Archive for May, 2015

Top 10 Historical Fiction Chapter Books

Top 10 Historical Fiction Chapter Books & GIVEAWAY

I’m part of the Between the Lines by Claudia Whitsitt blog tour, a historical fiction chapter book. Today, I have Claudia posting on her Top 10 favorite historical fiction chapter books for kids. This came about because my 10-year-old son in 4th grade has been on a steady diet of action adventure chapter books, mostly by Rick Riordan.

His teacher this year wanted him to branch out into different genres and he discovered that he also likes historical fiction after reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis, So Far From Home: The Diary of Mary Driscoll, An Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847 (Dear America Series) by Barry Denenberg, and Joshua’s Song by Joan Hiatt Harlow. We will picking summer reading books from this list!

How about you and your kids? What favorite historical fiction chapter books have you enjoyed? Please share! Read more…

Aquent HQ Boston

Our New Aquent Office is So Cool … (aka Can You Nap Here?)

A few readers had asked me to blog on my entrepreneurial experience so I posted on the history of Aquent and our culture of innovation. We were gearing up for a big office move; we had been at our old office for seventeen years and we needed more space.

The old office had four floors and the new office will have everyone together but that’s not the biggest difference. The new office is a “hoteling” space where no one has an assigned desk; instead the office is a series of “neighborhoods” that each person can wander into all day, as their needs change.

Aquent new office space

This is the new entry to the office. Welcome to The Pergola. All the plants are real! Read more…

Top Art & Design Colleges

Top Art & Design Colleges for Undergraduates

This is a list for my daughter, Grasshopper and Sensei, who wants to go to Art School but does NOT want to be a fine artist. I suspect she will end up doing commercial art, mostly because she dislikes working alone but, on the flip side, is amazing working collaboratively.

A Fairly Comprehensive List of Top Art and Design Colleges (but not Fine Art Schools)

So … I am not including Fine Arts programs that focus on students who want to exhibit in a museum or art gallery. My daughter also wants to go to Art School where she is pretty much in studio all day as opposed to liberal arts classes, so I have also not included liberal art colleges with great art and design departments. Read more…

Video Games for STEM Summer Learning

Video Games for STEM Summer Learning

I have been working hard planning my son’s summer and it’s a video game themed summer but I plan to sneak in math, computer science, art and reading. He’s 10-years-old and will be a rising 5th grader.

Why video gamed learning? My son is screen obsessed. It’s not unusual to find him in front of TWO not just ONE screens at the same time! He will watching a YouTube video while playing a video game, and sometimes they are not even related. When we tell him to stop, he will quite sweetly, “You should be glad I am multi-tasking mom!”

Read more…

Middle School Writing: How to Use the COMMA

Middle School Writing: How to Use the COMMA

PickyKidPix asked me to help her edit her English assignment last night. She said that she’s having trouble with sentence fluency which is bringing her grade down. I wasn’t sure what “sentence fluency” means but after reading her essay and helping her fix it, I’ve decided that I need to do a four part series to help her, and hopefully other kids too on:

Let’s get started on how to use the comma. I noticed that PickyKidPix’s first issue is that she just doesn’t the comma enough. I asked her if she reads her essay out loud to figure out pauses and she said that she did, but because she reads really fast, the lack of pauses sounds fine to her; hence she omits the necessary commas separating the descriptive phrases from the main sentence. That’s not good!

commas save lives

I’m pulling examples of where my daughter gets confused from Business Insider: 13 Rules for Using Commas Without Looking Like an Idiot. Read more…

17 Wonderful Multicultural Picture Books About Food

17 Wonderful Multicultural Picture Books About Food

My favorite way to learn about other cultures is through food. It can be intiminating to cook a new ethnic cuisine for the first time, so consider this list a menu of sorts to decide if there is anything you want to make at home. What wonderful multicultural picture books about food did I leave out? I’d love your favorites! Please share! Thanks!


Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez

One of my best friends growing up in Southern California is half Mexican and I would go to her house after opening presents at my house to eat tamales that her family purchased. Soon, my whole family would join me. My friend’s parents didn’t mind. I always heard that tamales are a bit tricky to make and I have always purchased them and steamed them at home.

In Too Many Tamales, Maria and her family make tamales for Christmas but she tries on her mama’s ring even though she’s not supposed to and loses mama’s diamond ring in the masa dough. Before mama finds out, she must get the other kids to help her eat the 24 tamales to locate the ring. It’s a lot of food but no ring appears. Did someone accidentally eat it? When Maria goes to confess to her mother, she makes a happy discovery … and now they need to make more tamales! [picture book, ages 4 and up]


A batch of Mexican tamales in the tamalera. Image from Wikipedia Read more…

Kobo Glo HD : Read Anywhere Anytime!

#KoboGloHD : Read Anywhere Anytime! Giveaway!

I received a Kobo Glo HD to review and it immediately disappeared, snatched up by my kids. We have other eReaders in the house but I had loaded this one with the new Rick Riordan ebook, The Crown of Ptolomy, and more Wonder stories by R. J. Palacio.

My son has been waiting for the newest Riordan book and he took theKobo Glo HD and went off to read it, despite being in the middle of three other books. Read more…

Poetry in Sports Books for Kids and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

Poetry in Sports Books for Kids and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

My son has a poet in residence for fourth grade. For three sessions, he’s learning to write poetry. There’s even homework assignments that he agonizes over. He’s had a poetry unit every year — in 2nd grade, he wrote a color poem based on Mary O’Neill, but this is the first year that the poetry seems to flow out of him. To encourage the poet inside him, I’m introducing books about sports that use poetry to tell the story.

Hoops by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson

The ball

like a piece

of the thin long reach

of your body.

Read more…

How to apply for university as a home-schooled student

How to apply for university as a home-schooled student

We hear a lot that ‘home-schooling’ or ‘Individualized Learning’ is on the rise in the U.S. There are now a stack of resources available to parents who prefer a home-based, one-on-one approach to education. Unfortunately, despite evidence that home-schooled students perform better on tests like SATs, it can still be tricky to get into certain colleges or university as a home-schooled individual. Apparently students are often asked more questions by university admissions’ departments.

How to apply for university as a home-schooled studentRead more…