Archive for May, 2016

My Mother’s Day Card in Chinese Makes Me So Happy!

Grasshopper and Sensei started learning Chinese when she was in kindergarten. My neighbor tutored Chinese so it was easy to slip this in. I thought we were all set but then she moved away by the end of that school year.

Mother's Day Card in Mandarin Chinese

To continue their Mandarin, I put my girls into Chinese school for adopted Chinese babies. No one speaks Chinese at home. I was in Chinese school for one year when I was in elementary school and my siblings and I were the ONLY kids who spoke English at home. It was not a great experience.

After two years of this Chinese school, my girls wanted out. I hired another Chinese tutor who evaluated them to see what they knew. It turns out that my kids only knew how to count to 10 in Chinese. How could this be? I had sat through those Chinese classes while the teacher drilled flashcards covering the colors including silver and gold! They had been taking Chinese for more than three years!

Mother's Day Card in Mandarin ChineseRead more…

Great New Easy Readers

Great New Easy Readers

It just so happened that most of the diversity picks on the nominated easy readers for The Cybils made the short list. I personally was a champion of Don’t Throw It to Mo! by David Adler which also won the Geisel Award.

My fellow judges were mostly librarians and they needed something fresh to get excited about. I can relate; I think an award like The Cybils is helpful to highlight new authors rather than award a long running and popular series like Elephant and Piggie. In fact, the popularity of Elephant and Piggie spawned many knock offs which starts to become tiresome as well. And, my final gripe is that there is only so much rhyming you can pull off with fox/box, yet there were more books that you’d expect with this rhyming scheme.

The upshot is that new Easy Readers seem to be a pretty closed off group: books are either popular series that seem to spawn endless books, imitators of these popular series, or rhyming sequences involving “fox” and “box.” While most of the selections below fit into those three categories, they are the best of the pile and there are also a few that refreshingly don’t.

How about you? Are there any Easy Readers that you don’t mind reading over and over again? Please share! Thank you! Read more…

New Rick Riordan Book, The Trials of Apollo, the Hidden

Win New Riordan Book #TrialsofApollo #giveaway

This post is brought to you in partnership with Disney-Hyperion. Disney-Hyperion sent me this title, and is also providing a prize pack for one winner from my site.

THE TRIALS OF APOLLO: THE HIDDEN ORACLE

Are you ready for a new Rick Riordan book? I know that my son is! He’s read every single children’s book that Rick Riordan ever wrote. We are ready for a new Riordan!!! What’s this new book about? I’m glad you asked … Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

Diverse Children’s Books Linky

Diverse Children’s Books is a brand new book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

DiverseKidLit

Read more…

Fannie Mae Hamer Book event

Meeting Voices of Freedom: The Fannie Mae Hamer Author and Illustrator

It was an honor and a thrill to meet author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Ekua Holmes of Voices of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Did you know that Voices of Freedom won:

  • 2016 Caldecott Honor Book
  • 2016 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
  • 2016 John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award Winner

Meeting Voices of Freedom: The Fannie Mae Hamer Author and Illustrator

The book also won a silver medal at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, a Parent’s Choice Gold Medal, and the Flora Steiglitz Straus Award for nonfiction from Bank Street College of Education. Read more…

Watch, Learn, DO: DIY STEM Summer Camp

Watch, Learn, DO: DIY STEM Summer Camp

“STEM Education Is the Key to the U.S.’s Economic Future” is what you read about all the time. U.S. News and World Report says:

We need to encourage more students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math.

And what about girls and STEM? President Barack Obama has something to say about that (as a father of two girls, he carries some weight!):

“One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent…not being encouraged the way they need to.”

— President Barack Obama, February 2013 Read more…

foster healthy brain development in children.

Free Resources for Brain Building Moments #WhatMakesASuperhero

Did you know that we, as parents and caregivers, are superheroes? It’s true! We are superheroes through the everyday moments we spend with our children.

Research shows that there is no time in life when the brain develops more rapidly than during the first five years. Vroom was developed based on the premise that every child is born with enormous potential, and every parent can help them realize that potential.

Vroom Initiative and easy teachable moments Read more…

You Don't Have To Be Big To Be Strong Floating Hospital

Tufts Floating Hospital for Children & The Toughlings

This post was sponsored by Floating Hospital for Children as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. Thank you for supporting brands that support my blog.

My oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, has had FOUR concussions from volleyball. Who knew it was such a dangerous sport? After the four concussion, my close friend, Alison Foley, the Boston College Women’s Soccer Head Coach, told me we needed to find a concussion specialist for my daughter. I had no idea that such a doctor even existed!

volleyball injury

My daughter is the libero, a defense specialist. She’s in white.

On the day of my daughter’s appointment for a concussion specialist, we ended up at several of Boston’s hospitals, hopelessly confused, going to wrong location after wrong location. We started off in Longwood which was incorrect. The front desk concierge directed us to the South End. I ended up at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center which was an  amazing facility, but I was only able to admire it briefly because, again, I was in the wrong spot. Had I known about their Pediatric Concussion Care Program, I could have just stayed put.

Strength is contagious.

It’s been a long road to recovery for my daughter who has been quite stoic throughout it all. Many kids with serious illnesses also have this upbeat attitude. Floating Hospital’s “You Don’t Have to Be Big to Be Strong” video makes me emotional, but I can understand it’s why the doctors, nurses and staff work so hard, similar to our experience, in which they go above and beyond on a daily basis. It’s for the kids …

“They love without limit, so we fight without compromise.” Read more…

Who Dream of Flying

10 Books for Children Who Dream of Flying

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Carole Boston Weatherford! Her novel in verse just came out, a stunning perspective of the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen during Jim Crow WWII America. This is a family endeavor, the dramatic scratch board illustrations are by her son, Jeffrey Boston Weatherford.

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffrey Boston Weatherford

… before 1940, African Americans could not become pilots in the U.S. military.

Carole Boston Weatherford’s novel in verse tells the story of the Tuskegee Airman, the pioneering African-American pilots of World War II and of life for blacks during this time. Jim Crow laws permeated the military during this time; the SS Mariposa actually had a rope to separate black soldiers from white. But it also curtailed training and leadership opportunities for African Americans, both male and female. Top brass claimed that blacks for not fit to fly.

Of the more than 400,000 pilots trained by the Civilian Pilot Training Program, only 2,000 were black; less than half of a percent. With tremendous pressure to prove their worthiness,The Tuskegee Airmen earned 900 plus medals including Distinguished Crossed, Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts. Their accomplishments paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. [novel in verse, ages 9 and up]

She created a list of books for children who dream of taking to the skies … not unlike the pioneering aviators of the Tuskegee Institute. Need more books about flying? I have a list of female aviators: Fabulous Flying Females. What books about flying did we leave out? Thanks for sharing! Read more…