Archive for January, 2013

International Book Giving Day, Valentine's Day and Book Giving Day

International Book Giving Day Coming Up!

International Book Giving Day is also Valentine’s Day

I joined some great children’s book Google Plus Communities recently and I got the heads up about International Book Giving Day which, incidentally, falls on Valentine’s Day. I wanted to get the word out since I know I will need a few weeks to organize my children’s books to find a pile to donate.

Delightful Children’s Books was the first blogger to alert me. She has a wonderful children’s book blog that I read religiously. She says:

International Book Giving Day is a 100% volunteer initiative aimed at increasing children’s access to and enthusiasm for books. We are inviting individuals to 1) give a book to a friend or family member, 2) leave a book in a waiting room for children to read, or 3) donate a gently used book to a local library, hospital or shelter or to an organization that distributes used books to children in need. You are also welcome to organize a book drive, fundraiser, volunteer event, book swap, story time session, etc. See! Read more…

Newbery Medal Winners Announced Soon!

Newbery Medal, Caldecott Medal and More!

On January 26th, the Newbery winner for 2013 will be announced along with a slew of other children’s and Young Adult awards in a star-studded night capped by a speech by the Newbery winner. Think Oscars but for children’s books!

caldecott medal, newbery medal, caldecott award, coretta scott king award newbery award winners, caldecott winners


The 2013 winners are all here!

If you’ve wondered what all the awards to be announced are for, here’s the run down:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults.

Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults.

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States.

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.

YALSA Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.

Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States. Read more…

MLK books, MLK day books for kids, Martin Luther King Jr books for kids, books to celebrate MLK

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. with 3 Children’s Books

MLK Day and His Legacy told through Children’s Books

It wasn’t just African-Americans who benefited by the work of Martin Luther King, Junior, but all people of color. If it had not been for Dr. King, I would have never had gotten into Harvard as an undergraduate. Ivy League colleges only let in Asian Americans during the 1970s after the issue went to the Supreme Court.

My mother, who was forced to relocate during WWII, knew first hand the prejudice that all people of color faced in America. Now, two generations later, I’m not sure if my kids — Chinese, Japanese and Korean — will ever feel the sting of Anti-Asian-American prejudice. I hope not though they will no doubt face it when they apply to college.

Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford find in their study of selective colleges that Asian-Americans must score 140 points higher on average than whites on the math and verbal portions of the SAT in order to have the same chances of admission.

What the anti-Asian quotas [in college admissions] amount to is affirmative action for white people and that, with its strong stench of white supremacy and entrenched privilege, is noxious. from The Washington Monthly
Read more…

sandy hook, newtown CT, reactions to Sandy Hook, what to do to help Sandy Hook victims

Reacting to Sandy Hook Tragedy

Sandy Hook in Newtown and What’s Next

As a parent, I found the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School terrifying. I suppose the natural reaction after processing this is to 1) realize that it could happen anywhere including my school and 2) try to figure out a way to prevent it. And there in lies the rub. Because you can’t prevent this. Sandy Hook Elementary School had locked doors and a metal detector system.

My school district is buzzing around new procedures including locked doors. It’s going to be a huge inconvenience to the school’s front desk administration and parents who need to get their kids for medical appointments. And it’s not going to stop someone with the firepower to blow through the door (which is not bullet proof).

Last week, my kids’ elementary school had a “lock down.” There is a thief that has been robbing houses near our school and he hit a house on the same street. One adult in the neighborhood thought that he was armed. The police came to our school and helped to lock it down in case the suspect fled and tried to hide in the school. All the doors were locked. Kids were locked in their classrooms and the all the school’s entrances were locked.

My son in second grade didn’t seem affected by it but the my daughter’s fifth grade class were terrified. Many of the kids thought they were about to experience the Newtown tragedy. Some fifth graders cried during the lockdown. Others were just scared. We’ve all tried to shield our kids from details of Sandy Hook but it seems that fifth graders are worldly and resourceful. Many have iPhones with internet access.

Even though Sandy Hook was a month ago, the tragedy still resonates. We are all affected. There is now a universal fear that this could happen again. In our town. To our children.

I found some posts on the internet that were comforting and made sense to me. I’m not Buddhist, by the way, but my mother is.

Read more…

stair workout

Easy Exercise Ideas to Fit It

Stepping It Up with Easy Exercise Ideas

I hate to exercise. I don’t join gyms because I will never go. I only exercise because I’ve prepaid, meeting a friend, or my dog is whining. But I do feel better when I exercise. I sleep better too. And while I am exercising a lot these days, I like exercise that is non-exercise. Here’s my first non-exercise exercise tip:

Stair Climbing 2 at a Time

  • When you go UP the stairs, take the stairs two at a time.
  • Alternate legs as you go up  the stairs.
  • Go DOWN the stairs one stair at a time. You don’t want to fall!
  • Take your time going up the stairs. Speed doesn’t not matter!

That’s it.

2 stairs at a time, stair exercise, easy exercise for butt, butt workout

I have 2 sets of stairs in my house, not counting the stairs that lead to my front door. I noticed that even though I exercise regularly: Vinyasa yoga, kickboxing/boxing, hiking with dog, and Zumba, my posterior needed more work.

I had taken a step sculpting class. You use plastic steps, small hand weights and stretch bands like these, and I was so sore for days after it, but only in my butt and thighs. I realized that kickboxing despite the kicking does not work the inner and outer thighs nor the butt enough. And strangely, though we did a lot of bicep and tricep work, my upper body was not sore AT ALL! Read more…

Waking Dragons, dragon picture books, rhyming picture books, Jane Yolen, Derek Anderson

Picture Book of the Day: Waking Dragons

Dragon Picture Book of the Day

I’m going to be posting on Picture Book of the Day every Friday. I’m in a Picture Book of the Day Facebook group along with a small group of children’s book bloggers.

Monday – Jdaniel’s Mom4

Tuesday – What Do We Do All Day

Wednesday­­ – The Pleasantest Thing

Thursday – Reading Confetti

Friday – Pragmatic Mom

Bethany from No Twiddle Twaddle is organizing this and eventually each of us will post twice a month. She is looking for a few more children’s book bloggers if you are interested.


My son and I chose Waking Dragons for our first Picture Book of the Day. It’s the perfect picture book for preschools who love dragons and the scramble of the morning routine getting ready for school! Read more…

make your own paint Impressionist art project for kids

Art Project for Kids: Making Paint Like Impressionists

Did you know that the Impressionist painters had to make their own paint? Not mix paint. No, they actually had to make their own paint. They couldn’t just buy it in tubes from a store!

Museum of Fine Arts impressionists, how impressionists made their paints and canvasesSee those small vials of powers? That’s what they used to mix colors to make paint! Their paint didn’t come in tubes!

How Impressionists Made Paint

See those pots of colors? Inside are ground up pigments made of all different kind of materials found in nature to make paint.

Canvases too had to be made by each artist! They couldn’t buy a canvas from an art store. Instead, they bought fabric, used wood to create a frame, nailed the canvas to a the wooden frame and then prepared the canvas with a substance called gesso. It’s made of gypsum and can be painted onto the canvas to “prime” it. Read more…

Grace Lin, Grace Lin school visit, Grace Lin author visit, Grace Lin and starry river of the sky

Meeting Grace Lin at Book Club for Kids Event

Grace Lin Book Club for Kids

Do you remember that Manic Sunday I had in order to get five 5th grade girls including PickyKidPix to a book club for kids event? Well, it was well worth it! Grace Lin was so much fun to meet!

We arrived a half hour early to this amazing spread!

Grace Lin author visit, Grace Lin,

Beautiful centerpieces celebrating Asian culture at Grace Lin book club for kids sponsored by The Foundation for Children’s Books (FCB) in Newton, MA. They brings authors like Grace Lin to present at underserved schools in Boston.

Grace Lin book club event for kids, meeting Grace Lin, Starry River of the Sky author visit by Grace Lin

Grace Lin with baby and husband talk to kids about what inspires her and how she writes and illustrates her wonderful multi-cultural books for kids. East of the Sun and West of the Moon was the book that most influenced her for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky. Read more…

Abstract art project for kids, Arthur Dove, crayon abstract art project for kids

Arthur Dove Abstract Art Project for Kids

Abstract Art by Kids inspired by Arthur Dove

The art of Arthur Dove (August 2, 1880 – November 23, 1946) at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston is child-like, is it not? Ok, maybe a really talented child. He is considered the first American abstract painter. The girls and I found him on the third floor of the new American wing’s Modernist collection. We hunt down PickyKidPix‘s favorite artist, Jackson Pollock, whose No. 10, 1949 hangs there too.

Jackson Pollack, Number 9, Museum of Fine Arts,

Modernist Artist Arthur Dove (a little art history)

This is the painting that caught my eye. With just simple shapes and a few colors, Dove conveys a nature scene. I love the colors and its simplicity.

Evening Blue, 1941. In this lyrical composition, Dove solidified moonlight into distinct planes and geometric shapes. The deep cobalt tones evoke the color of the night sky. Museum of Fine Arts Plate

Arthur Dove abstract art project for kids, Arthur Dove abstract art project for children, Arthur Dove abstract art project for preschoolRead more…