Archive for September, 2013

best books for kids set in Boston

Top 10: Books for Kids Set in Boston

If you have ever been to Boston (and everyone should go there at least once), you will  know that as a city it is a bewildering mixture of modern improvements and the relics of antiquity, and it is interesting, for example, to come out from buying plastic clothespins and chocolate-strawberry-marshmallow-banana splits in a department store glittering with neon, and find yourself face to face with the Old South Church. And the streets have wonderful old names like Milk and Pump. The Time Garden by Edward Eager (from the Half Magic series)

The wonderful thing about living in a historical city is sharing it with friends. I thought I’d round-up ten of our favorite picture books, early chapter books and chapter books for kids set in Boston and environs. And we hope you will come visit one day as well!

What are your favorite books for kids set in Boston? Please share and I’ll add to the list! Thank you!


Top 10 Books for Children Set in Boston

10. Vanished by Sheela Chari is set in Arlington and Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts (and also India).

Chari’s contemporary chapter book is both multicultural and award-winning. I love that it’s set in an area that we frequent for soccer games and shopping: Arlington and Harvard Square in Cambridge (they are adjacent cities). When 11-year-old Neela’s veena goes missing, she suspects there is more afoot than just a musical instrument. Could the rumors of a curse be true? [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Read more…

Karen Day, author

Writing Revision Tips for Kids: Why Writing is All About Revising

Please welcome my guest blogger today, middle grade author Karen Day. She happens to live in my town and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her at the dog park as well as on the soccer field when Grasshopper and Sensei was in 3rd grade — her youngest daughter was on the same team.

She’s been twice to our book clubs for kids. She taught my daughter, then in sixth grade, to write a Show Don’t Tell.

We also learned about the origins of her second book, No Cream Puffs. Indeed, it WAS Karen who was a star baseball player!

Her first book, Tall Tales, won a Texas BlueBonnet award.

Today, she’ll be covering Writing Revision Tips for Kids. Read more…

Tinkertoy Win in a Snap game

This Looks Fun! Tinkertoy Game to Win $1000!

In the TINKERTOY Win-in-a-Snap Game, parents and kids can play every day for 6 weeks to guess what TINKERTOY creation is being built. Solve the puzzle faster and get more entries to win one of 100 instant win TINKERTOY prizes or the $1,000 Grand Prize! Game play is exclusive to Facebook, so be sure to “like” TINKERTOY on Facebook to be notified about the Win-In-A-Snap game. Sweepstakes runs September 9th-October 20th. Access the Facebook game here starting Monday.

Tinkertoy Win in a Snap game

This is not a compensated post. We love K’NEX because it helps to keep my son off screens. I met Kate Loffio at BlogHer12 and she sends me K’NEX toys from time to time to review. We’ll be playing this Tinkertoy game on Facebook just for fun. My son would love guessing the structure and that might cause him to break out his Tinkertoys to build something!

best books for kids set on a farm, farm chapter books for kids, farm picture books for kids

Top 10: Old Fashioned Children’s Books Set On a Farm

We are lucky to have farms in our suburban town as well as nearby but these local farms have morphed into U Pick or teaching centers. I guess I’ve always fantasized about life on a farm. Self-sufficiency and all that. I only know one person who grew up on a farm. His friends say that he’s the go to for any kind of fix it jobs. If you live on farm, you learn to do everything and anything!

My own garden plot in my tiny backyard is too shady and small to grow anything except hardy herbs like mint and oregano. I have to farm vicariously these days though books so I’ve rounded up my favorite old fashioned children’s books set on a farm. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane!

What are your favorite picture books and chapter books set on a old-fashioned back in time farm? Thanks so much for sharing!


Best Old Fashioned Children’s Books Set on a Farm

10. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Set in 1899 in Fentress, Texas near Austin, 11-year-old Calpurnia Tate lives on a bustling farming enterprise set up by her forward thinking and scientific minded grandfather along with her 6 brothers and parents. While this Newbery Honor chapter book focuses on Calpurnia’s evolution into a scientist — one hopes that she will be the first female to attend the University in Austin — I also loved the vivid descriptions of growing up on a Southern gentleman’s farm. Her grandfather owns the cotton gin mill as well as vast acres of pecans and cotton and the relationships between servants, locals and her family are also colorfully depicted in this strict social ladder of etiquette and status. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

Read more…

30 day fighter's diet, boxing diet, expert boxing

The 30 Day Fighter’s Diet eBook Giveaway

It’s funny when you go off topic on your blog what a different direction your conversation takes! I typically blog endlessly about children’s books but my post on My Path to Pugilism is Strew with Skeptics connected me with boxers of all stripes including one boxing expert I’ve been watching on YouTube — Johnny of ExpertBoxing. What fun for me since I have been obsessively watching his boxing training videos!

I like that he is articulate and breaks things down step by step. He is also encouraging and realistic. And that he is a Tango dancer as well confirmed my suspicion that boxing and dancing are very similar with their emphasis on rhythm and footwork!

Johnny offered me his Boxing Diet Book — giveaway below — and I was struck by his emphasis on nutrition and healthy eating habits. His advice is very similar to visiting a nutrutionist and I like that it breaks it down step by step in an easy to understand manner. Just like his boxing videos!


Is a Boxers Diet for you?

Let’s find out. I’ve asked Johnny 5 questions.

1) How is a boxing fighter’s diet to “make weight” different from other diets geared towards weight loss?

The fighter’s diet is the healthiest, most natural, and most proven diet.

Fighter’s lose weight more often than any other type of people I know. We are separated into different weight classes in competition (e.g. lightweight – 136 lbs, middleweight – 160 lbs, heavyweight – 200 lbs, etc). So it’s our advantage to lose weight to fit into the smallest weight class possible. It’s better for fighters to lose weight and fit into a smaller weight class than to face a bigger, taller, stronger opponent.

Now the catch is we can’t just starve ourselves on a fad diet. We have to eat all the right nutrients in order to train 100% and give our best performance during the fight. Fighters may eat more during the training periods but trim down right before the fight. The average amateur boxer may be losing weight up to 10-20 times  a year. So we learn very quickly what works and doesn’t work. The result is an absolutely proven diet guaranteed to tear off fat in the shortest time possible! Read more…

class pet, class pets, perfect class pet, what not to get as class pet

The Perfect Class Pet and What Not to Get

Does your child have a class pet at school? Do you ever wonder about sponsoring a class pet for a teacher? I’ve had the most wonderful  Kindergarten teacher for all three of my kids. When we visited her classroom earlier in the year, I noticed that one of class pet aquariums was empty so I asked if I could be a sponsor.

What Not to Get for a Class Pet

She said yes to being a class pet sponsor, but asked for a pet without fur (allergies). She already had a baby turtle swimming around so a non-water pet was preferred. Her biggest worry was temperature. During the winter, our school’s thermometer is turned down to the 50’s to save electricity on the weekends. Even with a heating pad and lamp, the aquarium gets very, very cold. Too cold for snakes or lizards. Too cold for hermit crabs too.

My kids have had other class pets and offered up their advice (a.k.a. criticism).

  • African Giant Millipedes (too boring)
  • Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (too noisy)
  • Salamanders (too delicate)

Read more…