Archive for December, 2013

R J Palacio and Mia Wenjen PragmaticMom Wonder

Wonder by Palacio is Wonderful for Teaching Kids Compassion

I’m thrilled to be posting on behalf of Social Mom’s Choose Kind campaign featuring one of my favorite chapter books on the planet! I met R. J. Palacio at a Understanding Our Differences event in Newton and found her to be, not surprisingly, a wonderfully compassionate and kind person.

R J Palacio and Mia Wenjen PragmaticMom Wonder

Author R. J. Palacio’s life changed forever from a trip to an ice cream shop. She was with her two sons; one a toddler in a stroller and the other old enough to go inside to buy chocolate milk shakes for them. It was outside waiting for her son to return that she saw a little girl with her mother who has Treacher-Collins syndrome, a rare craniofacial deformity.

Because her son in the stroller was waking up and nervous that he would say something loud and embarrassing, she rushed to leave. Unfortunately, her son with the milk shakes was jostled in the process and the three milk shakes ended up splattered all over the ground. Not exactly a quiet exit.

That night, R. J. started writing on post it notes. It was the beginning of Wonder!

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

After being home schooled all his life, 10-year-old August Pullman is starting 5th grade at a private middle school in his Upper East Side neighborhood. He wonders if anyone will realize that he’s just a normal kid underneath his disfigured face, an affliction he was born with. His middle school classmates are challenged to “be kinder than is necessary” but can they? Will they? In this uplifting story, it turns out that everyone carries some kind of disfigurement that feels isolating, even though most can’t be seen. We cheer for Auggie, as we are moved to tears, that kindness can indeed change the world. Warning: this chapter book teaches compassion. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]


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The Night Before Christmas picture book giveaway Holly Hobbie

Kid Lit Giveaway Hop Holiday Extravaganza

Youth Literature Reviews and Mother Daughter Books Reviews are back with another Kid Lit Giveaway Hop! This time around is our Holiday Extravaganza. I’m excited to be participating!

Kid Lit Giveaway Hop Holiday Extravaganza

My giveaway is picture book The Night Before Christmas by Holly Hobby, poem by Clement C. Moore. I love the watercolor illustrations of this wonderful holiday classic.

The Night Before Christmas picture book giveaway Holly Hobbie

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12 Days of Shopping

Gift Guides If You Need Ideas

If you are in the thick of holiday shopping and need ideas, I’m pulling up my gift guides from my archives in hopes they will be helpful to you.

Capability:Mom and I did two years of The 12 Days of Shopping which covered all our gift categories from kids making gifts to tutor gifts.

12 Days of Shopping

The 12 Days of Shopping

Saturday, December 1:  Make Your Own Gifts with granola two ways. Hers and Mine.

Sunday, December 2:  Kids Make Gifts Craft, Clove Fruit and Crafts.

Monday, December 3: Personalized Gifts, Hers and Mine.

Tuesday, December 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom Read more…

best zoo themed books for kids, zoo chapter books, zoo picture books

Top 10: Zoo Books for Kids

A trip to the zoo is such a joyous occasion, isn’t it? Our urban zoo in Boston is a little sad, so we typically go to the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, about an hour away. It reminds me, on a smaller scale, of the great San Diego Zoo which is about 2 1/2 hours from where I grew up and is the zoo by which I measure all zoos against.

This zoo children’s book list — zoo picture book and chapter books — is inspired by  the Newbery award winner, The One and Only Ivan. Is there a favorite zoo children’s book you’d like to add to the list? Please help me out and I’ll add it to the list. Thank you!

 

Top 10: Zoo Books for Kids

10. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead

In a perfect world, zoo animals and zoo keepers would be best friends, just like zoo keeper Amos McGee. When he gets sick and misses a day at work, the animals come by to his house to check on him and help him get better. The artwork by Erin Stead, the author’s wife, is stunning. She uses carefully rendered pencil drawings with what I think is monotype prints. The results are visually arresting. [Caldecott picture book, ages 2 and up]

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Angry Birds Space Hogs on Mars K'NEX giveaway

Angry Birds Space Hogs on Mars K’NEX GIVEAWAY

K’NEX toys have worked wonderfully to keep my son off screens, if only for a short time. I found this in the living room, after hearing my son and his middle sister, PickyKidPix, playing together for a few hours. They don’t get along that well, so this K’NEX roller coaster is a miracle of collaborative play! This is what they built:

roller coaster K'NEX building toyRead more…