” came during the gold rush.

As I think about the Chinese immigrant experience — my father immigrated from China to pursue a Ph.D program at U.C.L.A. a few years before the Communist Revolution — my own experience is probably similar to most second generation immigrants in the quest to balance American culture while honoring an Asian past.  Of course, my background is dissimilar to most Chinese immigrant stories as my mother is of Japanese descent and 2nd generation at that.  And did I mention that I married a Korean?

And so each of us carries an immigrant story that is unique.  I chose these books because there was something special about each of them that helps me to connect to my Chinese roots and I hope that you enjoy them to, even if your ancestry isn’t Asian.

For my own children, a “mixed-plate” to quote a Hawaiian term,  they are 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Asian.  And at 1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Japanese and 1/2 Korean, they are an unusual mix in that these three countries have traditionally hated each other for centuries.  And so in reading these stories, they may or may not relate to any of these stories, but I hope that it will help them to honor and take pride in their ancestry even if it’s as varied as a patchwork quilt.

Chinese American Books for Kids Honorable Mention

Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood

Augusta Scattergood tackles a little known subject: that Asian Americans were also subject to Jim Crow laws in the South. In this chapter book, she gently weaves together a story of Azalea, a rising fifth grader sent to live her grandmother in Arkansas that she’s never met before. Grandma Clark is a woman with a towering presence; she encourages Azalea to make friends with Billy Wong who is also new to their small town. He’s living with his Great Uncle and Aunt so that he can attend a previously all white school and works in their small grocery store. There’s also the bully, Willis, and Scattergood shows us that things are not black and white; behind his prejudice are family responsibilities heavy for a young boy to bear. Grandma Clark’s plan for a more tolerant community is simple; she utilizes Garden Helpers to help out while she’s recuperating, thus forcing everyone to work together. Azalea discovers that she’s more similar to her grandmother than she realized, and their relationship, like hers with Billy Wong, strengthens from the adversity of facing racism around them. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Mama and Papa Have a Store by Amelia Lau Carling

I love this story about a Chinese family that immigrated to Guatemala City and owns a store. Depicting a typical day in the life of family as described by the youngest, it’s an fun way to learn about the people and culture of Guatemala and the gentle rhythm of their lives. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Math Anxiety: Causes and What To Do

Math Anxiety Causes and Strategies for Coping

I think that math anxiety can be both a learned behavior and/or a genetic tendency. My father was a math professor. In my world, this means that anytime can be pop quiz time. He used to create these math problem worksheets particularly during the summer and if I wasn’t able to solve the problem in, like, two seconds, he would get very agitated. It wasn’t my fault because the math problems would different from what I was learning at school but the net result, I noticed later in life, was that I’d get anxiety during science or math tests particularly in college. If I didn’t have an idea of how to solve the problem immediately, I would spin into a panic mode. Read more…